Web Design vs Web Development: Main Differences

Web design and web development are both essential processes for building websites and mobile applications. Even though these occupations sound similar, a web designer and a web developer require completely different skill sets that must be combined to create visually appealing and functional websites.

In collaboration with one of the best Jacksonville, FL, web design companies, we will provide you with everything you need to know about web design and web development.

So let’s start! 

Web Design vs Web Development

Web Design vs Web Development

Web design focuses on the visual and usability aspects of a website, such as layouts, images, color schemes, readability, navigation, responsiveness, etc. On the other hand, web development involves writing code to create a functional website. 

For instance, a web designer will create an eye-catching call-to-action (CTA) button, but a web developer will ensure that this button performs its function when a user clicks on it. For a deeper understanding of both web creation processes and their differences, let’s examine the roles of a web designer and a web developer in more detail. 

What Does a Web Designer Do?

A web designer is responsible for creating the overall look and feel of a website. Web designers may specialize in user experience (UX) or user interface (UI) design, or both. In the following paragraphs, you’ll learn what the responsibilities of UX and UI web designers are.

UX Web Designers  

UX web designers ensure that a website is user-friendly and engaging. More specifically, they will perform the following tasks:

  • Collaborate with clients and gather information about their requirements.
  • Create user personas, user journeys, and site maps.
  • Translate concepts into wireframes and prototypes.
  • Work on cross-platform apps for developing UX for all screen sizes (mobile, tablet, PC).
  • Test website usability.
  • Keep up with the latest UX trends in web design.
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UI Web Designers

UI designers create an intuitive interface that dictates how the users navigate the website from point A to point B. They are responsible for designing the following four aspects of a website:

  1. Input controls, which are interactive website elements like checkboxes, text fields, dropdown lists, etc.
  2. Navigational elements, which include search fields, sliders, menus, etc. These elements aim to help the users navigate a website, find the information they want and complete the desired action. 
  3. Informational components, which communicate useful information to the users via message boxes, notifications, progress bars, etc.
  4. Containers, which serve to group content into meaningful sections and display multiple subjects and functions on screen.  

UX and UI web design always go hand in hand. Even though they concentrate on different aspects of web design, they share the same goal of designing a website that is intuitive, easy to use, and visually pleasing.

Web Designer Skill Set

Generally speaking, a web designer needs to possess the following skills:

  • Understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Prototyping and creating unique designs
  • Ability to optimize designs for accessibility, scalability, and responsiveness
  • Mapping user journey
  • Branding and typography
  • Knowledge of various design tools

What Does a Web Developer Do?

A web developer’s essential role is to build the core structure of a website. Unlike web designers, web developers must know their way around complex coding and advanced programming languages.  

More specifically, a web developer’s role includes the following:

  • Coding and configuring the server and databases.
  • Incorporating user-facing features and functionality.
  • Testing and debugging.
  • Providing post-launch services (ongoing support, maintenance, etc.)

 The three types of web developers are:

  1. Front-end developers
  2. Back-end developers
  3. Full-stack developers

Front-End Developers

Essentially, front-end developers bring web design concepts to life, making every element of the website functional. They:      

  • Write and test HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code.
  • Create interactive elements, such as menus, buttons, and forms.
  • Optimize the website design for mobile devices.
  • Test and troubleshoot front-end designs.
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Back-End Developers

Back-end developers are responsible for all the aspects of a website that users don’t see. Their day-to-day tasks include the following:

  • Building and maintaining websites using various tools, frameworks, and languages.
  • Writing high-quality code for sustainable web applications.
  • Performing quality assurance (QA) testing.
  • Assessing efficiency and speed upon website’s completion.
  • Troubleshooting and debugging.
  • Designing and developing data structures and databases
  • Exploring new technologies and tools to make the website more efficient and secure.

Full-Stack Developers

Full-stack developers possess all skills required for both front and back-end development. Because of their wide knowledge, full-stack developers are always in demand.

Web Developer Skill Set

A full-stack web developer requires the following skillset:

  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and other programming languages.
  • Ability to write clean, organized code
  • Understanding of web architecture
  • Proficiency in server-side scripting
  • Expertise in problem-solving and debugging
  • Experience with content management systems (CMS) and web frameworks
  • Familiarity with web hosting and databases

Pros And Cons of Being a Web Designer

If you are thinking of becoming a web designer, here are some pros and cons that come with this job title:

Pros:

  • Expressing your creative side 
  • Competitive salary (an average of $63,000 per year in the U.S)
  • Not being attached to one specific industry
  • Many employment opportunities

Cons:

  • Potentially long working hours
  • Desk-bounded job
  • A constant need to track ever-changing trends in web design
  • Occasional work on monotonous projects

Pros And Cons of Being a Web Developer

Working in web development also comes with its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros: 

  • An average salary of around $80,000 in the U.S. per year, with the possibility of an income increase as you gain more skills and experience.
  • Many employment opportunities.
  • Various niches to choose from.

Cons:

  • Requires learning coding languages.
  • Heavy workload.
  • A high-pressure environment with possible tight deadlines.
  • Never-ending learning process.
  • Desk-bounded job.

The employment of web developers and digital designers is expected to grow by 13% from 2020 to 2030, which is a much higher increase than in any other occupation. 

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So, choosing one of these two career paths can really pay off if you are committed to constant learning and developing new skills. 

Key Takeaways

Web design focuses on the visual aspect of a website and ensures a good User Experience and intuitive User Interface. On the other hand, web development concentrates on website functionality and its core structure. We hope we have helped you understand the difference between web design and web development and provided you with useful information on each of their roles in the web creation process.

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