What’s the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

Many people and the media tend to treat “web design” and “web development” as interchangeable phrases when actually they are interdependent processes. Some generalize by saying a “web designer” is concerned with how the website LOOKS while a “web developer” is focused on what the website DOES, but even that’s an oversimplification:

HOW A WEBSITE LOOKS is a function of aesthetics and accessibility. Stated another way, how a website looks depends on both how it was designed and how it is delivered. The web designer’s responsibilities in this regard typically include the creation, selection or assimilation of color palettes, backgrounds, foregrounds, gradients, overlays, fonts, copy, imagery, screen layout, and that all-important intangible “look and feel”. The web developer’s contributions include the website template, architecture, navigation, user agent access and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Semantic Web (Web 3.0), WAI/WCAG/Section 508 and Mobile Web standards compliance requirements associated with each.

WHAT A WEBSITE DOES can be viewed as a function of medium and mechanics. In this context, “medium” refers to format and content while “mechanics” refers to behavior. Here the web designer combines the application of hypertext markup language (e.g. XHTML or HTML5) for messaging and cascading stylesheets (e.g. CSS or CSS3) for presentation in such a way as to create a web browser rendered result that is visually appealing and – for marketing and sales web pages – psychologically compelling. The web developer adds animation, interactive behavior and transaction processing capabilities to the mix using dynamic scripting languages like PHP, relational databases like MySQL, server-side CGI applications written in Perl, client-side unobtrusive Javascript programming, jQuery plugins and AJAX updates, and increasing popular Mobile Web apps.

Yes, “web design” and “web development” are different concepts. But hopefully we have shown here that these processes are inextricably intertwined … two sides of the same coin … and the Yin and Yang of website creation. Give us a call and we’ll show you how we bring the two together to create winning business and ecommerce websites!

What’s the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

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