Web Design vs Web Development: What’s the Difference?

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You’ve probably heard the terms web design and web development (or web designer and web developer) tossed around interchangeably. The truth is, they are two (2) completely different components of a website – and typically two (2) different roles. Not all web designers are developers, and not all web developers are designers.

Here at The SM Collective, I’m skilled in web design AND web development so I do wear both hats. This allows me to elevate the client experience, providing a streamlined and complete website experience. Both web design and web development are essential in their own right and we’re here to break down their differences.

What is web design?

Web design focuses on designing the layout of each page of a website. Web design also focuses on the flow of the website as a whole, anticipating how a user will navigate through and between each page. Web designers must keep UX (user experience) in mind throughout the entire web design process because after all, a website should be more than just beautiful.

What is web development?

Web development focuses on bringing web design to life through code, typically using CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, to name a few. Coding a website takes it from a blah, standard website template to a truly customized website. Web designers must also keep UX (user experience) in mind, ensuring the website functions properly and that the design is responsive across all devices and screen sizes.

What does a web designer do?

Web designers are the ones who create the visual layout of the website. They focus on what users see when they land on the website – the layout, images, call-to-action-buttons, etc. A good web designer also ensures the design of the website is in line with the companies brand style guide. There are a few different types of web designer roles…

UI Designer

A UI designer specializes in the visual elements of the site, essentially the pretty stuff. They ensure the website is attractive and on-brand, and also anticipate a user’s natural flow through the website to ensure the layout is smooth and seamless from a navigation standpoint.

UX Designer

A UX designer specializes in the user experience, ensuring the website design is engaging and keeps visitors on the site as long as possible (which benefits SEO).

UI/UX or Visual Designer

This combines the responsibilities of a UI designer and UX designer, making them the jack of all trades (hint: that’s us!). They are skilled at not only creating a visually appealing website but one that is easy to use from the user’s perspective.

What does a web developer do?

Web developers are the ones that take the design and make it real, bringing the design to life through code. Web developers also ensure a website is responsive so that no matter the device or screen size, a user will have a seamless experience with the website. There are a few different types of web developer roles…

Front-End Developer

Front-end developers focus mainly on the visual elements of a website that a user sees. They use CSS, HTML, and JavaScript code to bring web design to life.

Back-End Developer

A back-end developer has an even deeper understanding of the world of website code, handling the behind-the-scenes components of a website. They also use code – Python and JavaScript, to name a few – and ensure a seamless connection between the back-end of the website and the front-end visual components.

Full-Stack Developer

A full-stack developer is knowledgeable in all aspects of websites (and really, really smart). They can develop both client-facing and server software and are experts in every type of website code. Full-stack developers are skilled in both front-end and back-end development as well.

Why are web design and web development important?

Your website is the digital home for your business and brand. On the web design side, you want your website to be visually appealing and easy to navigate. You want people to feel something when they land on their website and be pulled in. On the web development side, you want your website to be unique while staying on brand. You want to ensure all components of the website are talking to each other seamlessly and that your site experience is top-notch no matter what device or screen size a website visitor is using.

Here at The SM Collective, we wear both the web design and web development hats. This allows us to elevate our client experience, providing a streamlined and complete website experience.

Are you ready to elevate your brand and amplify your visibility online? We’re here to bring your brand to life – through Squarespace web design and web development of course! We can’t wait to collaborate with you!

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Hey there, I'm Stepf—Google Superfan & Passionate Educator

And the showit website designer and seo strategist you’ve been looking for

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