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Web Design vs. Web Development: what makes them different?
08 Abr 2020

Nowadays, the “competition” between searches for Web Design and Web Development seems fierce, which happens because, in truth, most people aren’t familiar with these terms and just assume they’re the same. However, even though these concepts complement each other — with this complementarity being what allows us to develop top web projects —, there’s a clear difference between both areas, which is noticeable during the development process of a website, for example. Let’s see how both of them can help us.

Web Design vs. Web Development

Before we get to the differences between Web Design and Web Development, it’s important to understand what they have in common: both give us the opportunity to build web systems, whether it’s a website, whether it’s any other system. The combination of both techniques is what allows us to get web pages that are simultaneously functional, aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.

Bu how do each of these areas individually contribute to this construction? While Web Design is responsible for the visual and aesthetic look, and also for the usability, Web Development takes that design job and transforms it into functional pages that can be presented to users. Web Designers draw, Web Developers code. Web Designers project the idea, Web Developers put it into practice. Let’s see in detail how each of these unrolls.


Web Design

The easiest way to describe the job of a Web Designer is by stating that he/she turns our websites into pretty and eye-catching websites. This person plans the style and, therefore, the feeling this will awake on users when they browse through your website. Yet, it’s important to highlight that Web Designers also code, through HTML or CSS, not restricting this projection to Photoshop or Illustrator.

Like in every other area, in Web Design, professionals can specialize into a more specific area, like Design User Experience (UX) or Design User Interface (UI). Even though they’re different, both focus on improving the user’s experience when interacting with you online, which means there are two ways to do so:

1.    Design User Experience (UX)

Design UX’s job is to build websites with a solid foundation, that makes users addicted to it. The goal is to always search and get to know your brand’s target, in order to develop a positive experience and leading users to come back to your website, which is possible when we pay special attention to the following characteristics:


  • Design suitable to any device;

  • Fast and intuitive pages;

  • Secure pages;

  • Pleasing colors;

  • Balanced layouts;

  • Focus on really relevant elements;

  • Consistency.

2.    Design User Interface (UI)

On the other hand, Design UI consists of improving the way users interact with a website’s interface. UI Designers transform ideas and complex values into pleasing elements and layouts, that can also facilitate the navigation. This is done through buttons, menus and any other elements that allow this interaction between user and interface.


To sum up, Design UX involves research and getting to know the user to create a solid base that will, later, support the aesthetics (the look and feelings) built by Design UI.


Web Development

Web Development professionals, also known as programmers, put the design projected by Web Designers into practice, building a functional website. In a very practical way: it’s like design is just a simple image of a website, with no buttons or interactive menus. This is where developers come in: they take that “image” and turn each of its elements into life.

In this area, professionals can specialize in more specific functions too, from which stand out the Back-end Developer, the Front-end Developer and the Full-stack Developer.

1.    Back-end Developer

The Back-end Developer is the person who draws the back-end of a system, that is, the main structure behind it. This is where the coding comes in, since developers work with programs like JAVA, SQL and #C. Their work is pretty much all about logic and function, as well as, testing and fixing bugs.

2.    Front-end Developer

Front-end Developer’s functions involve building what users see on a website (the front-end), which means they’re actually connected to Web Designers. However, this expertise isn’t really about aesthetics, but it’s about building elements with which the user can interact (for example, creating forms). The main difference when compared to a Back-end Developer is that, even though Front-end Developers code too (through HTML, CSS or JavaScript), they build what is visible to the eyes of users, and not what stays “in the back”. 

3.    Full-stack Developer


A Full-stack Developer is a combination between a Back-end Developer and a Front-end Developer, since he/she works on every line of the process (back-end and front-end). In a very simple way, these people are the experts of web development, because they have the right knowledge to do a little a bit of everything.


Final thoughts

After reading this article, you’ve probably realized that even though these terms look pretty similar, Web Design and Web Development are totally different concepts. However, it is important to highlight that, most of the time, these areas work together, and this team work is what gives us the opportunity to build a website (or any other system) with the best possible experience for users.




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