Web Design vs Development: What's the Difference?

Web Design vs Development: What’s the difference?

By Purplebox Digital


Web design and web development are very closely related and go hand in hand – but do you know the difference between the two?

Many people often get confused by the terms and use them interchangeably when in fact there is a clear difference. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the terms describe two different aspects of the web building process and require different skills for each stage. So how do you know if you need a designer, developer or both? Let’s have a look.

Web Design – All Just Colours?

Web Design

We start off with the web design stage. As the name suggests this is to do with the design of the website itself that includes the style, colour scheme, usability and content.

As this is the first stage in the process it’s important the web designer understands what the client wants from the website. Once they have a general idea of what they want the website to be used for and what they want included they can begin to plan it. Obviously not all designs are perfect on the first draft but it gives the designers something to work with and show clients before they commit to building it.

What a Web Designer Does

There are several things web designers will think about before designing a website. Colours are a major part of a website and can help with brand recognition and trigger many emotions. Making sure colours go nicely with each other and that they match the content and theme of the website is vital. If you were a flower shop that needed a website you wouldn’t pick a black and grey colour scheme. Dark colours can produce negative emotions and visitors could view your website as unpleasant and dull. Instead you would opt for a much brighter range of colours which links in well with the business.

Designers will also have to think about the navigation and the user interface of the website. Should some pages be more accessible to users and be placed in areas that make them stand out more? This would be a good idea for important pages you really want visitors to click on like a button to sign up to your mailing list or your contact information. By arranging the navigation menu in a certain order and highlighting important call to action buttons you can help influence visitors decisions. This might mean getting them to sign up to your mailing list, follow your social media accounts or buy your product.

These are just some of the questions the web designer will have to think about and answer before they even start designing. Once the design has been finished and the client is happy, it’s time to go to step two.

Web Development – Code, Brackets and Coffee

Web Development

If web design is all about planning the website then the second step in the process is building it. Web developers, also referred to as programmers, coders or developers help take the design and turn it into a fully functional website.

Web developers use a variety of programming languages and wizardry to make the website come to life. Some websites have to be completely built from scratch if they are required for a unique purpose. This gives web developers ultimate flexibility and their only limit is their coding skills. Depending on the size and scale of the website will also depend on the price and timeframe. Big business websites like Microsoft and Amazon weren’t built in a day or by one person.

Some websites on the other hand can be tweaked to fit a content management system (CMS) such as the popular WordPress or Joomla. This process is often a lot quicker (and therefore cheaper!) than building a website from the ground up. The plus side to this is once the website has been created it can be easily updated using the CMS which makes maintaining it much easier.

On Going Web Development

Designer developer difference

If for whatever reason in the future the website breaks or you need changes making, the web developer will be able to help. Just because the website has been built doesn’t mean you should get rid of them. If you’re not very computer savvy then having a programmer you can contact if things break is vital as a broken website loses business and sales. Making sure you website is running spick and span should be your number one priority.

We hope this has explained the major differences between web designers and web developers. Both play an important part in building the website and help each other to create the website of your dreams. Here at Purplebox Digital, we have an onsite team of both web designers and web developers eagerly awaiting to bring your website to life. If you need a new website for your business or project then be sure to contact us below to see what services we can offer.

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