Most people use the terms web design and web development interchangeably and feel they are one and the same thing. But the fact is that these are two distinctly different aspects of a website. Let’s take a look at how they differ:


Web design

The “design” part of this particular equation specifically deals with the “front end” (customer-facing) component of a website. The website designer works on how the site looks and the manner in which visitors interact with it. The designers use various design principles and programs like Adobe Photoshop, to create websites that look great and are appealing.

They have sound knowledge of web usability, and web design focuses on building a site that’s user-friendly as well. The aspect to keep in view here is that web design is far more than just making a site look pretty; the way a site looks and the pages are laid out dictate the usability of the site’s interface.


Web development

There are two different aspects to web development; the back-end development and the front-end development. While there is a certain amount of overlap in these two aspects, each has a distinct place in the overall web development process.

  • Front-end development – In this, the website’s visual design is built into the code. HTML is used in building the site’s structure while CSS dictates the layout and styles. In some instances, tools such as JavaScript are used as well.

In the case of some small sites, this is the only type of development needed and only the more complex and expansive sites require back-end development.

  • Back-end development– This deals with more advanced interactions and programming on the website pages. It has an impact on the way the site works and how certain functionality is used by visitors to get things done. Setting up the database, creating web forms, the E-commerce shopping cart and factoring in the online payment processors etc. are all part and parcel of back-end development.

Back-end web development can also be used to create new functions for the site from scratch using software packages or tools that can be leveraged to meet clients’ needs.

While some professionals are conversant with the aspects of both web design as well as web development, most web designing firms have skilled professionals to handle each of these aspects individually. These professionals work in tandem to ensure the site looks great and functions well.