The Differences Between Website Design and Website Development

If you are a new business owner, you will be looking to build your very own website to ensure that you too have an enabling presence in the digital world.

However, most new business owners often get confused between web design and web development, and this issue is often exasperated by the use of words like “web design company” and “web development company” by agencies that offer website development services to describe themselves.

If you go to Ahrefs and write these two “keywords”, you will find out that both of them have a very healthy monthly search volume. The keyword “Web design company” has a volume of 3900 and the keyword “web development company” has a volume of 900.

web development

web design

This signifies that businesses are definitely searching for the right agency partners by using both of these two terms interchangeably and while there might not be a major issue in doing so while searching, muddling the meaning of these important terms can certainly be problematic in other important areas.

When you are in the process of building your website or getting one developed by an outside partner agency, then you will get to know that web design and web development are two distinct parts of the overall process of getting a website built.
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To clear you up on this issue and make your concepts better, here is us explaining the fundamental differences between web design and web development.

What Is Web Design?

Web design can be best described as the process through which the user experience-related aspects of a website are planned, conceptualized, and arranged. While in previous times, web design only used to refer to a website’s aesthetics like its graphics, layout, and images, modern web design has increasingly become user-centric, focusing on functionality, navigability, and UI/UX. Modern web design isn’t just used to refer to website design anymore. It now includes the design of other digital entities like apps as well.

website design and website development

On top of this, modern web design has now become mobile-centric as compared to being desktop-centric back in the 2000s and early 2010s. Users now access websites through a wide range of devices including smartphones and tablets, so optimizing web design to suit user experience on these devices has becoming increasingly crucial to ensure success.

You can also refer to web design as any work done on the front end of the website. This includes the creation of all graphic assets, layouts, design plans, navigation elements, or any other element with which the user directly interacts with.

Becoming a web designer in today’s digital landscape requires complete knowledge of UI/UX elements.

What Is Web Development?

Web development is the process of hard coding all the web design elements into a responsive and functional website.

The web development process is the cornerstone of all digital mediums that are in use today. Web developers are the main individuals responsible for each one of them ranging from apps to websites.

Web development Coding

A web developer’s job description doesn’t include any design aspects at all; it generally concerns coding, programming, and markup-based tasks related to websites. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are the most important programming languages for website development. Content management systems offer ease to run through web development because it requires minimal coding and making changes is simple.

Modern-day website development helps create responsive websites i.e. websites that are not static and respond to each user’s environment in a different and appropriate manner.

Front-end coding, server-side coding, and database management are the main pillars of website development.

The Web Design Process:

The end goal of any web design process is to ensure that the final website is user-friendly and according to the client’s business and brand objectives. To achieve this aim, web designers start their process first by procuring the client’s initial requirements. Then based on these requirements, the developers create an information hierarchy for web design. This hierarchy is a guide to run the overall process from hereon as it details how all the elements will flow through the medium of the website.

Next up, after the planning stage, comes the execution stage. Here the web designers create mockups and website wireframes and show them to the client for approval. If approved, these designs are then digitalized as graphic assets via using an appropriate tool like Adobe Photoshop.

The Web Development Process:

Web developers start off with procuring the design files from the web design team. Then they analyze the design files and choose the appropriate tech stack. Once chosen, they hard code these design files according to the client.

HTML is best for creating static web pages. Web developers opt for HTML if the website is simple with few complexities.

For more complex projects that require the website to be dynamic and responsive, developers use Python and other programming languages.

Sometimes, developers can even use different programming languages for different web pages of the same website.

When the final website is ready, it goes into staging to add content to it. During this stage, you can also make any changes before the website finally goes live. After this, the developer links the website with the server to launch it.

A website requires backend coding and a server link if it’s for storing dynamic data like a blog, retrieving information. A web developer needs to utilize languages like PHP for writing queries combined with a database like My.SQL

Even after the development, businesses approach web developers for maintenance. This includes fixing bugs, 404 errors, crashes, speed fixes, etc.

Content Management Systems like WordPress are great for modern-day web development because the process is straightforward and requires less coding.

Web developers can also add interactive web elements to websites including sliders, CTAs, contact forms, live chat features, etc.

Full Stack Developer – The New Option For Developing Websites:

A full-stack developer, basically put, can provide both web design and development services to you easily. Conventionally, a full stack developer is basically an agency that lets you leverage their team to get stellar websites developed.

Choosing a full stack developer for website development is definitely the best choice for you.

