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What’s the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

The terms “web design” and “web development” are often used interchangeably, yet they’re actually different processes during the creation of a new website. Below is an explanation of how they differ and what they both bring to the table.


What is web design?

The web designer’s job is to focus on the visual side of the website, which is strongly linked to the user experience. A web designer will create the site layout and decide how all of the individual visual elements fit together, which involves using the Adobe suite to full effect.


What is web development?

The web developer then takes these designs and converts them into a functioning website. In the process they will use programming languages such as HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript, each of which plays a role in ensuring that the finished website works the way it should and supports the user journey.


How does a web designer work?

The web designer will begin by working closely with the client to decide the objectives of the website. This will include various types of content and mapping out how it all fits together using a wireframe. In doing so, they create an information hierarchy that will enable the website to function logically and efficiently, greatly aiding the visitor in finding the right info without any delays or confusion.

There are multiple considerations during this process, such as:

  • Balance – The website needs to have the right look and feel in terms of style and layout.

  • Contrast – A website requires various forms of contrast too, such as the colours, sizes, shapes and textures of the written content and visual elements. If everything is too similar, the visitor will find it difficult to decide what needs to be read first and core messages will fail to stand out.

  • Emphasis – This expands on the above point and revolves around making the most important information grab attention. Depending on the mission of the particular webpage, it could be anything from a downloadable resource to an invitation to get in touch.

  • Consistency – In order for the visitor to explore the site and always be able to return to previous pages or content, consistency of design and navigation is key.

  • Unity – This brings everything together, from individual elements to the website as a whole. Unity is all about helping the visitor to access and digest information quickly and with ease, which increases the amount of time they spend on the site and makes the following of a call to action more likely.


How does a web developer work?

Once all of the above has been decided, planned and created by the web designer, the web developer will use it to build the actual website. This is a highly technical process, as it involves transforming the designs into a fully functional website that’s fast, responsive, adaptable, secure and built around the highest levels of usability and performance.

This phase also includes rigorous testing, as that way you gain the confidence that there won’t be any snags when the website goes live.


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