Web Design vs Web Development: What’s the Difference?

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Since the advent of modern technologies and user-directed platforms across the globe, developers, marketers, branding enthusiasts, and investors are in search of dedicated user interfaces. Web design and web development closely resonate with the overall design and flow of a digital platform or page. Regardless of the specific definition, the main purpose behind well-thought web design and development is to focus on user experience and consistently strive to improve it. However, web development isn’t visible on the front end and is mostly related to the programming elements of the website or the digital platform.

According to general stats from 2023, approximately 61% of online users prefer browsing beautifully crafted and well-thought-out landing pages and online platforms. The initial impression a user develops about a website or digital platform is heavily influenced by the design and overall structure. With constant development and modifications being made to web design templates and themes, everyone is in pursuit of developing the best web designs. However, web designing is not a simple task; it can take a designer up to 2 months to design an average website.

Web development might not be valued as highly as web design, but it remains one of the most critical elements in producing a fully functional online platform, such as a website, digital library, e-commerce website, and more. According to statistics from 2023, 95.8% of individuals access the internet via smartphone devices, which is driving developers to produce mobile-friendly UI/UX for their existing websites and platforms. Taking Netflix and Amazon Prime as examples; you may have accessed these streaming platforms from both laptops and smartphones, and you may have noticed slight changes in the overall flow of the applications. However, the theme and other fundamentals remain constant without affecting the user interface. Continue reading to find out more about web design and development in today’s digital age.

What is Web Design?

If you have been using the internet since the early 2000s, you must have experienced a transition phase. During this period, websites underwent complete revamps, emerging as unique brands and platforms. Not only did brands and businesses go through this transformation, but banking channels also updated their online user interfaces with the introduction of online banking applications and more. Digital technology revolutionized everything, from the traditional white block letters and search bars to more dynamic and animated websites.

Web designers are hired at competitive hourly rates to produce platforms and websites that offer a digitally sound user experience to Internet users. When updating or enhancing content, designers always prioritize the functionality and accessibility of the platform. They customize everything, from graphical design to color balance, based on the client’s specific needs. Let’s take the example of the Miniclip platform, which is designed for children. If we compare it to a financial institution’s website, we will notice a difference in themes, color schemes, buttons, alignment, page flow, and more. Therefore, it is essential to understand that web design requires innovation, creativity, and a genuine eagerness to develop captivating content.

How to Keep Innovating and Driving Ideas for Web Designing?

Updated and refined Content Management Systems (CMS) are incredible tools that save time and effort while maintaining beautiful design standards and providing flexibility, similar to set layouts and grid systems. Although platforms like WordPress, Expression Engine, and Drupal are flexible and can be used creatively, it’s important to note that they don’t limit designers. However, content management systems can sometimes hinder creativity, especially when combined with grid systems, as many freely available themes rely on them for quick development.

Taking benefit from the free themes available, may designers exploit the use and ultimately affect their website’s performance. Therefore, it’s crucial to leverage CMS to your advantage without compromising the overall structure or performance of your website.

Take Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms as examples. These platforms have continuously evolved their user interfaces, integration capabilities, and functionalities since 2010. Users expect ongoing improvements in quality over time, and they wouldn’t prefer using the same outdated platform year after year. Implementing innovative ideas while maintaining the website’s code and programming details is a skill possessed by only a few web designers.

According to 2023 statistics, approximately 9 out of 10 online platforms and e-commerce giants invest thousands of dollars monthly in updating their web designs. Whether it’s seasonal changes or promotional events, websites undergo planned changes throughout the year, as directed by marketers and business developers. To stay updated with current market trends and best digital practices, it’s advisable to analyze the performance of your direct competitors and find inspiration to blend with your own ideas. When making changes to web design, it’s essential to involve the development team to avoid misunderstandings and glitches.

What is Web Development?

