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Difference Between Web Design and Web Development

  • Rating — 5 (18 votes)
  • by Elena
  • Updated on December 30, 2019
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    4-5 minutes
he difference between web design and web development

What is the difference between website design and website development? This is one of the most frequent question asked by tech newbies on such platforms as Quora, or simply in Google search.

The general answer to this question is designers create a design (appearance) of website or application while developers write a code (program) making everything actually work.

What is the difference between web design and web development?

difference between web design and development

What is Web Design?

Some consider web design as creating the appearance of a web page or an app screen. At a first glance, web designer is more concentrated on everything users actually see on their screens and less on the mechanism of making it actually work.

In fact, this is only a small part of the process standing behind the page “look”. Web design requires multiple skills and might include such disciplines as graphic design, interface design, UI and UX.

In other words, production of a website is not dependent only on a beautiful appearance.

What do web designers actually do?

Though web designers don’t mess up with back-end development, they still care about functionality.

By the way, UX, mentioned above, stands for user experience. UX design on its part is a process of enhancing the user experience, usability, accessibility and increasing the satisfaction while using the product as a result.

For example, working on UX means designer creates the convenient navigation, website structure and labeling. Making websites understandable, accessible and fine-looking at the same time is not that easy.

Original design – good design?

There is a myth, that designs must be original. But originality does not always mean that design would be understood properly. There are already exist settled UX rules that not worth changing. If you are not 100% sure that you innovative vision would be welcomed, better don’t implement it in your work.

What are the stages of creating a web design?

Now let’s study the steps of making a website design. As an artist, web designer begins the process with making sketches. They might be either hand-drawn or digitalized in any graphics editor. First sketches give you the general understanding of what elements are planned to be placed on each page.

When the general conception is determined, it’s time to detail each page. Generally, the websites we create have numerous pages and multiple functions, that are all connected with each other. Therefore, the next step is creating wireframes based on the preliminary sketches.

Wireframes give the more accurate visualization of the page layout. Moreover, they are the skeleton for the whole project, describing the functionality, content layout and interconnections between pages and elements.

The final step of design is adding colors, content, typography, animations and other fancy features that will make your website outstanding. Voilà!

what is the difference between web development and web design

What is Web Development?

How would we explain our grannies the “web development” term?

Web development is a broad term. It means the creation of any websites and web applications working all across the Internet. Both making the simple web page with plain text or building a multifunctional web application is web development.

Front-End, Back-End, Full-Stack – What’s the difference?

Since the web became more complicated and complex over time, developers are now more strictly specialized that they ever were before.

Generally, there are two types of programmers: front-end and back-end developers. But there also exist web “unicorns” who are called full-stack developers. What is the difference?

Front-end developer is responsible for the visible part of a website that user interacts with. The typical programming languages used in front-end development are HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) – is a core of the website as it is responsible for content and structure.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – controls how the HTML will look on the page. Using CSS developers add colors, fonts, backgrounds, and correct the content layout.

JavaScript or how it’s often called JS – makes the content interactive. This language is used both for website development and for video games production.

Back-end developer is responsible for the “dark side” of the web page, that users don’t see. Since back-end developers usually work with such frameworks as Node.JS, Angular.JS, YII2 and such programming languages as PHP, Ruby or any other. Because of such in-depth specialization, such programmers are not called “back-end developers”, rather according to knowledge in programming languages they possess. For example: PHP developer, Ruby developer, etc. 

Being concentrated on one or two technologies at the same time, you would more likely find a PHP-developer rather than a back-end one. In other words, developers have to choose specialization, just like doctors do. Fortunately, it’s still pretty easy for developers to get additional inter-disciplinary knowledge and communicate with each other, even if they have different skill-sets.  

Nevertheless, working for years in the industry and getting more experienced in both front and back end, it’s possible to become a full-stack developer. Usually, such specialists are able to code the website from scratch by themselves. But when it comes to complex solutions such as building a web application or a platform, it’s better to hire more specialized both back-end and front-end developers.


Since the web landscape is constantly changing, the roles of web designers and developers become blurred sometimes. Many designers understand the basic concepts of HTML or CSS, as well as developers, discovering design principles when coding websites. Nevertheless, we in GBKSOFT, always provide our clients with dedicated teams of skilled professionals.

Want to develop your own website or mobile app?

Elena Elena is the business analyst passionate about everything connected with startups, business ideas, and analytics. She’s aiming to find the solution for every challenge, young companies meet on their way.

Comments (2)

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Ronit Mishra
Apr 03, 2018 at 1:40 PM

Sometimes I used to think that web design is what you see and web development is what you feel. But with your info, I am clear with the differentiation. Thanks a lot.

Feb 12, 2018 at 7:48 PM

Hi Elena, this is a good post. I would add one point. In one you say design does not have to be original. I agree completely, but would go a little further and say that design is better if it is consistent with other designs that people will run into on the web as this makes it easier for them to navigate the site.


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