Web Design vs Web Development

Jan 16, 2012 articles, web design
Web Design and Web Development. What’s the difference?

I get tons of phone calls for people looking for a web designer and then once we get into more detail of what they want out of their website, I find that they are looking for a web developer.

So I would like to point out the differences in this post today.

Web Designer
A designer is someone who focuses on the visual aesthetics of things. Usually a designer will actually use Photoshop as a layout/mockup tool. To land a good design and flowing layout. Then once they are happy with the design, they will dive into the coding part of the project.  The code part is usually based on HTML and CSS with a little javascript thrown in. There are no databases, or advanced functionality involved. Usually this is consider “front end” web design.

Web Developer
A Developer is someone that focuses on the “back end” of the website. This usually involves heavy coding, and programming.  The programming gives the website functionality, an “if this happens” do this action. There are different types of programming languages and the most common are PHP and ASP.net. On the development side you are dealing with databases, auto generation of web pages, programmed generation of images and HTML.

Still not sure what the difference is?

Post to facebook much? Well there is tons of code telling the back end of facebook to create a new post when someone types in a certain box, as well as post to your friends pages. Ever uploaded an image to flickr? That’s some heavy programming!   Bought anything online before? How do you think these sites know what you added to your shopping cart, programming language in the background. These are examples of web development.

With the expansion of technology and more and more people having access to some sophisticated programming via websites, it is creating this illusion that everything is so simple. And more and more business owners are wanting the same kind of functionality that they are finding on these major websites that took years to build and tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop.

If you have the budget you can develop a website with all the functionality you want or need. But keep in mind the more functionality, the more programming, and the more hours and production it will take to get what you want. The other thing to keep in mind is that you might need both a designer and a developer, because they don’t think the same and don’t produce the same results. It is usually best to find a company that has a designer and a developer so they can work hand and hand, and get you stunning websites that have alot of functionality integrated.