Websites are the lifeblood of the internet. But with over 1.9 billion websites online right now, you might wonder how a website can ever stand out.
And if you’re looking for a job in the industry, where do you start? Do you train to be a web designer or a web developer? What’s the difference?
While both jobs focus on creating websites, they both do very different things. If you’re looking to hire one or to become one, you’ll need to know what they do beforehand.
Want to know the difference between website design and development? Read on.
What Is Web Design?
Web design largely relies on a knowledge of design principles. Not just graphic design, like using the right fonts or colors to match a company brand.
It also requires some knowledge of UX and UI design.
UX is User Experience design. The designer needs to understand how people will use the website. They use this information to create the best experience for visitors.
UI refers to User Interface design. This refers to what the visitor sees when they land on a website.
That could mean the layout of the website is dictated by the UX design. That’s why some industries still use sidebars and scrolling graphics. But others go for simple, minimal layouts.
It all depends on how people use the website.
For all websites, a designer creates a wireframe, indicating what elements go where. This helps guide a design toward a usable website before colors and fonts come into play.
Web design can also refer to designing call-to-action buttons, from their color to their placement on the page.
If you want an expert in these languages, you need a developer.
What Is Web Development?
Before we go any further, we should note website development is more nuanced than saying a developer-only writes code.
There are two types of web developers: front-end and back-end.
Front-end developers work on the public-facing side of the website. So they write the code that supports the design.
Back-end developers work on the side of the website no one sees. Without their work, the internet doesn’t work. They build databases that support platforms like WordPress.
We’re referring to front-end developers in this article. But there are plenty of jobs for back-end developers too. It’s a more specialized job and requires knowledge of more complex programming languages.
Developers turn web design into a working website. They translate the visuals into code. Without their work, a website would just be a flat design in Photoshop.
The wireframe created by the designer becomes the skeleton the developer builds the website around.
The Differences Between Website Design and Development
Website design is a creative process. It needs to be underpinned by strong usability principles and research into the right target user for the site.
It’s a good idea to involve a copywriter during the design phase. The copy is how a business talks to customers, so it’s good to know their copy will fit the design.
But ultimately, web design relies on color, typography, imagery, and experience.
Developers usually aren’t involved with font choices, color palettes, or mock-ups. The designer finalizes these with the client before they turn to the developer.
But developers understand UX/UI design so they can translate the designs into the best websites possible. Development is a more technical skill. They should have good problem-solving abilities and enjoy working with code.
Developers are the professionals that fix websites when they go wrong. They can access the code and find bugs or correct errors.
Where Should You Start If You Need a Website?
Choose an agency that offers both design and development. That way, the design, and development are integrated, leading to a smoother experience.
Have conversations about branding, positioning, marketing, and user experience. The designer will do research into your target users to inform their designs.
Then they examine your brand and their research to create the best design for your business. They’ll embed a structure into your website, so users have a positive experience. Visiting your site is often the first time they’ll interact with your business, so make a good impression.
The designer passes their designs and rationale to the developer. The developer turns the design into code, meaning people can interact with the design.
Once the developer has finished, the website can go live and start generating income. If you need to update the site, you’ll contact the developer to make changes.
Which One Should You Choose as a Job?
People who enjoy branding, working with fonts, or finding out how people use websites should look at website design. It’s a more technical job than graphic design, but it’s still a creative career choice.
Freelance web designers can work solo to create websites they can build on platforms like WordPress or Squarespace. Over 31 percent of the world’s websites run on WordPress, so it’s worth learning to work with the platform.
Those who prefer technical jobs or enjoy working with programming languages are well-suited to web development. They can find work in agencies or pair with freelance designers who need help with more technical website designs.
Designers Design. Developers Code.
Now you know the difference between website design and development. It all comes down to one of two specific parts of the process of creating a website.
Both designers and developers are crucial. But remember, designers, start with the creative process, working with branding and usability. Developers turn the visual files into a working website with interactive elements.
We wouldn’t have websites without them. If you need a new website for your business, contact us today. We offer both services, making it easy for you to reach your customers online.