Web development and design are two titles that are often used interchangeably. While both jobs share common responsibilities, they’re fundamentally different from each other when it comes to the actual process of creating and implementing a website.

In fact, finding someone who specializes in both designing and developing professional websites is extremely rare.

If you’re considering building a new website for your business, it helps to know the difference and what each role involves. Let’s take a look at how web development and design differ.

What Does Web Design Involve?

Web design involves the placement and use of visuals in a website. It also entails the visual aspects of the user interface, or UI, as it is commonly referred to. Web designers control what users see on any given device, and are more concerned with color palettes, fonts and attractive visuals than they are with the hard mechanics that govern how websites operate.

During the web design and development process, web designers play a large part in the planning and designing phase. They create Photoshop mock-ups of the website, work closely with clients to determine what specific features and functions the website needs, and what those will look like in the final design.

While coding isn’t a necessity, most web designers are skilled in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. However, they’re more adept at using creative software, such as Adobe Photoshop, in addition to familiarity with logo design, button placement, branding and storyboards.

What Does Web Development Involve?

If web designers curate the visual and aesthetic elements of a website, then web developers control the code that determines how a website works. They’re primarily concerned with how websites and web applications function.

Web development involves two sides of a website: the front-end and the back-end.

Front-end developers, like web designers, are proficient in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Using the web designer’s initial mock-up as reference, front-end developers write the code that turns the mock-up into a real website. On the other hand, back-end developers manage the flow of data from the database to the website, and are fluent in programming languages such as Ruby and Python.

In general, a web developer specializes as either a front-end developer or a back-end developer. However, it’s not unusual to encounter developers that are capable of both.

How do Web Development and Design Differ?

Web design and development are similar in some regards; front-end developers and web designers overlap in many ways, and generally work in tandem throughout the design and development process. If you decide to hire separately for web development and design, here are some of the differences you may encounter:

Personality: Web designers are often creative, with a natural affinity for illustration and animation. They share a lot in common with graphic designers, and in many cases, perform both duties. Web developers tend to be more systematic as they deal with raw data and software language.

Compensation: A big factor for those that make a career out of design and development, compensation in either field isn’t equal. Overall, web developers command more than designers.

Work: Web designers rely on a portfolio of accomplished projects that clearly showcase the visual and design elements they brought to each website. Web developers are generally hired based on their knowledge and experience with web code and computer languages.

Web Development and Design Are Both Critical

It’s easy to blur web development and design together, but both are fundamentally different in terms of skill set and application. However, in order to build a perfectly functioning website that is visually striking, both elements need to fit together seamlessly. As such, designers and developers usually form a cohesive unit, which can make hiring a team essential to your project.

Are you interested in learning more about how each role can help you build the perfect website? Contact us to find out more.

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Published: August 30, 2017