Key Areas To Focus On When Building a New Website

A simple search on an SEO tool like Ahrefs or Hubspot will reveal that although there are literally hundreds and thousands of websites out there, a majority of them fail to perform well. So, when you build new website, there are some things to consider.

Here, you need to understand two of the basic tenets of building a website. First comes the search engine. Google is the new master that will judge your website and if it doesn’t like it, then be prepared to get virtually zero searches engine-based organic traffic to your site. Secondly, comes the user itself. The user is not isolated from the search engine’s review metrics. In fact, most of Google’s site ranking algorithms are based on providing the users with a stellar experience.

The website you have will literally serve no purpose if you are not priming it to meet the demands of Google and the user itself.

And while the important things to focus on here are really not that hard to understand, but surprisingly, a wide majority of sites ignore them and suffer highly.

So whether you are opting for custom web development services or getting the website built in-house, make sure that your final brief for the project highlights these important website development areas:

Website Speed:

A lot of people know the fact that slow websites are a horrendous experience for users, but what’s exactly the benchmark that defines a “Slow Website”?

To answer the question on just how fast a website should load, Google’s recommended page load time is less than 2 seconds. While Google itself aims for less than half a second in loading time, it has lowered the requirements for websites to less than 2 seconds.

Building a New Website Speed

Meeting this mark is incredibly important, especially if you are building an eCommerce site or a content-heavy site. However, most website developers miss this mark by some distance and if you run a speed test on Google’s speed test tool for mobile websites for most websites, you will know that they are well over this required limit.

Make sure that your web developers know that this is one of the most critical areas you are priming for and you cannot let any slip-ups slide in here. Take even more care when getting a website through custom web development services; unlike us at Cydomedia, most such service providers don’t focus on speed at all.

Optimize The Site For Mobile:

You ask your web developers to get develop a website for your business. You receive the website, you view it on desktop and it looks great. Everything’s in order like the CTAs, images, etc. But wait! Did you check the site on mobile as well?

Firstly, you need to know why this is important. Google’s search engine now crawls over websites like a mobile user, something which it calls the “mobile-first” strategy, and its pretty obvious why it does that. A majority of web traffic now originates from mobiles, and if the website doesn’t look good to a mobile user, it’s not in line with Google’s standards.

Build a New Website

When you get website development services, make it majorly clear in the brief that you want a mobile-optimized design. This is possible by developing elements on the web pages for both desktop and mobile. Another way, which is more popular, is to “Amp” the pages.

AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Page”, and it’s the framework through which you can make your website load faster and look great on mobiles and other smaller screens. So don’t miss out on this incredibly important feature when your website is under development.

Easy Navigation & A Clean Layout:

Ever heard of Hick’s law? This is a very common web design principle that simply implies that users will long time to make decisions when presented with more options. This is quite simple to understand, but having viewed tons of websites that come to us for revamps, we don’t really think that a lot of people understand this clearly.

When we at Cydomedia offer website development services, we ensure that the user has a stellar experience on the website. We do this to facilitate the user in taking prompt decisions on the website by offering easier navigability by incorporating design elements like search bars, drop-down menus, carousels, and more.

The user can find it overwhelming if a website has too much clutter and doesn’t offer an identifiable way to get to the place, the user is trying to reach. The result? An increase in bounce rates, which inadvertently also affects your search engine rankings.

So when you opt for website development services, be aware that easy navigability is one of your top priorities; ensure the web development team is clear on it.

Apart from this, you should also look for building a clean layout on the website. This means that the website shouldn’t be a hodge-podge of content, pictures, and CTAs. Many studies have revealed that users like the “F” format in content placement since it allows them to skim through the content more easily and locate what they are trying to find much faster.

There should be regular breaks in the web design, infused through the user of aligned images along with strategically placed negative spaces. This makes the webpage more readable and easy on the eyes, thereby allowing the user to stay engaged on what the website has to offer.

Wrapping Up:

While these are really important web development tips that could help you get your online presence consolidated right from the start; there are other, equally important areas that you will need to focus on. Only then you can truly get your website to become a top-performing entity.

Important aspects like content optimization through keyword targeting, integration of landing pages, etc. Tjese are all key to powering real-time conversions and leads on your website.

A website might seem like something that’s easy to build. At Cydomedia we’ve been offering custom website development services for over four years now; we can say it with authority at our command that it’s anything but that.

Modern-day website development services should be incredibly comprehensive; if you are looking for exactly such a stellar experience then feel free to contact us right away.