Web Design vs Web Development: What Sets Them Apart?

web design vs web development

According to this report, 38% of website visitors will stop interacting with a site if the layout is unattractive. However, you’re also likely to lose potential digital visitors if your site doesn’t work, either.

This dilemma leads many business leaders to ask the question, “web design vs web development, which do we need?”

In order to answer that question, it’s important to understand the differences and similarities. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about web design and web development. With this guide, you can determine exactly what you need to improve your company’s website!

What is Web Design?

The easiest way to understand the difference between web design vs web development is to picture it. Web design is all about design and imagery; the visual aspects of the site. Web design also involves the website’s usability based on the design. 

For example, a call-to-action (CTA) button that appears the same color as the background is difficult to click on. 

Web design involves the color scheme, layout, and how information flows on the page. As a web designer, a person needs the following skills and tools:

  • Adobe Creative Suite or other design software
  • Branding
  • Color palettes
  • Designing CTA buttons
  • Graphic design
  • Layout/formatting
  • Logo design
  • Typography
  • Wireframes, mock-ups, storyboards

Web design involves everything users will see on their screens. That includes how they see the site on mobile devices versus their desktop.

When thinking of web design vs web development, consider what you see on the surface. Web design involves the color, imagery, and layout on the page. Web development, on the other hand, is everything below the surface.

Web development can also help enhance web design, to bring those design elements to life.

Though web designers don’t need to know HTML or CSS, many do. These skills can help a web designer create live mock-ups of their designs. Then, they can pitch their design idea to their team or the client before getting to work.

These mock-ups can also help web designers and web developers collaborate on a single project. 

Web designers often use WordPress or Joomla!. These templating services allow designers to create websites using themes and widgets. With these tools, designers don’t need to worry about writing code to create a website.

When Do You Need a Designer?

You’ll need a website designer if you need someone to:

  • Create a wireframe of your website
  • Select a color palette for your website
  • Determine what the homepage should look like
  • Choose fonts for the site
  • Update your branding
  • Add new graphics to your site

Then, you can hire a developer to do the rest!

What is Web Development?

Web designers are concerned with the visual aspects of your website. Web developers, on the other hand, are concerned with everything behind the scenes.

Web development involves all of the code that makes your website work.

You can categorize web development into two sections: front-end and back-end development. The front-end involves how a website displays the visuals the web designer created. This is also referred to as the client-side of a website or app.

The back-end, or server-side, manages the website’s data. This allows the backend to serve the data to the front-end, where it’s displayed.

A front-end developer will work alongside a web designer to make sure the visual elements work as intended. 

As a web developer, many common skills and tools include:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Git and GitHub
  • Frameworks
  • CSS preprocessors
  • Libraries (such as jQuery)

A web developer usually doesn’t have to worry about selecting typography or color palettes. Instead, they receive this information from the web designer. Then, the web developer brings these visuals to life. 

A web developer will need to understand user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) best practices. That way, they can select the best tools and technology necessary to make the website look and feel as intended. 

When Do You Need a Developer?

You’ll need a web developer if you need someone to:

  • Improve your website’s functionality
  • Build a web designer’s mock-up
  • Switch between a CMS to HTML
  • Fix broken forms, buttons, or links
  • Redirect pages
  • Help with server issues

According to this report, a search is the number one way to drive traffic to your website. In fact, it beats social media by over 300%. A website developer might also have the skills to improve your website for search engine optimization or SEO.

For example, Google looks for websites that load quickly. A web developer can use a tool such as Google PageSpeed Insights to determine what’s slowing down your site. Then, they can use CSS or JavaScript to improve your site speed.

As a result, you can improve your website page ranking. The higher you rank on search engines, the more likely you’ll attract traffic to your site.

When Do You Need Both?

Many people see web design vs web development as two separate components of site creation. While this is true, they also have a lot of overlap. 

By hiring a web design and development company, you won’t need to search for two separate experts. Instead, you’ll have all of the skills you need under one roof. That way, you can improve your overall website without hiring different people. 

Selecting a separate web designer and web developer can cause communication issues.

Here are a few other benefits of hiring a web design and development company:

  • Designers and developers will work together to make sure your site looks and functions properly
  • They can provide other marketing strategies to help you improve your overall website
  • You’ll have one dedicated point of contact instead of needing to reach multiple people
  • They can see your website as a whole, instead of in factions

Hiring a single web design and development company will save you time, energy, and stress, too!

Web Design vs Web Development: A Website Set For Success

When determining whether you need web design vs web development, it depends on your needs. To set your website up for success, hire someone capable of both!

Searching for more ways to improve your site? Explore the Website Development section of the blog today!