What are website development and web design?

Posted by Deb Croucher | November 7, 2019

People often confuse the term ‘website development’ with ‘website design‘ or use the two terms interchangeably.

Though the field in which they operate is essentially the same, the two terms indicate two different aspects of creating a website.

What is website design?

Website design deals with the visual aspects of a website.

So, elements like the logo, navigation and the page layout are important to the designer.

A good designer will be familiar with CSS (style-sheet language), so they understand how a live website fits together.

Today most website designers work in Photoshop and send their work to a website developer who turns it into a live site.

What is website development?

Website development involves coding the website to turn the Photoshop design into a live website. Developers understand web-coding programming languages, and may specialise in high-level programming languages such as Java.

The developer will code a back-end for the site and all other aspects needed for the site to function.

A developer should also be familiar with the standards set by the WC3 so they can develop websites which conform to their guidelines.

Your programmer needs to be familiar with audio/video formats, HTML, CSS and JavaScript and understand how websites load in different browsers.

Their world is constantly changing and they need to work hard to stay up to date.

Website development can be more expensive than website design so at Brilliant Digital we make sure you are happy with the design before it goes through to the development stage. Design changes are relatively easy in Photoshop!

Some website developers also design sites which can considerably cut costs. The problem here is that website design is a right brain skill and website programming is a left brain skill. Not many people are really good at both! You usually get the best results if you split the two tasks.

SEO, languages and coding

Website developers also have to optimise your website for the search engines.

Website developers should have, at the very least, a basic grasp of SEO, keywords and how titles can affect search engine indexing. You get the very best results from employing an SEO expert early on in your build. This expert will set the website structure up right from the beginning and guide the programmer to the best way to optimise it for searching.

HTML is the standard language used for building websites and every web developer has a detailed understanding of it. CSS is a fabulous language which allows the HTML code to come to life by allowing incredible design options. A skilled developer can code you a simple, search engine friendly site in HTML and CSS.

If you want to be able to edit your site yourself, you’ll need a content management system (CMS) and this makes the back of your site more complicated. There are lots of arguments about the best platform to use. Many people use WordPress for basic sites because it’s free and increasingly sophisticated.

For more complex sites, including e-commerce sites, you’ll need to chat to your website developer about the best option for your business website. Make sure the developer you use has great experience building in the platform you choose.

So, what is website development? It’s the programming that brings the Internet to life!

Read more website design articles

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      177 Victoria St,
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      Sydney based with clients Australia wide

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