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Web Design vs Web Development: How to know the difference!

October 13, 2020

Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at web design vs web development to help you get a better understanding of the differences.

Often, they’re confused, as they sound quite similar, and both fall into the category of “building websites“.

However, there are some major differences between them and they are actually two different services. But, one similarity they do have is that without them, the web would not exist. 

By the end of this article, you will know which one you’ll need for your project.

An infographic illustrating the differences between web design vs. web development

What Is Web Design?

Web design is the process of designing a website. This is mainly the look of a website such as the color scheme, layout, and every other visual aspect related to what the user sees.

A web designer focuses on creating the perfect visual look of a website before a web developer develops it.

For this, web designers will use programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Adobe XD, as this allows them to create a visual shell of a website without it being a real website.

Web designers are usually exceptionally well-skilled in graphic design and branding. These skills are essential, as your website and logo are probably the most important components of your brand.

Within Adobe Photoshop, they’ll use a mix of colors, images, and fonts to create a picture of your website. Normally and going by the definition, a web designer does not create your website, they just design it. When thinking of the difference between web design vs web development, consider the web designer as the interior decorator of the home and the web developer as the architect.

However, nowadays, most web designers are also skilled in HTML and CSS, allowing them to create live versions of the website.

Or, they can also use template services like WordPress, where they can install a theme and edit it to the desired look. This means if you’re looking for a static website, you’ll probably only need a web designer.

The reason adobe photoshop is used is to create a sketch before. At this point, the website owner can ask for changes before the website is even created. Plus, it’s also used to provide a blueprint to the web developer.

Quick Recap: Web designers create a visual look of your website. Usually, they will use Adobe Photoshop to create a sketch before a web developer goes and developed it. However, most web designers also have basic HTML and CSS knowledge which allows them to create static websites. Or they can also use a service such as WordPress.org, where they can use templates (a.k.a themes).

Types of Web Design

Web design is quite a broad term. For this reason, there are two types of web designers that work on different parts of the website. Below, we’ve outlined all the types of web designers to help you understand them.

There is a third type, but that just means that they can do both of the other types.

UX Designer

A UX web designer’s responsibility is designing the perfect user experience. The user experience should flow well, and aim to keep the visitor hooked into the website.

They do deep research into the needs and wants of the target audience, allowing them to understand exactly what they want. Plus, they also test prototypes and restructure sites to make the user experience more smooth.

In short, UX designers design the pathways and maps of the user experience, after extensive research into the target audience.

UI Designer

UI designers’ responsibility is the user interface. They also work closely with UX designers as the user interface has a big impact on the user experience. Their main task is to make the user interface feel and look nicer.

In short, they add a finishing touch making the elements look and feel nicer, improving the way visitors interact with them.

Visual Designer

Lastly, there is also the visual designer.

They design a mixture of the user experience and the user interface. Visual designers help design the customer journey, as well as on the visual design aspects of a website.

They’re usually experts in both UX and UI, meaning they can design both without any trouble.

Website Design vs Website Development graphic illustrating components of building a custom website

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the process of developing a website.

Web developers have extensive knowledge in coding, allowing them to build fully-functional websites, or even web applications.

So, after the web designer has built the general concept of a website, the web developer takes that concept and makes it real.

The main coding languages web developers use are JavaScript and Jquery, but they will also usually know various other languages too, depending on the type of web development they perform. 

Types of Web Development

The task of developing a website or a web application can be pretty big, and there are normally quite a lot of tasks involved. For this reason, there are different types of web developers that work on a project. Below, we’ve outlined the three types of web developers.

Front-End Developer

A front-end developer creates the “front-end” of a website, basically what the visitor sees. Although they do have coding skills, they are not quite as extensive as the back-end developer, which we’ll talk about in a moment.

This is similar to web design, as the main coding languages used are HTML, CSS, and Javascript. All the coding is done on the browser.

Anything that the user can interact with like contact forms, CTA’s or navigation bars is developed by front-end developers.

Back-End Developer

The back-end developer works on the core structure of a website.

A back-end developer has extensive knowledge in complex coding languages like Java, SQL, and C#.

Unlike front-end developers, the code they write is not on the browser, but instead on web servers and databases. Back-end developers are usually responsible for making everything function and are often concerned with things like fixing bugs.

Full-Stack Developer

Lastly, there is the full-stack developer who is an expert in both of these fields.

They work on various layers of a website such as both the front-end and back-end.

Quick recap: Web developers are skilled in various coding languages. They turn the concept of a website into something real and functioning.Front-end developers create what the visitors see and back-end developers develop the functions of a website. A full-stack developer is an expert in both back-end and front-end development, meaning they have the “full-stack”.

