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Defining the Terms: Design vs. Development

When it comes the terms “website design” and “website development” it can be hard to know the difference. In the early days of web design distinguishing between these terms was much more straightforward. But now when it comes to website building, design and development are often used interchangeably, as the roles commonly overlap. 

Still there are nuances that distinguish designers from developers. And when it comes to hiring the right company to build your website, you’ll want to know the difference. In simplest terms web designers focus on the visual and web developers’ code.  

But these days, most web designers are familiar with at least some of the basics of HTML. And most front-end web developers are able to provide a basic storyboard. So, what’s the real difference and is it reasonable to want someone who is an expert in both?  

Website Designers: 

Generally, web designers focus on aesthetics and usability. They can design a website that is visually attractive, but also optimizes the user experience (UX). Designers focus on what users see rather than on the functionality of the website itself.  

There are generally two major areas of focus for web designers: user experience (UX) and user interface (UX). User experience has to do with crafting a website optimized to meet the needs of the client’s audience. Whereas user interface focuses on the aesthetics of UX, the way visitors interact with the site’s branding.  

The web design process typically begins with identifying the client’s objectives for the site.  Then a designer will work to determine the site’s information architecture. This is the art of organizing, structuring, and labeling the site’s information in an effective way. After establishing the site’s information hierarchy, a web designer will draw up a wireframe and begin the design phase.  

While web design is all about aesthetic, these days most web designers are somewhat familiar with HTML. And those that aren’t use Content Management Systems (CMS) that don’t require much coding. But while web designers are experts of the visual aspects of a website there are benefits to having a web developer build the site. 

Website Developers: Blue HTML Coding Symbols

A wed developer can take a web designer’s work, break it into components and use code to build it. Most web developers understand the complexities of coding languages like HTML and PHP. And they focus on the backend structure and functionality to the site. Professional web developers often use CMS platforms like WordPress and Joomla, because it streamlines the process and allows clients to update and maintain their site.  

There are two main areas of web development: front-end development and back-end development. Front-end, or client-side development has to do with using code to build parts of the site that users see and interact with. Back-end development is the stuff that generally isn’t seen by users. It involves building the site’s core structure and coding on web servers and databases  

The Combo: 

These days it’s not uncommon to find hybrid web developers and web designer. Many designers make it a career goal to learn coding and many front-end developers are able to pick-up design skills. Professionals who have both design and development skills are equipped to build coherent, functional websites that create a great user experience.  

At GovUnity, our team consists of those rare hybrid professionals that have expertise in both areas of website building. We have designed and developed websites for many satisfied customers. Contact us to learn more.  

In response to COVID 19 we are offering website design and hosting services to communities without a web presence as part of a $70/month 3-year contract. This offer is valid now through December 31st