Design and development play a common role in building functioning features for a website, but while they may seem similar, these roles require different skill sets. That’s the key difference between web development and web design.
In understanding the different skills needed for these two stages, you can adequately address modifications and additions during each process.
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Here are the key differences between Web Design and Web Development:
Web design is how most people generally categorize any aspect related with creating a website. When websites were simple and consisted of standard text blocks, and a few images, categorizing it all as web design made sense. However, in 2022 there is so much more involved in creating a functioning website. Today web design can be defined as creating the visual aesthetic - design systems, color, layouts, how the information is presented, and the user experience of a website which is based on efficiency and usability.
Web designers are tasked with the overall vision and outcome of a website, but this also involves user experience and user interface design. It’s more about what users are seeing as they enter your website, and the designer's job is to ensure that the design is friendly, easily usable, and visually appealing.
Web development is entirely different from the design aspect, you can think of it as the technical side of creating a website. Web developers are responsible for building out the functionality aspect and turning the designs into a usable website with either frontend or backend coding languages. The developer's role is essentially taking the design systems or visual assets created by the web designers and implementing them into the site. While a technical role, the web development process of a website is what brings the site to life in a sense, from the clickable features to the SEO, it just doesn’t work without code. Web developers also need to consider the best UX/UI practices when developing to decide the optimal technology necessary for the users.
There are technically two kinds of web developers, frontend developers, and backend developers. Frontend web developers are in charge of translating and implementing the mockups created by the designers into fully functional designs, such as activating visual assets like buttons, scroll bars, etc. Within the frontend development, it can be highly beneficial for the developers to understand the best UX/UI practices as mentioned above. Developing with the knowledge of UX/UI principles, allows them to enable and optimize these same ideals as they are building the site through the development process. You wouldn’t want a developer that just mechanically builds a website without considering how the functioning outcome feels to users, or else you could have numerous problems with the UX/UI of your website.
Backend web development on the other hand focuses on the codes, web applications, logic, and data. Customers don’t necessarily see their work up front, but all the moving parts that bring the website to life can be credited to a lot of what the backend developers work on. Programming like Python and Java, using servers such as Linux and Express, and an extensive understanding of how all these languages work and be applied to a website in development.
Some web developers will know both the frontend and backend development processes, also referred to as full-stack developers.
Web design and web development are equally important you can’t have a well-functioning website without investing in both stages. If you really take a look at some of your favorite websites you’ll notice how crucial it is to pay attention to every step and detail that goes into a website. From how the website is visually presented at first glance to your interaction throughout the site, what aspects are properly functioning for users has a lot to do with the development process, however, the user notices the buttons to get there in the first place are what the designer brings to the table. Web design and development are all about working together, and knowing when to delegate tasks to each role is essential and useful knowledge when creating a website.
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