According to the 2022 statistics, approximately 28.1% of online users accessed the internet via desktop systems. However, the changing trend has led to a rise in the use of smartphones, encouraging individuals to access digital platforms and the internet through handheld devices. In response to this significant shift, web designers and developers have updated their approach by creating compelling user interfaces for every device. You may have come across applications that can be accessed online or downloaded directly from Google Play or the Apple Store. While the features and other elements remain consistent, there are notable differences in the overall layout, user interface, and other specific details. To address these differences, web developers contribute by creating user-friendly interfaces.

Web development is directly linked to the performance of a website or digital platform. From loading speeds to on-page and off-page extensions, every element plays a role in web development. Web developers, often referred to as “devs,” code websites using various programming languages depending on the backend structure and other parameters. Common coding languages in web development include CSS, JavaScript (JS), Node.js, Python, and HTML. When defining the overall structure of your website, it’s important to consult with web developers regarding the backend, as different search engines on the internet have various plugins and external connections with different types of websites.

Web development extends beyond optimizing website features and also encompasses database management. If your business requires a digital cloud or incorporates data structures from different departments, you will need to implement a cloud management platform to facilitate easy access to received and uploaded data. When developing a robust cloud-based system, it’s crucial to ensure that your developed code aligns with your website’s structure.

Popular programming languages for web development include HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Front-end developers, who are responsible for optimizing websites for users, and search engines, and adhering to industry requirements for website security, demonstrate a keen interest in utilizing online designs and themes.

Why Invest Time and Thought in Developing Websites?

Today, websites from different companies range in quality. Some are truly works of art in terms of UI, UX, and design. Others appear to have been thrown together quickly after the boss instructed someone to design a website as quickly and inexpensively as possible. The top websites may provide users with a sensory experience and provide owners with greater promotion than a Super Bowl commercial. Many excellent E-commerce sites serve as a seamless extension of a company’s physical stores. However, it’s imperative to understand that these websites aren’t curated in a day. Continue reading to understand how web design vs web development is vetted and improved over time.

If you are looking to develop a website from scratch, you will need to first identify the type of website you are developing. If your main focus is on E-commerce products and listing, your approach will be different and so will its development. However, if you are looking to develop a website that reflects a company’s profile, statement, and projects, you might look to develop a one-pager or a two-pager website. Hence, it’s important to invest a reasonable amount of time and thought when preparing a website, as the face value of businesses is defined by their online presence and official websites mainly.

What’s the Main Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

If you are looking to understand the raw difference between web design and development, it’s best to first understand that a website is built using specific codes. Each type of developer has their own preferences, depending on the type of website and various other parameters. On the other hand, web designers use their creativity to develop visual designs, including graphics and logos. Web design can be further enhanced using Photoshop. Developers who understand coding can build a website from scratch.

Web designers are in constant communication with business managers or clients who are responsible for the overall development of the product or website. Many developers and designers provide custom-built solutions for different clients. A few decades ago, UI/UX design wasn’t regarded as an integral element of the overall digitalization process.

However, with changing landscapes, individuals are now looking to develop robust platforms backed by creative designs and the overall formatting of web pages.

If you are looking to develop or modify your brand’s website or digital platform from scratch, it’s best to take consultancy from seasoned developers and designers. Taking quotes and ideas from different designers and developers enables you to apply different strategies accordingly. Moreover, designers and developers play significant roles in improving a website’s overall performance and efficiency.

Final Word!

There is no denying that web design and web development are two distinct professions, each requiring a specific set of abilities. For instance, many successful engineers may find it challenging to succeed without some design expertise. On the other hand, a talented web designer can easily produce a wonderful website without understanding how to code. If you are looking to develop something unique or start from scratch, it is strongly recommended to seek suggestions and ideas from lead developers and designers.

When it comes to updated and trending designs for custom-built websites and digital platforms, it’s best to conduct an in-depth market survey and observe what your direct competitors are doing. Taking ideas and inspiration from the local market can help you create your own.