Web Design & Development

The Difference Between Web Design and Development

These days, it seems everyone you meet is either a web designer or web developer. This comes as no surprise since one study estimates there are around 21 million web developers worldwide.

It’s harder to pin down the exact number of web designers, probably because their job description is even vaguer. After all, web design and development are basically the same things, right?

Not exactly. Although some of their work may overlap, the truth is that designers and developers work on two very different aspects of a website.

Here’s a breakdown of the similarities and differences between web design and development.

Defining Web Design and Development

Web design refers to a broad set of skills, the main one being visual design.

A web designer is mainly concerned with how a website looks. This involves both the aesthetic elements of the site and also how users interact with it. Because of this, they’re also known as “experience” or “UI designers.”

There are two categories of web development: front-end and back-end.

Front-end development takes the visual elements of the site and builds it in code. Developers do this in HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. Backend development involves advanced programming and complex interactions between web pages.

Now that we’ve defined the difference, let’s look at each job description in more detail.

What Does a Web Designer Do?

Web designers transform an idea into a visually appealing design. This design is then interwoven throughout the website to give it a certain look and feel.

Imagine it this way. An architect must design a blueprint of a house before construction begins. Similarly, a web designer must create a website’s layout before a developer can build it.

Web designers seek to create the best possible user experience. They know that the first 10 seconds are critical to capturing attention and convincing visitors to stay longer.

Here are some of the main tools and roles of a web designer:

  • Skilled in graphic and logo design
  • Knowledgeable about branding, color use, and typography
  • Proficient in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and/or Sketch
  • Focus mainly on layout, imagery, buttons, and overall format

What Does a Web Developer Do?

Web developers take the work of the web designer and use it to create the actual website.

Front-end developers use a variety of software tools to build the backbone of the website. Rather than focusing on visual aspects, their goal is to create clean code that will result in technically sound websites.

Back-end developers focus on how a site works and how it functions for the customer. They develop and write code for features such as online shopping carts or account creation forms.

Here are some of the main tools and roles of a web developer:

  • Skilled in reading, writing, and creating code
  • Building the interface using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS
  • Submitting all required data on the server and databases
  • Also knowledgeable in backend languages such as PHP and MySQL

Final Thoughts

There are some individuals who can claim to be proficient in both web design and development. Most web experts, though, specialize in one field or the other.

If you’re seeking a skilled designer or developer, we invite you to learn more about us and the professional services we offer.


  • Reply

    […] one requires a web or visual designer if you decide to go the video route. But, it’s a fun way to get people talking and sharing […]

  • sitesazan

    18 November, 2017 8:43

    I was in the search for web design trends 2017 and I found this article perfect! Thank you for sharing the information.

  • website development

    18 November, 2017 11:00

    This website will really help everyone in providing the tools and information necessary for the people to develop and improve their website.

  • Lucy Smith

    20 December, 2017 4:10

    Very well written article and purely understood. Keep sharing.

  • Atul khandelwal

    28 December, 2017 10:16

    Completly agree with you, Nowadays people with less knowledge are claiming they are expert but the truth is that they are not. As it really needs knowledge and creativity to develop a good attractive website.

  • Sazan

    17 March, 2018 7:28

    I think every professional website design team should have a professional graphic designer to create attractive designs, and web developers convert it to codes as the best ways.

  • Drell Torres

    7 May, 2018 10:18

    Hopefully, this article will help clear up the common misconception that design and development are one in the same. Thank you for sharing this article!

  • Joy Butler

    14 May, 2018 10:23

    I appreciate you helping me learn more about the difference between a web design and web development. In my opinion, they are really different but with one purpose. And it is to upgrade or elevate the marketing aspect of one’s business.

  • Connor Avery

    30 July, 2018 4:22

    Fabulous ways and different thoughts thank you for sharing it

  • John D

    2 August, 2018 5:52

    I agree with you author. a very nice blog. I think every professional website design team should have a professional graphic designer to create attractive designs, and web developers convert it to codes as the best ways. You are provided a very good article. Thank you.

  • Aldrin

    5 August, 2018 9:10

    I totally agree with you on this one. Everyone should at least know this one so that they won’t get confused on what their roles are. Knowing the difference of a web designer from a web developer is very important for someone who works on the same industry.

  • MLA Web Designs

    29 August, 2019 4:45

    web design refers to both the aesthetic portion of the website and it’s usability. … Web Developers on the other hand, take a website design and actually make a functioning website from it. Web developers use HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and other programming languages to bring to life the design files.

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