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  by Sean Si |

What Is the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

It is not uncommon for people outside the web industry to confuse web designers with web developers. And you can’t blame them since both of these designations sound so similar. Even those belonging to the web industry often times use the two terms “web design” and ”web development” interchangeably but in reality, both these terms have two very different meanings.

So, if you are among the ones looking to hire the services of a web design company to build your website or are simply looking for a job in the web industry, in either case, it is vital to understand web design and web development main differences so as to make better decisions in the future. But before differentiating, let’s get to know them better.

What is Web Design?

What is Web Design

Web design is the primary reason behind the way any website looks and the way it works. Generally speaking, web design is the overall process of conceptualizing and creating a certain collection of electronic files which help determine everything a website represents from graphics to layout to text styles to the use of interactive features. The design principles to follow here are-

  • Emphasizing is used for intentionally highlighting certain elements on the web page that require more attention than others.
  • Creating a balanced layout using a correct proportion of light (small and lighter) and heavy (large and dark colors).
  • Equally important is contrasting colors by keeping in mind the shape, size, and texture to draw attention to specific portions of the site.
  • Consistency is another principle used for rhythming out the design patterns.

Web design’s main focus is to offer a user-friendly solution to the site visitors by accommodating the various influencing factors such as the accessibility, visual appeal, marketing, branding etc.

What is Web Development?

What is Web Development

Web development, on the other hand, is the building and maintenance of websites hosted on the internet. It also includes the use of various programming languages, tools, and frameworks to create dynamic web applications. Web development can either be referred to a single web page containing a few hundred lines of codes or to the likes of Facebook with around 60 million lines of code. Normally, it is divided into two categories;

  • Front-end development referred to the construction process with the help of JavaScript, HTML and CSS codes.
  • Back-end development where back-end scripts are with the help of different coding languages and frameworks.

Therefore, web development’s primary focus is to direct the complexity and subtlety of a given algorithm directly towards their customers allowing them to use it as effectively as possible.

The Difference Between Web Design and Development

Till now you must be fairly certain that both web design and web development complement one another. I mean you cannot expect to use one and neglect the other without hurting your website’s UX. Web design is useful as long as it delivers the efficacy and efficiency along with the promises it made. Equally true for web development, in order for it to be usable, it needs to make a strong appeal to its customers besides being easy to comprehend.

For instance, we all own refrigerators and know how to operate them as well. But if one asks about its inner workings, most of us would be at a loss. This is because the developers design the arrangement of controllers in such a way that it easily triggers the process behind the technology, thus making it easy to be used by us.

Okay, the above example was as simple as I could get for explaining the difference between the two but unfortunately, in order to gain a better understanding, we need to dive in a bit deeper (more towards the technical end).

  • A web designer is a professional equipped with the ins and outs of graphic arts and design industry who uses his expertise to create a compelling piece of web design by assembling together images, typography or motion graphics. This design part usually deals with the customer-facing part of the website. And that’s why it needs to be easy and intuitive to allow the site visitors easy navigation throughout the website. A good designer knows how to effectively use these principles of web design to create an awesome looking website.
  • As mentioned above, web development comes in two different categories. Front-end developers are the ones who take the visual design of a website and turns it into code using CSS for visual styles and layout, HTML for dictating the structure of the website and even some JavaScript wherever he deems necessary. Back-end developers, on the other hand, deals with the more advanced programming and interactions with the web pages including working with codes that create features like E-commerce shopping carts or the ones that interface with a database.

The Blend of Both Worlds

The Blend of Both Worlds

Though you might find many professionals specializing in certain areas of web designing and web developing (with front-end and back-end developers), nowadays you can also find people mastering the skills of different disciplines. What I mean is they are not only comfortable working with HTML and CSS to code web pages but can easily work with visual designs as well.

And contrary to what many will say, being the jack of both these trades is actually beneficial in the web industry. Not only will a visual designer be better able to design those pages which he has himself helped build but also a web developer with a better understanding of principles of web design will be in a more favorable position to make smart choices while coding up pages.

Before you go

In the end, I can only say that the designer/developer hybrid which started out as a joke in the web industry is now something of a trend to look forward to, all thanks to the wide availability of educational resources across the internet (and of course, the needs of our times).

So, if you are looking for a career in this industry, it won’t hurt to acquire the skills of both web designing and web developing. And if by any chance, you are looking to hire the services of web development Los Angeles or any such area, it’s better to try out these hybrids on smaller projects before handing out anything big.

Author Bio

Andrew Hoffman is a freelance writer and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, who has written on behalf of a range of clients including the Livestrong Network and Demand Media. In addition to writing about a range of topics, he enjoys playing basketball and cooking in his spare time.

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