What is the difference between Web Designing and Web Development?

Generally designers design and developers code. We should look closely at these two concepts and their roles in building websites and apps. These terms often confuse web design and development. Are these terms interchangeable with the same roles?

The answer is NO as each role is completely different from the other. It is easy to get web developers and web designers mixed up because both work on website creation, often use similar tools, and sometimes possess similar skills. In reality, web designers and web developers have very distinct roles and responsibilities for building a website.

Powerful and visual treat websites on the internet are the cumulative creation and efforts of web designers and web developers. Sometimes small organizations hire web designers to design and develop the complete website, but on the contrary, giant organizations hire both web designers and web developers to create a beautiful, interactive, and visually attractive website. This article helps you understand in a better way what is the difference between a Web Designer and a Web Developer & what roles they perform while creating a website.

We can understand clearly these career paths in the context of building a house.

The architect implants an idea of the house with the visual elements, the floor plan and layout, materials, and aura of the space for touch and feel. And then construction workers come into the picture to execute the entire plan in turning a vision into a building.

Web Designer

A web designer is like an architect. The web designer’s responsibilities involve developing the vision about the visual aesthetics and usability of a website including minor details like the color scheme, layout, information flow, and everything else related to the visual aspects of the user interface and user experience. Website look involves a broad set of tasks including research and information architecture to typography and user interface design. Some common skills and tools that distinguish the web designer from the web developer are:

  • Photoshop, Adobe Creative Photoshop, other design software
  • Graphic and logo design
  • Format/Layout or outline of the website
  • Placing call-to-action buttons on the pages
  • Branding
  • Wireframes, mock-ups
  • Color palettes
  • Typography

Web design is what users actually see on their computer screen or mobile device, using color, images, typography, and layout; they bring a digital experience to life. Most web designers are familiar with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which enables themes to create living mock-ups of a web app when trying to pitch an idea to the team or fine-tune the UI/UX of an app. Web designers often create websites using template designs which allows them to create websites using themes and widgets without writing code language.

Before starting the development of something, first, we need to create a blueprint and proper layout plan of the complete website. Web designers are responsible for the overall look & feel of the web page and where every element of the website will go.

What is web development?

A web developer writes code for the website using various programming languages, such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript, and builds the website framework to ensure bug-free and proper functionality. Web developer guides the designer about technical implementation to tackle tedious complicated time-consuming development processes. Depending on the responsibilities like programming the UI and maintaining the server-side of the website, they can be categorized into front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers.

Front-end Developer:

Web developers as those who turn the designs into a live website. 

The front-end or client-side of an application is the code for an actual display of the designs as per the mock-up plan by the designer. The back-end or server-side of an application is responsible for managing data within the database and serving that data to the front-end to be displayed.

Some common skills listed below can be seen as unique to the front-end developer:

  • HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • CSS preprocessors (i.e., LESS or Sass)
  • Frameworks (i.e., AngularJS, ReactJS, Ember)
  • Libraries (i.e., jQuery)
  • Git and GitHub

Front-end web developers’ job is to create mock-ups, select typography, or pick color palettes, provided by the designer, and are able to choose the right technology to deliver the desired look and feel to the final product. A front-end developer is the one who builds the interface and provides the layout as the interaction between the back-end of the website and the user.

Back-end developer:

A back-end developer works behind the curtain writing and maintaining programs that impact the front end. Back-end developers are those who control the back-end server data and contain dynamic data. Generally, if the website requires data to be saved, and making it accessible at a later stage, so for that database connection is required, which can be sought from the server itself. Back-end developer uses server languages such as PHP or ASP.NET, and writes code for database service and requests using languages such as SQL or MySQL.

Also look after the server that hosts the website, maintaining the application and the database.

Full-Stack Developer

A full-stack developer represents the skill sets of both front-end and back-end developers. Full-stackers work on all levels and make sure the website’s front-end and back-end tie should work smoothly. A full-stack developer’s job is to suggest and maintain the best practices, addressing and anticipating technical issues, and contribute to the overall development strategy.

One can play a role for both professions of web designer and a developer?

Fundamentally, anyone can master both ends of the skills spectrum. So yes, becoming a pro in both fields depending on how long you have worked on the skills. Web developers/designers who have a good grasp of skills across both sides of the spectrum are highly sought after in the industry.

If we summarise the profession, the main job of a web designer is to create an interactive interface that should be catchy for the users and the interface should be logical for easy implementation by the web developers. Unlike web designers, web developers are not required to be experts in website building, rather they should build an interface or layout which could attract more users to their website. However, it should be mandatory to have a knowledge of how the websites work and designing and creating websites in the right way.