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The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development

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Some of the time, the terms "web design" and "web development" are used interchangeably, but the two phrases actually mean two different things. Simply put, web designers deal with the front-end of a website, while web developers deal with the back-end of a website. However, these days there can be quite a bit of crossover between the two.

The Definition of Web Design

Web design typically refers to the process of designing a web site or web page layout and often includes the graphical elements on a page. The design can be developed using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Fireworks, Corel Draw etc and provides the framework for the look and feel of a web page.

The finished product of the design does not typically contain code. Rather, the graphical representation of the web page is used by another or the same party as the basis for the code. The representation is divided into areas that can be represented by web code, and other areas that are purely graphics.

Often, web design and development firms use the term "web design" to refer to the entire development of a web site because it is the most commonly recognized term in the marketplace. However, it is important to clarify what a firm means before signing up for their "web design" services.

The Definition of Web Development

Web development is the art of making websites that do things. Websites that require a login, offer useful tools for the users, provide e-commerce capabilities such as a shopping cart or online payments, online forums and more. Virtually anything you can imagine on the web can be created by a true professional web developer. With a good web developer, you will get a nice looking site that provides a truly unique experience that puts you above your competition in the eyes of potential customers.

Fundamentally, web-developers help you build your website; again, they deal with the unseen coding aspect of a website, known as the back-end, and are primarily concerned with making a website function quickly, efficiently, and with the greatest stability. Moreover, many web-developers oversee and direct the construction of a website from its birth – again, it is up to them to build the backbone of the website, and ensure it functions properly.

Although this process is not actually visible to the visitors of the website, it is absolutely vital to the visitor’s experience while browsing the website – for example, a web-developer can optimize and dramatically reduce loading times, so that a visitor can access anything quickly and without frustration.

Typically, a web-developer will be responsible for developing and coding server side applications, databases, complex e-commerce transactions, and for search engine optimization – naturally, a web-developer must make certain that these are done in an accessible and sensible fashion, while being efficiently coded and highly compatible.


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