The Difference between Web Design and Web Development

By David Adress
President, Bitochon Technologies

You undoubtedly must have heard the two terms ‘website designing’ and ‘website development’.These two terms are often used to describe the individuals that undertake the task of making websites. However, anyone who is not familiar with the industry can use these interchangeably. Most clients are oblivious as all they want is a website that is up and running smoothly or server administrators who are only concerned with the software and hardware aspects that power the website.
Web designers and developers work as a team to create professional website designs. If your work is related to the internet then you are probably asked questions that do not concern your particular field of expertise. For example designers are asked ‘how can you add a database to a website?’, while developers are asked about the layout, image placement, font styles and color selections.

Realize the Difference

The fact of the matter is that most designers are not aware of things like SQL injection, SOAP requests, MIME types or Base64 Encoding. Flip the side and you will have to a lot of web developers who can’t create visually stunning websites using perfect color combinations, fonts, images and logos.
Creating websites is a demanding task and it’s common to find people who are not qualified or simply do not have the required skills to make their way through those projects that require creativity and technical knowledge. If a web-based project is poorly funded and run by un-professional individuals, it is bound to fail. Most of the blame can be easily directed towards the fact that they are not aware of the difference between a web designer and a web developer. Each position plays a crucial role in a web-based project as they both have their own unique skill sets to bring to the computer screen.
The easiest way for you to realize the difference is to establish a clear line that separates the two positions and their respective roles in the creation of websites.

Web Designer

Who is a web designer? These fellows are the creative minds behind the project. They have the responsibility of getting inside the client’s head, realize their vision and bring it to reality on the computer screen. They take that vision and turn it into an artistic design that is aesthetically pleasing with the aim to please millions of potential users. This is why most web designers study user interface design and usability as well as typography.
Their arsenal includes software and tools such as Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator while frequenting websites that contain galleries of various web design prototypes. They need to be experts in writing HTML code, CSS coding, editing or drafting copies and slicing images.

Web Developer

Who is a web developer? These guys and gals are the technicians behind the creation of a website. They have really good math and tend to be good problem solvers. In computer terms, they are the programmers of the internet world. Their skills however usually exceed those of traditional software engineer as they are considered technical experts with excellent programming skills.

  • XHTML
  • CSS (Sometimes)
  • ASP
  • PHP
  • ColdFusion
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Perl
  • .Net
  • JavaScript
  • JQuery
  • SQL

Web developers usually work with a text editor or an IDE. Recently the development plug-in called Firebug is being greatly used for development purposes. With so many languages, developers sometimes require help to freshen their memory and frequently visit sites to jiggle their programming memory.

What if People Do Both?

Sometimes web developers and designers are required to undertake tasks that are beyond their skill set. Although these individuals are sometimes common but not many have the ability to master both designing and developing aspects of website creation. Most of the time anyone who describes him/herself as both is being cocky and trying to prove something with their final product being mediocre at best.
Designers are less likely to code an entire website just like a developer is less likely to make a website design that he/she (in their own head) thinks is the greatest thing that ever hit the internet.

Which One to Choose?

This depends entirely on what you are trying to achieve. Most of the time you will require both as they are both essential to a website’s creation. If you want to give your website a new look then you will require someone with design talent and if you’re looking for some ecommerce or application integration solution then you will want someone with development skills.

However, when it comes to a company that specializes in website development in New York, you will find that they offer both designing and development services as the two of these cannot exist without the other. While one designs the outer layer of the website the other develops the internal organs that will actually run the website’s body. They coexist to ensure that you get a website that is both aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly.