Web Design vs. Web Development

Often, web designer and web developer are easily interchangeable terms in media and advertising. But in fact, they are two different specializations, especially in virtual teams.

The design includes everything that the visitor sees on the site, while the web development is solely responsible for the functional part of the site. In this article, I will try to find the differences between web design and web development.


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So, the website consists of these important aspects:

  • Visually responsive – this is mostly graphics, site color scheme, navigation, etc.
  • Site content — information, the product itself, as well as everything else available on the site.
  • Functionality — consists of interactive functionality available to website visitors, as well as the infrastructure necessary to implement the functionality.
  • Usability — a view of the site through the eyes of the visitor. Includes software interaction, navigation, and website usefulness criteria.


This is what the website looks like. The designer decides what colors and fonts will be used on the site, and how to place each page there. The designer has a good sense of form and composition, can successfully combine colors and images to give the site the appearance desired by the client.


The content is all the data published on the site. These can be texts of a different nature – from the privacy policy to very convincing statements about the benefits of the product, encouraging you to spend hard-earned money, etc., as well as images, videos, documents, etc. To get really high quality content, you will need a writer or editor.


The functionality includes all the interactive aspects of the website, it can also be animation. In general, this process can be described as follows: programmers create a functional part of the site, using different programming languages ​​for web servers and browsers.

For animation graphics, you can use Flash technology. To create dynamic pages and high-quality web servers, use popular programming languages ​​such as PHP, JavaScript or Python. These pages can work independently, but more often they are linked to databases, which provide the necessary functions on the web page.

There are also so-called CMS systems, which are not visible to site visitors. These can be programs that edit the programming part and the content, as well as other tools that allow people unfamiliar with programming languages ​​to manage the content of the site.


Usability is a view of the site through the eyes of a visitor. You must visit the site by answering the following questions:

  • How well do the graphics create the right impression?
  • Is the navigation convenient?
  • Does the navigation guide the visitor to the right page?
  • What is the loading speed of the site?
  • Are the apps working well?

Design vs Development

Unfortunately, web design and web programming are often linked. And when you’re torn between content creation and usability testing, it doesn’t bring any good results.

Can one person handle all these tasks? Sure, there are people who are able to do this, but most web professionals only do one thing.

Most often, web design includes the process of creating content and graphics, while web development is responsible for the functional part and usability. Good web designers should have a professional grasp of graphic design tools such as Photoshop. Many are also familiar with HTML, which helps them create a functional website based on their design. However, the use of animation on the site, as well as the localization of content are also part of the web designer’s job.

Many site owners provide content to the web designer. In turn, the web designer should be able to modify or even rewrite the content if necessary. Also, web designers often test the website navigation and its download speed based on usability.

Web developers create site functionality, but it must be integrated into the layout. As an alternative, the layout itself can also be integrated into the programming part. Programmers also test usability, at least they test the functionality they create. It follows that the web developer must also understand the layout.

Either way, the web designer and web developer should work together to ensure that the website looks exactly the same and works exactly the way the client wants it to.

In conclusion, I can say that only large companies can afford to hire individual experts in web design, content, programming and usability. But more often than not, the web designer and the web programmer are two different professionals working together to create a successful product.


James S. Joseph