The terms web design and web development are sometimes used interchangeably, or more commonly web design is just used to describe both. So, is there a difference and is it important?
Strictly speaking, web design refers to all of the visual and cosmetic aspects of designing a website. This can include colours, fonts, layouts, styles, graphics, photos and anything else that you may consider visual design. However, the visual design of a website is not just limited to making it “look nice”, or to dazzle visitors with fancy graphics and special effects. There is an even more important aspect to visual design called user experience. User experience (UX) involves following certain design principles to place things on a web page in a specific way to enhance the user’s experience of the website. The purpose of this is to make a website easier to use and to allow users to find what they are looking for quickly.
Web development on the other hand can be considered what goes on behind the scenes. This is the part of the website which is not visual and not seen, all of the functionality and clever stuff that is going on in the background. It can include custom programming/coding, site architecture, configuration, performance tuning, technical SEO, database design, and much more. Without web development, a website can only do the very basics. If you want custom or bespoke features then web design alone is not enough, you need a web developer.
When you hire a person or company in the web design industry, they may be proficient in both web design and web development, or they may concentrate on one or the other. The term Front end designer is commonly used to refer to someone who works purely in web design, and normally works closely with a web developer or programmer who does the back end “stuff”. It can be a great benefit to work with someone who does both as it makes the whole process more efficient.