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Web Design vs Web Development: What is the Difference?

web design vs web development
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Knowing the difference between web design vs web development is important if you need a new website or are thinking about a redesign. You also might have heard that you need good web design or web development to have a good, user-friendly, website.

It’s true, but many people don’t know what web design or web development means or even how they differ from one another. They differ from each other tremendously. 

However, the two are somewhat related too despite being different.

Both are needed for a good website. Both entail some amount of coding, but you need to know how the two operate and you need to know how both can help or hurt your website. 

You May Be Putting Your Site and Business at Risk

How you decide on web design vs web development depends on your business, target audience, and other factors. 

If you don’t think about how each one differs and how important it is to get both of them right, you will lose visitors and customers, which can spell disaster for your business. 

Your entire business can go down the drain. Your cash flow and productivity can suffer. It can slow down production. It can make you inaccessible, unreachable and unrelatable to your customers, which is vital for maintaining customer relationships. 

The One You Choose Matters

To make matters worse, you have to know which one you need to improve on to get the right look and feel to support your brand and speak to your target audience.

You want your orders to go well and you want repeat business. You also want your customers to be able to contact you for any of their needs. All of this goes back to your business running well and keeping up with ever-changing demands.  

In short, your business can tank if you don’t know whether you need web design or development to improve your website. You might need both. It’s important to know the difference between web design and web development. 

Another issue is that there is some overlap between web design and web development. You will find some web designers who perform some functions of web developers and vice versa.

They both entail some amount of coding. For example, both designers and developers can use CSS and HTML. In addition, the terms are somewhat used interchangeably among different companies.

For businesses who are in need of web design, web development or both, it’s hard to know where to start or who to go to. To avoid all of these issues, you need a company who can effectively tell you which you need or you need to know how to identify your site’s issues. 

It’s always a good idea to get a second opinion because you might discover issues you were unaware of. You also want a company who knows whether you need to improve on design or development in relation to your brand and target audience.

We will discuss web design, web development, why those are important and other factors that go into making an awesome website. You will learn exactly what you need to keep the customers you already have and gain more for serious growth.

Also, we can show you what you need to do in case you’re building a site from scratch or need to update the one you have. 

Web Design vs Web Development

Web design vs web development seems confusing at first. In short, web design involves how a website looks and its usability. Web development is the actual nuts and bolts of a website. 

Both web design and development affect whether a visitor interacts with any given site; however, web design is what immediately entices visitors to stick around.

Any one thing can turn a visitor away. Both web design and development are essential for an effective website. 

What Is Web Design?

web design will establish a website's layout, color scheme, and overall visual hierarchy.

Most customers aren’t too concerned with web development unless the site isn’t working properly. What people are most taken by is how a website looks. People form first impressions at lightning speed. The same holds true for a website. 

The brightness, colors used, color contrast, fonts, placement of graphics, size of text, how easy it is to find what’s needed and more go into web design.

If a page is too busy or flashy or doesn’t have enough to give people an idea of what the business is all about, they won’t want to stick around. How this plays into a company’s brand is huge. 

A web designer can improve or establish a site’s layout, color scheme, visual hierarchy and make navigation easy to do. All of these aspects are important to create the perfect look and feel. 

A web designer basically makes a site user-friendly by making it easy to use and visually enticing. Also, web design has to relate to a target audience if the target audience is going to feel that a business truly gets or cares about their wants and needs.

A business needs to anticipate their target audience’s wants and needs. A website’s designs conveys this message loud and clear.  

What Is Web Development

a web developer uses programing languages such as PHP, Javascript or CSS to make a website functional.

While web design is more about the paint job of a car (or how it looks overall and the viewer can see what the car can do because of its features), web development deals more with the engine, transmission and everything else that helps a car operate. It’s the part of the car that you can’t see immediately. 

A web developer ensures everything is functional within a website in order for its features to function properly. For example, web developers use programming languages, like PHP, Javascript or CSS to make a website functional. 

