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.

10 Principles for Creating A Stellar Website Design

Contrary to popular belief, the success of any website doesn’t just depend on its design alone. It needs to be a stellar website design.

The modern-day website design should be user-centric above all else. The priority of any web designer should be to ensure that all web design elements including features, navigation tabs, CTAs, etc. must be synergized to power a top-notch user experience.

Web design elements should not just be developed based on subjective opinions. A website with bold colors, a lot of features, and an incredibly appealing text display might look good to a web designer, but if this effort doesn’t translate into ease for the end-user, then all this effort doesn’t amount to anything substantial.

While optimizing for user-centric design is an exercise that’s mostly based on researching what the user prefers or expects in a certain niche and there is no “One size fits all” approach that can be followed, there are some key fundamentals that can help a web designer get on the right track towards building a user-centric web design.

KEY PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WEBSITE DESIGN AND EFFICIENT USE OF GUIDELINES

The first thing to keep in mind is that you must think like a user. Open other similar websites and observe the pain points.

View Things From A User’s Perspective:

How does a user think?

Well, to solve this problem, you must consider yourself a user too.

Every day you use the internet and view a lot of websites to seek relevant information.

During this journey, you search on Google for the kind of information you are trying to seek, and once the results are in, you click on the ones that seem the most relevant towards your required query.

You open a certain website and browse through the webpage in front of you. If you find what you are looking for easily, then you continue in on your journey deeper into the buyer funnel, but if you don’t, then you just go back and open another website to continue your search.

Other users do this the same way. They come to your website for just one reason i.e. to satiate their desire to seek information about a relevant product, service, or topic-related query.

If the right info is there and it’s also accessible, the user will definitely stay and interact.

So your goal should be to optimize for providing users with this ease and this is exactly what the essence of “user-centric design” belies.

Errors and Inconveniences:

Errors of any kind or inconveniences like a navigation menu that not aligned with natural screen progression will cause you to become irritated and ultimately result in you leaving the site.

See where this is going?

Even if a website has a great web design and high-quality content; any error or complexity can cause users to leave.

The difficulty of use triggers the same response.

To correct this issue, you will have to conduct a complete quality analysis of your website from a user-centric design perspective. The way to do this is simple, if something is difficult to use or makes other things difficult to use, then it has to be removed or corrected right away.

Users Scan & Skim Web Content:

As we said before, users don’t spend time reading everything. They search for appropriate information by mostly skimming through pages. For this, they usually look for some headings or content descriptions.

A lot of web design studies have gone on to highlight the “F” format for placing content on a website since it correlates closely with how most users skim through pages.

Cluttering:

Cluttering is a big NO for any website out there, no matter what the niche is.

Too many design elements at play on any web page confuse the user and this also makes navigation harder.

This is why users prefer basic layouts in which information is presented in an understandable format.

1. Make Your Web Design Intuitive:

According to various studies, a webpage should be direct and understandable.

As a web designer, your job is to ensure that the user doesn’t need to search for what they came to find. It should be “right there” and easily visible for anyone to proceed further.

For e.g. the navigation design of your website should be easily accessible and user-friendly. If it’s complex, the user will have difficulty going to the desired points on your websites.

You can visually describe the contents of your webpage better to improve the users’ experience in this regard.

Easily accessible links can guide the users to their objectives in a much quicker manner.

It would be best if you chose an interface through which a user can filter through your website with ease and end up with the information they are looking for.

2. Don’t Demand Too Much, Right Away:

The initial tryout of any service should not just be easy, but also backed up with a “Low demand” flow.

Users aren’t persistent and will most probably give up after the first try if too much is demanded off of them in the very first go. First-time guests are happy to try a particular product or service, but they probably won’t do it if you couple the tryout with a high amount of forms that they are required to fill.

Let users go through the site and find your products without constraining them into sharing private information to navigate through the site or load certain features. It’s not sensible to constrain clients to enter an email address to test the component.

