Poet's Feather

Website Design vs. Development: Understanding the Differences

Unravel the distinctions between web design and development in website creation. This insightful piece aids in discerning which service aligns with your business objectives.

What are the differences between web design and web development?

Web designers and web developers both help create and build websites, but there are some fundamental differences. Would you like to learn more? 

Website being  designed.

If you need a website for your business or organization, it helps to understand those differences. That way, you can make an informed decision about which service (or services!) is best for your company’s goals. 

With that in mind, keep reading for an easy-understand introduction to the differences between website design and website development. 

What is web design? 

Website design refers to how a website looks and functions. This includes the color scheme, layout, imagery, navigation, and everything else related to visual aesthetics.

When you team up with a website designer or website design company, here are some of the deliverables you can expect:

  • Overall graphic design of the website
  • Website layout and formatting
  • Logo design and overall branding

Web designers are experts at using design software (such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) to create visually appealing websites.

Nowadays, many website designers are also familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Those skills certainly aren’t required, though — it’s entirely possible to create a website without writing any code.

However, if you want a feature-rich website, it's time to call in the developers.

What is web development?

Website development refers to all of the code that makes a website function. In essence, web developers take a website design and turn it into a fully functioning site. 

In a way, web development is like the engine of a car. You can’t always see it, but you know it’s there making sure everything runs smoothly. 

There are two types of website developers: front-end and backend.

Front-end development requires knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. HTML dictates the basic structure of a website, which is then supercharged through technologies that control the appearance (like CSS) or the behavior (JavaScript).

If you think this sounds somewhat familiar to a web designer, you’d be correct. Both web design and development utilize these basic technologies. Like website design, front-end development is also responsible for how a website will look on your screen.

Backend development can be a bit trickier to understand, but most people don’t need to worry about the specifics. At Codepoet, we simply like to think of backend development as everything that happens behind the scenes.

It’s the mechanism that takes a static design and brings it to life with things like content sliders, perfectly placed calls-to-action, mobile responsive design, and more. 

Learn to Code With Me also has a helpful definition of backend development: “It’s code that connects the web to a database, manages user connections, and powers the web application itself. Backend development works in tandem with the front end to deliver the final product to the end user.”

Do I need website design or website development?

Now that you understand the key differences between web design and web development, let’s talk about how to determine what you need.

First, ask yourself, “What do I need my website to do?” 

If you need a simple site without many features, a website designer could do the trick. If you need a more interactive, data-driven site that’s packed with content, you’ll need a team with design and development skills.

Either way, it’s always best to talk to the professionals. A professional website design and development team can help you figure out exactly what you need (and, perhaps more importantly, what you don’t need).

At Codepoet, we’re experts in both website design and development. If your business or organization needs a custom website, don’t hesitate to get in touch using this contact form. We’ll work together to create a website that looks great and functions perfectly.