Want to know the difference between website design and website development, and why each is important?
Website design and website development are two seemingly interchangeable terms within the marketing/digital world. Although similar, and involving some of the same elements, there are key differences.
In this post, we’ll look at what they each are and why both are important to make your website a success.
Web design focuses on the visual/front-end elements of the site. This involves thinking about the user experience (UX) and usability of the site, ensuring that what will eventually be built works well for the user and meets the website owner’s goal, whether that be providing education, selling a product or encouraging the user to get in touch.
UX can include:
- Ensuring the website is easy to navigate around
- Clear and obvious calls to actions
- Prompts for users to complete their goal
- Legible and easy-to-read text
Along with UX, a major part of web design is making sure the website looks aesthetically pleasing.
There are many ways in which a designer will combine design methods to create a great-looking site:
- High-quality, relevant imagery
- Use of brand colours/logos
- Interesting, creative typefaces
- Laying out content in varying, interesting ways, rather than just blocks of text
- Considering transition effects to bring the website to life to elevate the website from flat elements on the screen to a more interactive experience
When the designer has completed the web design process, a web developer turns that concept into a fully, tangible functioning website.
A web developer will follow the styles and guidelines set out by the designer, often using a range of different coding languages (PHP, CSS, HTML etc) to create a website that can be interacted with, live on the internet.
When developing the website, the developer has several areas to consider, not just re-creating the visual design in code, but also:
- Functionality – this can include contact forms, purchasing products, CRM integration and more
- Responsiveness – Websites need to work and appear correctly whether being viewed on a mobile phone, tablet, desktop computer and everything in between
- Cross-browser compatibility – Different web browsers can react differently to the same code. Although less common now, it’s up to the developer to make sure that the website looks good and functions properly regardless of the browser
- Optimisation – Ensuring the website runs quickly across a range of connection speeds and different devices. A slow website will lose users quickly!
- Transitions – Turning the designer’s ideas into tangible transitions that users can see and interact with
Why are Web Design and Web Development important for my project?
Although possible for web designers and web developers to do each other’s roles, it is rare to find someone who is adept at both aspects of a website’s creation to the same standard as two separate specialists.
A designer may not understand the intricacies of coding a website as well as a developer who works on it day in, day out and conversely, a developer may lack the creativity that a designer has when putting together a high-quality design.
A great analogy for the difference between web design and web development is that of an architect and a builder. Although each may share certain skills, to get the best outcome and highest finish for your project, you’d want to use both!
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