A web developer looks at your loading time, DNS issues, poorly written codes, can help you with an app and other development issues.

What Is a Full Stack Developer?

Full stack developers are a nifty bunch. They offer the best of both worlds because they tie everything a web designer does and a web developer does in a neat package.

They’re the perfect package for everything related to websites. They’re referred to as “unicorns.” They handle the front end and the back end and how those communicate with each other to ensure everything runs seamlessly from the home page to purchases, security and more. 

Should You Hire a Web Developer or a Web Designer?

You Need to Discover Your Site’s Issues

The answer to this depends a lot on the problems you may be experiencing with your website. For example, if you notice that many of your site’s visitors aren’t making it past the home page to other pages, the look of your site might be throwing people off.

You can quickly discover this issue by asking a variety of people what they think about your site. Better than this, ask people who fit the description of your target audience. Ask what they like and don’t like about your site. 

You might have issues with navigational links or other issues that affect usability, which is frustrating in the slightest. A site’s poor usability will permanently turn people away. 

The Web Designer’s Approach for Your Site

Web designers are more inclined to be artistic. They know what’s visually appealing. This is important because people will either click through to see other pages on a site, come back to visit the same site or purchase a product or service. 

Web designers look at the big picture and aim at everything coordinating with everything else. A web designer knows how a website should look overall and how everything should tie in together according to the site’s look and feel. 

People are strongly motivated by how they feel. Visitors need to experience emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are in alignment with a business’ brand. Web designers understand this and deliver this result effortlessly. 

The Web Developer’s Approach for Your Site

Web developers are ruled more by logic, which is important because there needs to be order for a website to function properly. There needs to be rules, and a website should be efficient. 

Web developers are people who want to know left and right turns according to street names. They don’t want to know superfluous information about a winding road, flowers on the side or anything else they don’t need to know.

This is important in coding precisely what’s needed for a site without overcomplicating it. 

If your site doesn’t load quickly enough, visitors will get frustrated and leave. If there are security issues, customers will quickly learn to never trust your site again.

A web developer can fix both of these issues. They’re the people you want for the job because they pay close attention to detail and will fix the issues in a logical way. 

The Full Stack Web Developer’s Approach for Your Site

A full stack web developer is the type that wants to know street names and how to turn, but they also want to know that they will see the brightest yellow flowers just before they turn left on Jefferson St. 

If are building a brand new website, you will need a web development and a web design to handle all aspects of your site. A full stack developer usually uses both sides of their brain equally.

They’re both logical and artistic and can order a website from the big picture down to the minute details to ensure it all works together. 

How Much Does a Website Cost?

The short end of this answer is that you get out what you put into it. If you don’t need a lot and business has never been better, you’d invest a small amount for what you need. 

However, if you want or need to infinitely increase your marketing efforts, you should heavily invest by fully optimizing your website’s potential. This will infinitely increase your revenue. 

To Recap

To know whether you need the help of a web designer or the help of a web developer depends greatly on the problems you face with your site. If you need help in improving your site’s aesthetic features and usability, web design can help you. 

If you need help with security, DNS issues, loading time, creating or improving an app and similar issues, you need the help of a web developer. 

If you are building a site from scratch or are looking to revamp your site to accomodate today’s marketing in accordance with your brand, you need both web design and development. 

If you know the common issues you face with your website, we are more than happy to help you get started with improving your site. If you don’t know where to start, we can help there too. Contact us today to get started on building or updating your site today.

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Air Force veteran and online marketing authority, Micha is a pragmatic problem solver with relentless dedication to his clients’ success-- with a passion for helping businesses achieve exponential and sustainable growth. He serves clients as a strategic partner who believes in addressing their digital challenges head-on by implementing quantifiable best practices. His hobbies include billiards, chess, mountain climbing, and traveling with his loving wife and kids.

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