Web Design vs Web Development

When someone asks me what I do for the living, I usually answer I am a web designer. This is what people mostly understand, in general.

In fact, this term is used when I am introduced to someone who is not a computer scientist or programmer.

The truth is that people use both web design and web development, as the same concept. But, when you apply for a job in the web industry, these terms are completely different.

Let’s specify in details these two terms.

Web Design

Web design represents the set of technical skills used in building the user interface of the website.
Through the use of color, images, typography, and layout, web design constructs the overall image of the website.

Some different areas of web design include web graphic designinterface design, user experience design, and search engine optimization.

A professional web designer knows the principles of the design and applies them to the web design making it look great and user-friendly.
They make not just a pretty website, but also an easy and attractive interface.

Web Development

Web development includes front-end development and back-end development. They have a different focus, but many web developers master both skills.

Front-end development focuses on programming the layout of the website. A front-end developer builds the graphical layout of how the user sees the website, by using scripting languages such as HTML, styles of CSS, or JavaScript.

The back-end development requires advanced programming skills to implement the functionalities of the website, such as the interface to a database, connections with web services, and similar features.

A professional web developer masters programming skills such as PHP.

He manages how different APIs (Application Programming Interface) is used to connect different web platforms to make the website more flexible and functional.

In the case when the required functionality is not fulfilled from any current library, a professional back-end developer creates the code from scratch and adds the features that meet the client’s need.

Somewhere in between web design and web development

Some web developers are specialized in certain areas, but many others can do both web design and web development.

They might prefer working with visual effects of the web, but also implement the layout in the styles of CSS and in tags of HTML.

This kind of web designer is very useful in the industry of web. Similarly, a web developer who owns basic skills of design and visual communication is very helpful in building web projects and in making smart choices while coding.

However, when someone applies for a job in the web technology, or look for someone to work on a website, the position should be well defined: web design or web development.
The advanced skills will make the difference and will lead to the position.

For larger sites and projects, a team of web professionals will cover all the different fields, both web design, and web development.

Full-stack developers

Full-stack developers are those who have knowledge of all of the development tasks discussed above.

A full-stack developer should be able to build a website from scratch, beginning with a design, creating the markup of the design, but also implementing back-end functionalities and database queries.

Usually, a full-stack developer has a basic knowledge of design and user experience. Being a full-stack developer does not he should have experience in all programming languages. It’s quite impossible to become an expert or a professional in each programming language.

It’s also hard to learn all the techniques and strategies on how to be most effective in all of the areas we discussed above. Remember, web technologies are evolving every day.

Toward the same goal, both web designers and web developers work for the same goal – to create a website that attracts the users.

To do this, both the design and development must be at the same professional level. A site should be attractive and functional.

The colors, animations and multimedia elements should represent the brand and the interface needs to encourage visitors to stay longer on the website and to use all its functionality.


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