Many experts say that it’s better to ask users for their email or similar information only after they’ve thoroughly tested the desired service.

What’s more, is that you need to ensure that your clients feel free on your site. It is important to note that you create no hurdles in the way of your users. In this way, your site will become more user-friendly and will prosper with time.

3. Catch Their Attention:

Flashy, visible content can easily help gain user attention. Bold words, mixed colors, and colorful links are something that we all get attracted to, even without knowing or intending to. One of the key secrets towards attracting a user’s attention is to use images that provide powerful limelight towards the messages you are trying to provide the user with.

Images can tell a user more about your website than words can. Our brain detects motion and thus draws our attention towards it. This is why video ads manage to get our attention one way or another eventually.

Colors are incredibly unappreciated in this regard. You are less attracted to bad color combinations but will admire good varieties. This is to be considered while choosing an appropriate color palette for your website design and its related components.

Another secret is attracting users’ attention towards areas on your site you know they will be interested in.

4. Show Off Your Features:

If your website has features, then it’s best to ensure that they are as visible as possible.

This can be done by either providing users with visual/text-based cues on how these features can be used or where they are available.

For e.g. a site that has a feature that allows users to check whether their site has broken links has to ensure that it offers the user a complete, vivid description of how this feature works and how they can benefit from it, rather than just telling them that this feature exists.

Allowing users to see the features on your website will make it easier for them to interact with these features in a meaningful manner.

5. Use Your Content:

Web design is not just about the design elements, content plays a major role in it too, especially in how it’s displayed or meant to be displayed to the end-user.

Your content should never be jargon-based. Using difficult words or complex expressions will only result in users getting turned off. Content is there to facilitate the user’s journey, so stick to that and use promotional content only when it goes with this ideology.

Bad content is not the one that is written badly, but the one from which users don’t derive any value from.

Here are some helping guidelines:

  • Use short and brief expressions. Get to the meaningful part as fast as could reasonably be expected
  • Go for an understandable format with no fancy jargon or accompanying web design elements.
  • Use plain English. The target content should be professional but not too over the top

6. Keep It Simple:

Try your best to maintain simplicity. It’s completely fine to use all the necessary and modern features, but the goal is to keep the overall format and content understandable and straightforward.

From the guests’ perspective, the best site interface is one that’s simple with no nuisances like unnecessary pop-up advertisements or further hurdles hampering their users’ experience.

7. Empty Spaces Are Good, Keep Them:

Most writers are afraid of the leftover white space on the screen. They think that this space could be utilized for better purposes, such as side facts of some sort.

In reality, empty space can be extremely beneficial if utilized well.

It keeps the users’ attention hooked on to the actual content.  As users divide the page into parts based on usefulness, the empty space provides significant usage by helping them to analyze the content available in a much better manner.

Design segments can also be separated better by this space. It gives the content a much more transparent and professional look. Currently, many web design layouts provide white space to facilitate better user experience.

8. Communicate Better:

Sort Out:

Give the users, a reasonable and well-calculated structure. Consistency, screen format, anchors, and well-drawn visual maps are significant towards ensuring such precision. Similar guidelines and rules ought to be applied to all other web design components.

Streamline:

Do the most with a simple layout. Four essential things that can help you achieve this layout design are:

  • Simplicity
  • Clearness
  • Uniqueness
  • Accentuation

Simplicity: The components that are generally significant for your site should be easy to use and interact with.

Clearness: All parts ought to be planned, so their significance isn’t questionable.

Uniqueness: The properties of your web design components ought to be one of a kind.

Accentuation: The most significant features ought to be clearly seen and highlighted

9. Even Orthodox Design Is Suitable:

Your web design doesn’t have to be unique or trendy always. If there is no reason or logic to put them there, then don’t do that.

Stick to conventionality here and try working with the conventional layout designs available out there.

This will help you stay true to your original purpose of creating a user-centric design in a much better manner.

