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What is the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

Technological know-how and digitization are crucial to promoting any business online. Digital portals such as websites and blog posts help increase your customers and make your presence known in the online marketplace. When done well, they connect you with your audience and efficiently convey your brand message to them.

To achieve a cohesive, compelling digital presence, one must hire a skilled web developer and web designer. Many will confuse web design with web development, but they are distinct processes that each connect to a different part of your business.

Web designer or web developer?


What is web design?

A web designer creates the visual style of your website and shapes a design in which your content will live. They translate your brand into an attractive look-and-feel that works well in a digital form.

Although web designers are not necessarily coders, it’s a good idea to hire a designer who understands what coding entails. This will help them create a design that can be effectively brought to life.

What is web development?

A web developer is someone who materializes the web designer’s vision for your project. If the web designer is the architect, the web developer is the contractor who constructs your house according to the architect’s plans.

It is imperative to hire a web developer who’s up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices. You’ll want to ensure that they are adept coders who also understand the importance of good user experience. Most of all, they need to be able to successfully translate the web design into a functional site.

See Related: How To Hire A Web Development Company

The economical value of web development & web design.

If we compare the economic value of a web developer and web designer, then the web developer will be the winner. Studying web development is more complicated than web designing. Therefore, there are more web designers on the market than web developers.

On average, a web developer earns around 78,000 US dollars per annum, whereas a web designer earns no less than 58,000 US dollars. The difference in their earnings highlights the difference in their market demand. Although there are fewer web developers than designers, both are equally essential to make your website operational.

So far, we have defined web development and web design and mentioned their economic value. Now, let’s move ahead and find out which characteristics help make both professions successful.

Characteristics of the best web developers.

They should have some business sense.

Your website is a platform that connects you to your targeted audience. It’s among your biggest marketing tools. A web developer who knows about the market you intend to enter is better for the success of your business.

They must thirst for knowledge.

The 21st century is all about change, and market trends change all the time. A professional web developer will know how to stay ahead of these trends by constantly acquiring new knowledge and adapting their work process.

They should be a problem solver.

Coding for a website is not an easy feat, so a web developer must be innovative and creative to solve any problem that may come their way during the process.

Characteristics of the best web designers.

best web designers


They must have great communication skills

As stated earlier, web designers are the professionals who determine the aesthetics of your website. Their job heavily relies on

communication because they not only have to understand the demands of their customers but also relay their plans to the web developer.

If anything goes wrong or the web developer fails to comprehend their designs the way they were supposed to, then the web designer must be able to rectify the situation. Communication is imperative among all team members and the client to develop and design a website that can convert leads to customers.

They must be clear about their ideas.

A web designer must be clear about the vision they want to implement on the website. If they are not, then it will be hard for coders to materialize what they have in mind.

In conclusion, the characteristic that the best designers and developers have in common is that they both heavily rely on good communication and collaboration. It’s also helpful if a web designer knows a thing or two about coding, and a web developer should have an artistic streak to bring the designer’s vision to life.

Job description of a web developer.

A web developer develops the overall infrastructure for the website and writes the code necessary to put the web designers’ plans into action. They do this by sticking to the following coding pattern:

Coding for clients.

This type of coding makes your website compatible with browsers so the visitors can view your web page without any glitches or problems. It also determines the appearance of your website and makes sure that whatever your audience is seeing is exactly what the web designer wanted them to see.

Coding for server.

We can call server coding the “behind-the-scenes” of web development because it is hidden from the viewers. You can’t see this code, but it is at work on your website’s server and is responsible for your site’s functionality and smooth operation.

Coding for the Database.

Coders create a database to store everything that goes on your website in a backup folder. This folder contains text files, videos, images, documents, and a few other things that serve as an archive for your website.

This type of database coding is imperative for a website because if things go amiss, coders won’t have to start everything from scratch. They can retrieve the data from this database and reboot your website.

More about their skills.

No web developer can excel in their field if they are not skilled at the following tools:

HTML, JavaScript, CSS, etc.

These three tools and several others like them are the bread-and-butter of front-end coding. A web developer must be skilled enough to work within technical limitations to achieve the web designer’s plans, and these coding languages are how they can do so.

These tools are also used to code the complicated wireframes and layouts that clients approve before the developer builds the actual website.

See Related: What is a lightbox in web design?

Bootstrap, JQuery, React, etc.

As mentioned earlier, developing a website is not an easy feat. It takes several days, even months, to code a sequence for the smallest thing on your website. Coders must continually check their work to ensure everything goes as planned and pre-determined by the web designers and clients.

The above-mentioned tools are essential for the front-end coding of your website’s framework.

Job description of a web designer.

A web designer is someone who is involved from the beginning of the creative process. They determine the aesthetics of a website and make sure that the designs are technically compatible and realistic.

As mentioned earlier, a web designer’s work heavily relies on communication because they must work according to their client’s budget and requests. They also are responsible for ensuring that the website’s design affirms the client’s brand identity and reputation.

Web designers also help create a user-friendly website so that visitors will be inclined to stay on the page. This includes making sure that the design is not cluttered with unnecessary and unaesthetic content.

A good web designer creates a functioning prototype, which includes the initial wireframe. This way, the client can see how the actual website will behave. Prototypes include the necessary user interface and interlinked pages.

Next, web designers design any product pages, web graphics, and landing pages to help support the client’s marketing strategy.

In conclusion, web designers leverage their knowledge about design and marketing along with their artistic sense to design web pages for their clients.

More about their skills.

Many people confuse web designers with web developers because in a sense, they both do some design. However, a designer works with more than just code. They also produce graphics and other supporting visual elements.

Remember, a professional web designer does more than design the look and feel of your website. They produce prototypes after finalizing wireframes for a web developer, and they also help support the marketing goals of the website.

The work of web designers relies on design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, InVision, Inkscape, etc. to design the layouts for your website. Web design is crucial to the success of your site. Good design facilitates, while bad design hinders, the flow of information on your website.

Final word.

Web design and web development have many differences yet are both sides of the same coin. The former deals more with the planning side of the whole process, and the latter is a bit pragmatic in its operation. Furthermore, web developers are more in demand because of the difficulty level of their job, which makes it hard for business owners to hire them for small sums of money.

However, while people from both professions use different skills and tools to do their job, they’re both passionate about helping you reach your goal of having an amazing, thriving website.

To get more bang for your buck, reach out to Thrive for your website creation needs.

Thrive Design is a customer-centric web design and development agency from SeattleContact us today to find out how we can elevate your business online! Find us on Clutch, UpCityLinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Category: Web design seattle

Noah Britton

Hi, I'm Noah Britton, the founder of Thrive. I focus on understanding our client's goals and proposing solutions including branding, website design, and marketing. After 20 years in business, I've earned the grey hairs and expertise needed to knock your project out of the park.

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