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What Is Web Design and Development?

In this video, Alex from the WebFX Interactive team discusses the basics of web design and web development.


Web design and development have evolved so much in the last 20 years. I mean, just look at Apple’s old website. 

Just look at how far we’ve come with design in the past decade. 

It takes a team of people to launch a polished website, and I’m going to talk about two important roles in that team: Web designers and developers. 

While designers and developers often work together, they generally do different tasks to get a website online. It’s possible someone can be a designer and a developer at the same time, but generally, these are two different roles.

What is the difference between web design vs. web development?

The difference between web design vs. web development is the focus. Web design focuses on creating a website’s look and feel via design tools while web development focuses on bringing that look and feel to life via programming languages.

What is web design and development?

Let’s start with an overview of web design vs. web development.

Web design definition

Web design focuses on creating different graphical elements for online use. Designers may create infographics, ads, logos…but a large focus — and the focus of this video — is on the visual look and feel of a website. 

Some things web designers generally do are:

When they work on websites, designers typically focus on how they can create a good user experience (UX) for site visitors.  

Explore Web Design Terms

They may use tools like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to create the elements that will make up your site. 

UX design is an emerging form of web design that’s all about making sure everything you create has the user in mind. UX designers make sure websites are designed for different devices, and the layout is practical and easy to follow. 

Designers may have some knowledge of code, such as HTML and CSS, but a lot of their work focuses on a website’s appearance.

Web development definition

So while web designers focus on the visuals of a website, web developers work on bringing those visuals to life. 

They’ll use different programming languages, like HTML, PHP, and Java, to develop a website’s core functionality. Functionality might be things like what happens when someone clicks a button or how the main navigation loads when a user scrolls or clicks on it. 

A developer may work with a content management system (CMS) to get your website online and available to users. Some common systems include:

  • WordPress
  • Magento
  • Joomla
  • Drupal

A good portion of a web developer’s work is also focused on maintaining websites, so doing things like upgrading the CMS, managing the security, and offering web support for any issues that arise. 

If you want to improve your website, you should think of web design and development as two essential areas that work together. It’s not designer vs. developer in most cases. You need both to know how to design a website and have a modern website that works well for users. 

What does a web design and development agency do?

When you hire an agency that focuses on both web design and development, you get the best of both worlds. 

First, you have a team of people dedicated to making sure your website looks modern and captures your brand identity. Second, you can be sure that your website is going to do what you want it to do. 

Want an animation on your homepage? Designers and developers can work on that. Want to create interactive graphs that tell a story? Designers and developers can do that, too.

If you hire a full-service agency, your team will likely include search engine optimization (SEO) in your web design package so more people can find you when they’re using Google, Bing, or another search engine. SEO is so important because over half of all web traffic is said to come from organic search. 

To be successful, your website needs to look good, create a good user experience, and be optimized for search engines. A good design and development team will make sure you meet all of these criteria. 

Your web design team, typically led by a project manager, will work with you to figure out your needs and desires, so you get the website you’ve always wanted. They’ll take time to understand your business and your competitors, so you can be confident your website captures the essence of your company. 

If you’re thinking about hiring a designer vs. a developer, why not both? Or, you can hire a team of award-winning web design and development professionals to get the job done. 

Learn more about web design and web development

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