Through following this path, you can benefit from the conventionality that these formats bring. Since these formats are out there on most sites, so most users will be familiar with them, thus allowing them to interact with the site much more easily.

10. Keep Testing:

Testing and research are two things that you should never stop if you want to achieve a truly user-centric experience.

If a CTA isn’t bringing in a high amount of clicks, then try changing its colors, its design, its content, or even its placement, till the clicks start to rise the way you want them to.

The way users interact with different web elements leaves behind tons of data and if you test and experiment, you can use this data to better your web design and progress in the right direction.

A Key Thing To Remember:

If you have been working on your site for a very long time now, then don’t review it on your own, since you won’t be able to bring in a fresh perspective to it.

Hire someone neutral and ask them to do it. This will help you get an unbiased analysis of how good your web design is and where exactly can you bring in improvements.

Agencies who offer professional web design services can help you do this, so take their help if required and you will soon be on the right track towards getting stellar web design for your website.

How to Improve Your Conversion Rate with Website UX Design

Research suggests that a vast majority of your online visitors are likely to never return after one bad experience. This speaks volumes about how crucial user experience (UX) can be for your brand and business.

The website UX design of your website includes the visitor’s overall experience on your website. You cannot define website UX design with a single design element, instead, it requires a comprehensive combination of various small interactions put together that produce positive or negative emotions about your brand and company.

Moreover, the emotions and connection you feel due to the way your website has been designed, directly affects your brand identity, customer retention, and website conversion rate.

However, as of this year, website design remains a primary indicator of a brand’s credibility. It has become a quality standard that brands need to follow to boost their conversion rates and make new customers come back for more.

Here are three fundamental tips to improve the user experience of your site visitors, increase your conversion rate, and boost sales.

Build for users, not designers

Your design needs to speak to potential customers, not other designers. Therefore, before you work with your web design company to make any changes or add new features, make sure you understand what it represents in terms of user experience and customer journey.

When you conduct market research, you will understand what features of your website design matter the most for your target audience. Similarly, you can also determine features that make no difference to their overall experience and interaction with the brand, no matter how beautiful they might be.

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It always helps to take time out for A/B testing before implementing any new feature or incorporating website UX design improvements. This, in turn, helps ensure the changes you are making are functional and will help with conversion rate optimization.

Deliver consistent branding

According to studies, you can increase your business revenue by 23 percent by incorporating consistent branding. An impactful visual brand identity across all platforms, including your website, helps create a brand that users enjoy engaging with and would want to be associated with again and again.

With the help of your web design company, you can quickly produce a consistent visual identity to share on various platforms. Professional website designers can use a customized color palette and other visual aids to deliver value and information to consumers using consistent typography and branding across different pages of your website. A consistent brand identity creates a trusting and stable environment for your audience. Moreover, it also empowers them to look for information or products that they need without any unnecessary confusion. Your website design and user experience tell them exactly where they are, what they should expect, and what they want.

Along the road, consistent brand identity will aid website conversion and optimize your online presence.

Interactive and well-defined call-to-action

Call-to-action buttons play a significant role in the overall quality of user experience and conversion rate optimization of your website. CTAs throughout your website impact the engagement, conversion, and revenue from your business operations. With the right color, text, and design, CTAs can be a game-changer for your business.

However, here are a few tips to remember to maximize the user experience and effectiveness of your CTA buttons:

  • Make your message clear and easy to understand. Keep your text short, sweet, and playful, depending on your target audience. Moreover, your website visitors should understand what will happen once they click on the button.
  • Make your CTA button large and clickable, don’t entirely rely on the text – convenience and usability go a long way.
  • Stick to simple typography. Now is not the right time to show your design expertise, use a large and readable font.
  • Make sure your CTA stands out. You should stay within your brand’s color palette. Moreover, try grabbing users’ attention and boost conversions using a unique shape or message for your CTA.
  • Try including some small complementary design elements related to your overall brand aesthetics, like a shopping cart or an arrow.
  • Smartly use the white space on your website to make the most impact with your CTA.

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