Website Design vs Development, What's The Dіffеrеnсе?

Web development and design are often used as interchangeable terms, but although some of their duties overlap, web designers and web developers work in two distinct spheres of website production.

Website design vs development, is there a difference between the two? Absolutely.

Web development and design are often used as interchangeable terms, but although some of their duties overlap, web designers and web developers work in two distinct spheres of website production.

While different, both designers and developers work together to create visually pleasing and structurally sound websites.

It might help to picture a Venn diagram. In one circle are web designers, who are experts in the graphics and layout of a web page, and in the other are developers, who build and program the technical aspects of the site.

Website Design vs Development - Woman handing man wireframes of website design.jpg

What is Web Design?

Web design is the most common term used for professionals in the design industry with a focus on website components, layouts (grid systems) and the user’s experience.

Oftentimes, when someone says they are a "web designer," they are referring to a very broad set of skills, one of which is visual design.

The "design" part of this equation deals with the customer-facing or "front end" part of the website. A web designer is concerned with how a site looks and how the customers interact with it (they are sometimes also referred to as "experience designers" or "UX designers").

What is Web Development?

Web development brings the design to life through code.

Web developers, sometimes called programmers, take the design created and build a fully functioning website through coding. This code could be in a variety of languages, but common ones for websites are HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP. Nowadays advanced web developers choose Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla and allow clients an easy way to maintain and update their website.

There are two major components to web development:

  • Front-end (how it looks) - Front-end takes the visual design of a website (whether they created that design or it was handed to them by a visual designer) and builds it in code.
  • Back-end (how it functions) - Back-end deals with the more advanced programming and interactions on web pages.

Differences in website design vs development

Many people wrongly assume that web development and web design are referring to the same thing. Yet by removing the word 'web' from their titles, you can begin to see how these two areas differ.

Web development involves the creation of the code that generates the websites that we see in our browsers and involves the creation of the interactive parts of the site, such as links to other pages, contact forms, and pop-ups.

Web development involves

  • Adding complex functionality to the website (the back end)
  • Creating user interactivity features
  • Acute attention to detail
  • Using programming languages like Java, PHP, C#, etc.
  • Using development tools like Grunt, Gulp, NPM and Visual Studio Code

Web design involves

  • Creating the look and feel of the website (the front end)
  • Designing a creative solution to meet the client’s requirements
  • Focusing on the end user’s experience
  • Web Design involves the visuals of the website. This includes the graphics (color, logos, images, font, and so on) and the layout (navigation, headers, footers, and so on).
  • Using design software like Sketch, Adobe XD, Figma, Photoshop and Illustrator


There are even more factors that set web development and design apart. One of which is the experience and skills and required to complete each of these processes. Often, people working in both areas will complete tertiary education, but they study very different things.

Web developers will study how to read and write code in a variety of languages (no, not in French or Spanish, this refers to HTML, CSS, JavaScript and so on). They will also learn programming soft skills and how to use a number of different software. Web designers will hone their artistic and creative skills, as well as learn how to use various tools and software that is used to create websites (such as Sketch).

Designers may also learn some basic coding to gain an understanding of the developer's processes and workflow.


In Conclusion, to make a great success of a website, the website designer and the website developer need to work in unison.

The terms of website design vs development can often be perceived as one because their duties focus on similar tasks. However they both work on and output different materials that aid in the end product.

Even though both of them have different roles to play in the overall development of the website, a proper co-ordination between the two is very essential.