Web Development vs Web Design

Web Development & Web Design are both keywords used to find website creation services online. These days these terms practically mean the same thing under the blanket niche of “web agencies”.

The simple truth is that the phrases mentioned before are actually two different parts of the same site building process.

It’s important you understand the terminology as you start looking for somebody to design and build your organization’s site. In this Article, we will distinguish the two of them, and show why you can’t have one without the other.

What is Web Design?

Essentially, web design regards both the aesthetic part of the site and its usability. Web designers use different design applications like Adobe Photoshop, alongside HTML & CSS to craft the layout & other visual elements of the site.

Web Developers, on the other hand, are more focused on programming the functionality of websites, usually with PHP and Javascript.

Web designers should always start by considering a customer’s wants and needs, then move on to an Info Architecture (IA) to specify a site’s data hierarchy and also help direct the design procedure. Next, website designers usually begin creating wireframes and prototypes, eventually proceeding to the layout & final design phase.

Web designers can use several standard design principles to achieve an aesthetically pleasing design that also offers exceptional user experience & performance. User experience & site performance are also key metrics in not only providing an engaging website but also ranking in organic searches.

Web Design Basics


It is important for designers to make a balanced design. In web design, we refer to heavy elements(big and dark coloured ) and light elements (little and lighter coloured ). Employing the right percentage of each is essential to attaining a balanced site layout.


In colour theory, contrasting colours are put on the opposite end of one another on the colour wheel (see also complementary colours ). Web design provides a multitude of opportunities for contrasting & complimentary elements on a page. Designers utilize contrasting sizes, colours, shapes and textures to define and draw attention to specific sections of the site.


Emphasis is a design element based on the deliberate “highlighting” of certain vital elements of the site design. It is important to be aware that in the event that you highlight everything about the page you wind up highlighting nothing. Use of font styles, especially making elements bold, will bring emphasis and in turn the customers’ attention to the text.


Consistency, also referred to as ‘rhythm’ or ‘flow’, is a vital website design principle. To deliver the best user experience for your customers, it is essential that your website layout flows well and is consistent with its style.


Unity is the relationship between the various elements of the site in relation to the page’s content. Based from the Gestalt concept, unity deals with how the human mind visually organizes data by sectioning components into groups.

What is Web Development?

Web programmers, also known as web developers, take the layout created and add the programming logic to make the website functional. Most Web Developers use a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress or Joomla, then build the required functionality on top. For example, a Web Developer making an e-commerce site might use wordpress as a base, then use PHP and/or Javascript to program the e-commerce features on top. Not only does this provide security through using an open source CMS, it cuts down greatly on development time. 

To better service customers, not to mention develop better websites, most qualified Web Designers & Web Developers can do both roles. Web programming languages like CSS, HTML, Javascript & PHP all heavily rely on each other to function properly. It is in every web programmer’s best interests to have a firm understanding & experience in both Website Design & Development.



Small to medium sized businesses trying to build a website or even update the layout & functionality of an existing site may become hazed or confused by the terms “Web Design” and “Web Development.” But do not fear, as technology progresses, the lines between Web Design & Development tend to blur.

Design and Development has become so codependent through the process of building a website (and getting it to rank on Google), that most Designers need to be Developers & vice versa. When building websites with ranking and mobile in mind though, it can come as a great advantage to do both Design & Development, to keep consistency and unity between the site and its content. Larger companies may still employ Design & Development specialists, but thanks to WordPress & other emerging technologies, it’s no longer necessary to separate the two roles.