What Is the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

Aug 26, 2021 | Website Design

If you’re looking for website services, chances are that you’ve run across the terms web design and web development. And while some people may use these terms interchangeably, the fact is that they refer to two very different tasks, performed by two very different people. 

Web Design vs. Web Development

In the most basic terms, web design refers to the actual aesthetic and usability of a website. Web designers work on the layout and visual elements of a website.

On the other hand, web designers take the design and use programming languages like HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and more in order to build a functioning website from the design files.

What Does a Web Designer Do?

It’s easiest to think of a web designer as the person who does the work that makes a website look good. They focus on the style and overall feel of your website, working with the client to decide on things like color scheme, photos, title breaks, and more. 

Often, web designers specialize in one of three different roles, which include:

  • User Experience (UX) Designer

UX has become an increasingly important part of web design as the internet and our devices have become more and more advanced. UX essentially boils down to how a user feels about how their expectations are being fulfilled while on a website. 

  • User Interface (UI) Designer

UI refers to everything that goes into the display and layout of a website, including illustrations, graphics, and content. This also includes interface items (buttons, drop down menus, etc), navigational components (search bars, icons, tags, etc), and information components (progress bars, message boxes, notifications). 

  • Visual Designer

A visual designer is essentially someone who is a combination of a UI designer and a graphic designer. The goal of a visual designer is to review the completed website in order to assess the design and usability, and suggest changes they think should be made to further enhance the website.

What Does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers are often called programmers; their job is to take the design created by a web designer and turn it into a fully functioning website. They rely on a few different tools, including Javascript, PHP, Python, etc, to build a responsive and properly functioning website. Web developers often collaborate between web designers to best serve thier clients. 

Often, web developers specialize in one of three different roles, which include:

  • Front-End Developer

The part of a website that your users see and interact with is referred to as the front end. This includes everything from text color, style, images, graphics, tables, buttons, navigation, etc. Front end developers use HTML, CSS, and Javascript to design the structure and behavior of everything displayed on the front end of a website. Responsiveness and performance are their main focus to ensure that sites display properly across all devices.

  • Back-End Developer

On the other side of web development are back-end developers, who deal with everything related to the server-side of a website. This is where the data for a site is stored and arranged, and is not seen by users. Back-end developers do things like write APIs, create libraries, and work on system components to ensure the front end of the website displays correctly and can be engaged with by users.

  • Full Stack Developer

Not all developers focus on just the front end or back end. Full stack developers are able to work on both of these areas, as well as the database, and often focus on debugging errors in websites or applications

Many businesses both large and small can end up confused about who they need to hire to refresh or rebuild their website. Although you can hire individual designers or developers to do some of the work for you, many agencies, like Gulf Coast Web, have staff on hand to tackle all of these tasks.

Looking for an agency that is able to address all aspects of web design and web development? Contact us today! At Gulf Coast Web, we have over 25 years of experience in managing all types of digital design and marketing campaigns – even for companies outside of our immediate area. Our staff consists of highly-trained digital design advertising professionals who are both passionate about their jobs and excel at what they do. Contact us today to book a consultation with our team. We look forward to outlining exactly how we can help you grow your business with our digital media agency services.