Text that reads: Web Design vs. Web Development. What is the difference?

When looking for the right company to build your website, are you on Google typing in “web design vs web development”? It’s important to know what these two terms mean. In this article, we’ll look at the differences between the two so you know what makes them different and how they help you meet your marketing goals.

Woman on computer with just hands and computer showing. Woman is typing on her computer.

Web Design vs Web Development: What is the Difference?

Web designers are graphic artists. Their expertise lies in designing the layout or “look” of your web pages with brand-relevant visuals in hand with attractive features that improve user experience. Web developers focus on using code to build the design into an actual website, building and maintaining the structure and functionality of your website. However, they also contribute to improved user experience to ensure the website is responsive, quick-loading, and bug-free. A good website needs both of these components, ensuring every website element is optimized to attract your ideal clients.

Web Design vs Web Development: Why Does It Matter So Much?

A strong web presence ensures your customers can find you. It is at the base of your digital and search engine marketing, sharing information as an effective point of discovery customers can explore. However, while content provides valuable information, the design must make a solid first impression. To provide a pleasant user experience, you must:

  • Present a brand-relevant appearance
  • Adopt engaging content marketing
  • Design an easy-to-use, quick-to-respond website with seamless loading from click to click

When you accomplish this, you solidify your online presence, keeping visitors on-page longer, so they learn to trust you, your products, and your service. That calls for a savvy web designer to represent your brand visually and a website developer who ensures users never encounter a “glitch in the matrix.”

The Impact of Web Design & Development in 2023

Web design & development will continue to impact businesses in 2023. Web users continue to grow in number, demanding better ways for designers and developers to deliver flawless user experiences. While technology improves developer and user experience, it also promises to simplify the design process, making everyone happy.  

However, web design teams and developers also must prepare to compete with Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI). ADI is increasingly becoming more competent at customized website development. The creation of 360-degree video continues to gain steam as a tool to improve user experience. Skills to support the development of interactive features open doors in industries where explaining complex products helps improve customer engagement. 

Even websites with voice command capabilities could make their way into web design and development in the next few years. As a result, designers and developers alike will adopt new skills to meet the needs of emerging technologies.

How Web Design and Development bring your ideas to life

Collaboration is needed between web designers and developers. It’s all about the left brain vs. right brain approach to websites. Creative vs. technical. When designers and developers collaborate, we significantly improve the user experience while making each other’s lives easier.  

Sometimes business owners think the design createds everything-and while some of them can also do development, like we do, there are many that do not have the expertise to handle the coding on the backend. Developers come in to create the functional elements. They bring the client’s vision to fruition.

Web Design vs Web Development: What Web Designers and Web Developers Actually Do

While you now understand the fundamental differences between web designers and developers, their roles might need further clarification. Here’s what they do:

Web Designer

Web designers are all about looks and design to capture your brand’s ideal client. They focus on three aspects of design:

1. User Experience (UX): UX determines whether users quickly achieve their goals when visiting a site without delays, interruptions, or confusion.

2. User interface Design (UI): UI creates the tools users interact with, such as the buttons and menus, navigational components, and informational components like message boxes.

3. Visual: Visuals complete the look considering every design element of the web page.

Larger design companies have specialists addressing each element of design. However, freelancers and smaller design companies prefer the “triple threat” designers who artfully finesse all three.  

Web Developer

Also known as programmers, web developers apply functions to the components created by the designer. They use different software and coding methods to develop functionality, ensuring the site remains responsive. They address two areas: 

1. Front-end development:

Front-end developers address the user interface function, including

  • Text colors and styles
  • Images
  • Graphs and tables
  • Buttons
  • Colors
  • Navigation menu

They use different languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to manage the details the user sees on their screen and improve responsiveness and performance.

2. Back-end development:

Backend developers address all the components behind the scenes. This includes:

  • Writing application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Creating libraries
  • Working with system components without user interfaces
  • Creating custom plugins or other functionality

There are also “full stack” developers who do everything, including developing and debugging the front-end, back-end, and related databases.

Web Design vs Web Development: Who to Hire First?

This is a common question, and the answer might surprise you – neither. Whether you build your first website or need to update or recreate it, your project starts with a marketing consultation and strategy. This makes things 1000 times easier. A website project calls for seamless design and functionality addressing the front and back end, and you want to be sure you have a plan that will bring you success during the build process.

Consultations gain insights into your goals and what you need on your site to achieve them. A collaborative project process aligns project managers, developers and designers, improving production and flow. Everyone works on the same page, creating the ultimate user experience so you can meet your marketing goals. 

What Does a Website Design and Development Project Involve?

Here are a few steps website design and development agencies use in an end-to-end website project:

1. Brand & Website Strategy Session

2. Key Functionality Audit

3. Competitor Review

4. Research & Discovery

5. Custom Designs

6. Web Development

7. Launch and Support

The steps cover every aspect of website creation, making a digital marketing company an integral partner for your business. At Digitally Grounded, we don’t just design and develop websites; we create strategies for success. Our marketing experts, web designers, and developers work together to ensure we expand your reach.

Web design and developers work together to create a seamless experience for users. The early stages set the foundation for your project, ensuring your needs are met and your brand is understood. A detailed discussion explores your brand so your site has the right tone, voice, look and functionality. The team ensures designers reflect your brand in every design aspect. The developers take it from there, ensuring your vision, the approved designs, and all website features are functioning and optimized for user experience.

Ready to get your website project underway? Schedule a call with Digitally Grounded to kick off your website design meeting.

Blog Category

Are you looking for SEO services?

Blog Category
Blog Category

Are you looking for workshops?

Blog Category

Are you looking for a new website?

Are you looking for a new website?

free e-book

Learn what you need to focus on to expand your company’s reach online this quarter.

Sign up for the email list to get the e-book delivered to your inbox.
free resources