The terms “web design” and “web development” sound similar enough to throw someone off from the fact that they do not mean the same thing. There are some pretty stark differences between website design vs development and they require two distinct talents and skillsets.
What Is Web Design?
Web design is the conceptual, interactive, and stylistic component of creating a website. It helps to think of a web designer as the architect of a website. Web designers don’t build the website, but rather provide a concept or “road map” for the web developers to follow when putting the site together,
This job is the creative drive behind the site. It is essentially laying out the specifics of the website’s desired appearance, which requires good intuition and understanding of what kind of navigation, colors, and presentations users will have the most optimal experience with.
The responsibilities are not that narrow either. Web design breaks down into smaller categories, with different people strongest in particular parts of the design process. These include a UX designer, UI designer, and a visual designer.
UX (User Experience) Designer
The job of a UX web designer is to come up with a page layout and presentation that is appealing to visitors, making them want to stick around. Provided with the idea of a specific audience, these designers possess the tricks of the trade to craft a website that this particular audience would enjoy working with. This web design aspect focuses mainly on the user experience while interacting with the site.
A web design agency will have multiple people who do thorough research into the needs of a website as well as the user demographics. They will also be the ones who test the prototype of the site and are additionally responsible for restructuring any components that may not be functional as intended or facelifting the layout of a site to make it more conducive to the target audience.
UI (User Interface) Designer
While the UX design involves researching and testing whether the controls and menus on a site, for example, are intuitive, clear, smooth, and if the navigation is sensible, the UI aspect focuses on the overall aesthetic feel and appearance of the site.
This will involve choosing the appropriate template, coloring scheme, displays, and an overall pleasing display that “pops,” creating a vibrant environment for the visitor to navigate around in. Much like an artist, a web designer typically keeps a portfolio of their work as proof of their skills.
The visual designer is a bit of a hybrid between the UX and the UI designer varieties. Not only does a visual designer assist in conceptualizing the site’s unique voice tone or style, but they are also able to improve the visitor’s experience while at the site using both code-based and creative skills.
What is Web Development?
To help better understand website design vs development differences, we also need to explore the other half of the coin by looking at the role of a web developer. While the web designer provides the concept and the layout of what the site should look like, the web developer will be the one who puts it together and brings it to life.
The web designer provides the creative schematic of the website to the web developer who then uses that information to create a smooth, functional, and responsive website based on the designer’s vision. While a web designer creates the blueprint for the external look of a website, the designer uses various coding languages to power the functionalities behind all of the website’s components and navigation.
Much like their web designer counterparts, there are a few different variations of a web developer.
Their job is to materialize the designer’s creative vision into reality. As part of their coding efforts, they also need to perform significant testing to make sure that all of the functions are acting appropriately. No one gets everything right one the first try, so the testing often reveals oversights, inefficiencies, and bugs that the back-end developer is responsible for addressing.
A full-stack developer is someone who knows both the back end and the front end development sides and can proficiently work at both of them. They are widely regarded as ”jacks of all trades” in the world of web development.
Which One Do You Need To Work With?
Both jobs are part of the same mission and ultimately must coexist in simpatico to bring a visually immersive, functional, and attractive website to life. Whether you need to work with a web designer or developer however, largely depends on what stage of the website building process you happen to be in.
If you are designing a layout of your new homepage, editing photos/videos, Redesigning you website or just looking to create a new website branding scheme, you are looking for help from a web designer. If your goal is something along the lines of creating a form on your site, a mobile app, or to address buggy functionality or hosting issues, or looking to move your current website to a CMS like WordPress, then you need to work with a web developer.
Whether you require a simple website or a large, far spanning, complex juggernaut that requires a massive amount of functionality and user interactive attributes, you will likely need the participation on some level from both web designers and web developers. Contacting a web design agency in such a case might be your best solution.
How Website Design vs Development are Different in Cost?
If you are hiring freelancers, you can expect $10-$50 per hour to be the running cost of a web designer, while web development freelancers typically are asking for $30-$65 per hour. If you consult a web design agency, one that employs both designers and developers, you could be looking at $65 to $100 per hour to build you a basic website. If you are looking to use the services of both, your lower-end range of expense is likely to be in the area of $6000.