An Overview of Web Design and Web Development
Beginners in web-related subjects are prone to confuse certain terms pretty easily. To give one typical example, there’s the lingering temptation to treat web design and web development as synonymous.
But are web development and web design the same? The short answer is that they’re not the same. To further elaborate, these would be the main distinctions between the two:
- Web design primarily focuses on a website’s visual and functional components, as seen from a more superficial vantage point (called the “front end”). It defines how a site’s graphical elements are structured and cohere with one another.
- On the flip side, web development involves the use of complex coding languages that provide the framework and parameters by which a website will operate. In other words, it relates to how a website is built “behind closed doors” – hence named the “back end.”
To illustrate, imagine a call-to-action button. From a web designer’s perspective, the button is created with a distinct layout, texture, color, and animation (when clicked or hovered over). From a web development viewpoint, this same button is given a set of different parameters, commands, and scripts that are triggered depending on the user’s actions.
Can a Web Designer Also be a Web Developer (and Vice Versa)?
The concepts of web design and web development don’t exist in a vacuum. They complement one another and, in a sense, are seen as co-dependent.
However, web designers and developers go through wholly different learning processes. Not every web designer is a web developer, and not every web developer is a web designer, though some professionals are capable of mastering both disciplines.
In line with the distinctions delineated above, the web designer is concerned with the aesthetic elements and how to make a visually striking website that enhances usability and “user experience” (UX) as they toy with color palettes and interfaces. To fulfill these tasks, they utilize various applications, such as:
- Adobe Dreamweaver
- Visual Studio Code
A web developer centers on providing functionality to a website following the standards set forth by the web designer. To achieve this, they rely on software languages such as (to name a few):
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
Web Maintenance. Who Should Do It?
Web maintenance is just as much a joint effort as web creation, though developers are generally busier in terms of maintenance jobs.
Web designers are entrusted with redesigning websites to boost online presence by adopting new design philosophies and guidelines. Content updates and pricing schemes may also need revisiting from time to time, though these tasks can often be carried out by a developer.
For their part, web developers must (among other things):
- Make sure that the website’s functionality matches its new design.
- Ensure compatibility with browsers and similar applications
- Deal with other technical affairs such as hacks, security patches, user management, performance monitoring, plugin updates, SSL certificate expiration, and many others.
For these reasons, the job of a developer is said to never end, as new challenges are almost guaranteed to emerge at an awfully fast pace.