What’s the difference between Web Design & Web Development?

What's the difference between Web Design & Web Development?

Many people use the terms “web design” and “web development” interchangeably, but they are really two very different things.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what the differences are between web design and web development, and why small businesses needs to understand the differences.

Web Design

The web design process is the process of creating the look and feel of a website. These include things like choosing the right colour, fonts, images, and layout for your site.

A web designer’s job is to create a visually appealing website that’s easy to use and navigate.

Different types of web designers There are many different web designers that you can choose from when it comes to web design. Some product designers focus on the user interface of a website. User Interface (UI) designers are responsible for ensuring that websites are easy to use and navigate. With UX in mind, designers create the user experience of a website. User Experience designers are responsible for making sure that the website is easy to use and pleasant to interact with.

Web Development

Web Development is the process of creating a web page that’s coded or programmed.

A web developer takes a web designer’s mockup, turns it into a functioning web site and then makes the necessary updates to keep your site current. They know how to write code, understand HTML structures and then use it to make your website function properly.

There are three main types of web developers. They are front end, back end, and full stack web developers. A front-end developer is responsible for building the user interface and interactivity of web and mobile apps, as well as creating the graphics and content used to build them. They use HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other programming languages to create visual components like menus, buttons, forms, and other content that users see and interact with. Software engineers in the back end write the code that runs on the servers and creates everything you see on a site, such as web pages, photos, videos, etc.

Web developers use programming languages like PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Python to build features like user authentication, database interactions, and email functionality. Full-stack developers have a mix of both front end and back end skills, but they’re most known for their ability to code, test and deploy apps. They can build a website or an application from scratch or use an existing framework.

Why the difference is important for small business owners

Small business owners should understand the difference between web design and web development because the scope of work required for each can vary greatly, and your investment could also vary greatly.

A basic website may just need basic coding, while a more complex website or application may require more advanced coding. It may also take longer to develop. Be aware of what your needs are before you start your project, and make sure you have all the information you need to make smart financial decisions.

Small business owners who are just starting out should realise that a well-designed and well-functioning website is essential to their success. You must have a positive first impression of your company on your website or your potential customers will not give it a chance. Just because a web page is coded well doesn’t mean it looks nice. A well-coded website might not look very impressive, but it will be able to do everything it’s supposed to do.

Why Wordpress templates are a bad idea

Web Developers who are starting out typically use pre-made templates from online marketplaces like Themeforest.  Whilst these always look great in the demos, when you start trying to add client content to them, it’s like fitting square pegs in round holes.

The templates are often rigid and you must replace their content as laid out in the design with your content, which can be a challenge and the end results looks a fair way from the demo.

Secondly when you use these, you’re at the whim of the theme developer.  If they release frequent updates including security fixes, you should keep up to date.  If those releases also include changes, they could break your website which happened with a recent update from WOffice and the comments are flooded with complaints,

And on the flip side if the them developer goes AWOL then the theme on your website becomes somewhat of a risk given that it won’t be updated inline with more recent WordPress or PHP updates, and they may not be fixing security holes.

If you’re using WordPress, we recommend picking a mainstream lightweight theme that is solidly maintained, and build functionality on top of it.

Ideally your website should be built around your content, which is why we gather website content first, then create a unique custom design around this content.

How Page Builders can make Web Designers think they’re Web Developers

Today, there are a lot of website themes and page builders that let you make your own website.

And we love some of these particularly Beaver Builder. In simple terms, Google reads the HTML code on your site and creates a list of the pages on your site. Headings in HTML help the search engines determine what is important and what is not as they search your site for keywords and phrases. The H1 and H2 headers are the most important. You need to have the most prominent text in the title.

The issue we’ve seen recently is where sites have been built, and they look great to the eye but it’s the underlying HTML structure that’s not quite right. We’ve noticed a number of sites that contain no H1 or H2 tags at all. This will hurt these sites in terms of SEO.

On the flip side, we’ve also seen “web designers” using page builders and selecting H1 tags for text that are not really supposed to be H1.

For example here we have H5 and H2 tags before the H1.  The first H5 tag should really be an H1 tag as it has the brand name, and the H1 tag should really be maybe an H3 tag.

So what the designer has done is use Heading tags to display text in the associated size , so they wanted a smaller “Welcome to wild soughdough” font, so they used H5.  Instead they should have set this to H1, and applied a font size attribute to reduce the physical size.

Ideally your Header structure should resemble something more structured like this.

If you’re not sure whether you need a web designer or a web developer for your next project, feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help you figure out what you need.

We specialise in helping small businesses create beautiful and effective websites, so we’re always happy to chat with you about your business’ specific website needs.

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