Web Design and Web Development – Basics and Differences

Web Design and Web Development – Basics and Differences

Nowadays the terms web design and web development are virtually interchangeable. The truth is that the terms refers to two fundamentally different aspects of the website building process. Thus requiring two unique skill sets. It’s important that you know the difference if you’re looking for someone to design and develop your company’s website. Simply put, designers design and developers code. Let’s see if we can provide some clarity.

Is there any difference between web designing and web development? Today that question requires a little more refinement. It will be difficult to find a web designer who didn’t know at least a little HTML and CSS coding, and you won’t have to look far for a front-end web developer who can whip up a storyboard. If you’re strictly speaking about the general concepts of web design vs. web development however, the distinction is a little more clear. Let’s take a look at these two concepts and the roles they play in building the websites and apps we know and love.

Web Design

Web design encompasses many different skills and disciplines in the production and maintenance of websites. The diversity of the skills required by a web developer are many, often to the point it is difficult for a web designer to excel in all aspects. As a result, a team may cover the web design process, with each member of the team having their own strengths, specialties and role in the development process. Web design involves the implementation of solutions that follow the business rules and requirements specified by the client. Web designers develop a professional relationship with their clients, interacting with them in order to develop a deep understanding of the requirements and convert these into a website specification.

Design Principles

  • Balance – It’s important to achieve a balanced layout. In web design, elements are characterised into heavy (large and dark colors) and light (small and lighter colors) elements. Using the correct ratio of each is important to achieving a balanced website design.
  • Contrast – Contrasting colors are the ones placed opposite one another on the color wheel. Designers create contrasting sizes and shapes to define and draw attention to specific sections of the website.
  • Emphasis – Emphasis is a design principle based on “highlighting” certain important elements of the website structure. It’s important to note that if you emphasize everything on the page you end up emphasizing nothing. For example, if 80% of the content is highlighted in yellow, nothing really stand out.
  • Consistency – Also called repetition or rhythm, consistency is a critical web design principle.
  • Unity – Unity deals with how the human brain visually organizes information by grouping elements into categories. Unity is the relationship between different parts of the website layout and the composition as a whole.

Web Development

Web development refers to building website and deploying on the web. To put it simply, think of the design as a non-interactive “picture” of a website. Developers take that design and break it up into it’s components. They then use just HTML or other programming languages like PHP to develop various website pages. More advanced web developers may use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress in order to centralize development and to allow clients an easy way to manage their website. Web development can range from developing the simplest static single page of plain text to the most complex web-based internet applications (or just ‘web apps’) electronic businesses, and social network services. There are three kinds of web developer specialization: front-end developer, back-end developer, and full-stack developer.

To excel, the web designers must have a strong grasp of copyright law and a well developed personal code of ethics. They must take personal responsibility for being constantly at the forefront of trends and web technology. They must also be responsive to clients and have the ability to work in structured and unstructured teams and groups. Web Developers on the other hand, take a website design and creates a fully functioning website from it. Web developers use various programming languages like  HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript to develop the design files.

Small and medium sized companies looking for a website or a redesign of their existing website may be confused by the blurred lines surrounding the terms “Web Design” and “Web Development”. Of course there are individuals that are able to do both, but many companies prefer to have dedicated designers to create the website layout and programmers to complete the development stage.

It’s a common misconception that design and development are one and the same, We hope the article gave you some idea about the differences between the two.

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