Web Design vs Web Development: Key Differences

Here are the key differences between a web designer and web developer:

  • Web designers work on the visual look and feel of a website
  • Web designers use less complex coding if any, usually HTML or CSS.
  • Web developers work on making sure the site functions
  • Web developers work on developing the website usually with complex code such as Javascript, SQL, and C#

Which One Do You Need?

Throughout this article, we’ve taken a look at the differences between web design and web development.

This should have given you at least a broad idea of which one you need. But, in case it didn’t if your project requires a rather static website, then you’ll probably only need a web designer.

Although by the definition a website designer can’t help you “create” your actual website, most web designers will be able to create a static website. Again, this is because they have basic CSS and HTML knowledge or can use a CMS such as WordPress which has thousands of themes (templates)

Additionally, if you need help with your branding or any visual aspects of your existing website, you also need a website designer.

If your project needs a more complex website or even a web application, then you’ll probably need a web developer. Any type of work that relates to the functions of your website will probably need a web developer.

If you’re unsure which category your needs fall into, you can also always ask the web developer or designer.

Why You Should Hire an All-In-One Agency

Websites can get pretty complex to people who don’t understand them. Especially, if you’re looking for a business website, as they often require specific functions. 

That’s why we recommend you hire an “all-in-one” agency as this would make it much easier for you. This way, you’ll get your website designed and developed by the same team, meaning there is improved communication throughout the process.

Instead of having to take the concept from one agency to another, you’ll have a website delivered.

Get a Free Quote

Here at Toledo Website Designers & Digital Marketing, we have an experienced in-house team of both website designers and developers.

And, they’re ready to not only design your project but also bring it to life.

As our team has both website designers and developers, you can be sure that you get an outstanding, and fully-functional website. The communication between our team is always better than if you were to go and hire 2 or 3 different agencies, which eliminates the disconnect.

Our designers will make sure to first understand your business fully allowing them to create a customer journey that your customers will love.

Plus, your website will fully convey your brand message, as our web designers also have extensive branding skills.

Transparent, Hassle-Free Pricing

We believe in transparency, so you can tell us a little about your project and we’ll give you a free quote. Or, if you feel like you may need a little more help, we can also offer you a free consultation where we’ll sit down and figure out what’s best for your business.

This means you won’t be having to run from agency to agency to get your full website. As we have a team of both designers and developers, we offer everything in one, giving you a hassle-free experience.

All websites designed by us are:

You can request a free quote using the button below.

Screen Shot 2020 10 19 at 8.43.46 AM
Knowing the difference between web design vs web development can make your next website project easier!

Web Design vs Web Development: Frequently Asked Questions

Before we finish this article, we wanted to cover some frequently asked questions about web design vs web development. But, if you have any other questions, you can also contact us and we’ll be ready to help.

What Do I need To Think About Before Hiring a Web Designer or Developer?

Here are the top  5 things to think about before hiring a website designer or developer:

  1. What would my dream website look like?
  2. What feelings should my visitors get?
  3. What features does my website need?
  4. Where should the customer journey lead to?
  5. Will this website designer or developer create an SEO-friendly website?

Something to note is that not all website designers or developers know SEO well enough to create SEO-friendly websites. If you get a website that isn’t SEO-friendly, it can damage your business in the long term as you’ll be missing out on organic traffic.

As we have extensive knowledge in SEO, all our web design and development services are completely SEO-friendly, meaning you have nothing to worry about.

What Tools Do Web Designers Use?

Web designers use a variety of tools, but the most important one is Adobe Photoshop, as it allows them to create the frameworks of a website.

Other tools web designers may use include:

  • WordPress
  • Invision Studio
  • ProofHub
  • Sketch
  • Adobe Dreamweaver

The additional tools used usually depend on what type of web design the designer does.

What Tools Do Web Developers Use?

Web developers also use a wide range of tools. But, to be exact on them is also quite hard as it depends on the type of web developer (i.e front-end, back-end)

But, here are a good list of tools commonly used for web development:

  • Angular.JS
  • Chrome DevTools
  • Sass
  • CodePen
  • GitHub
  • NPM

How Much Does a Website Normally Cost?

It would be quite hard to give you a general idea of how much a website costs to get designed and developed.

But, the main factors are:

  • The functions needed
  • How many pages are needed
  • Quality

The prices can range anywhere from a couple of hundred bucks to thousands, so it’s quite hard to give an exact number. However, if you’re looking to get a website designed, we can give you a free quote before we start to give you the best possible idea of how much your project would cost.

How Can I Manage a Website Without Coding Knowledge?

Depending on the agency you’ll use, they will use some type of CMS (Content Management System). At Toledo Web designers we always like to use Squarespace or WordPress.

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