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Web Design vs. Web Development: Who Does What?

By Snap Agency December 21, 2018

Is there anything better than a website that looks great and runs well? Because nothing gives us the same little thrill of excitement that navigating to a company’s brand new home page does. But what, exactly, goes into creating those sleek headers, refreshing color palettes, and user-friendly interface? Does a business just hire a website marketing company that pulls a fully formed site out of nowhere, like a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat? (Hint: the answer is no.)

A lot of hard work goes into creating sites that are optimized for search engines and user experience alike, and that work is typically divided into the separate sectors of web design and web development. Unless you work at a digital marketing agency or make websites yourself, you probably aren’t overly familiar with the distinction between the two. But there is one, we promise! We’ve broken it down so that you can be better informed about the work that goes into building and maintaining a high-quality website, instead of getting stuck googling, “What is a web developer?”

Where the Disciplines Differ

We’ve already gone into the nitty gritty details of web design as compared to web development, but here’s a quick refresher to get you up to speed. Web design is primarily concerned with creating a visual concept that fits perfectly into your brand’s identity. The focus is on the look and feel of your website, and the goal is to dream big. Web development then kicks things up a notch by bringing that design to life and producing the finished product–a gorgeous, functional website that will provide high ROI and user conversions.

Building a Website

It might seem like a magic trick, but the reality is that website creation is a collaborative effort between you, Website Designers, and Website Developers. Each person in the group has a specific job to do, including you! You function as the source of inspiration and information on your company, so the creative teams can get a clear picture of what you’re hoping to achieve with your website. Here’s what everyone else is doing to help the site creation process move along.

Web Designer

What would your ideal website look like? Who is your target audience? How do you want them to feel when they click on your page, and how will you keep them engaged with your content? These are all questions that web designers take into account when concepting a new website. At Snap, you’ll work closely with our expert Designers as they gather everything our team needs to create your dream website.

The process begins with a comprehensive competitive analysis and demographic research as we learn about your ideal users, brainstorm content, and map out everything your site will need to optimize your conversion rate. As our Designers map out your site, they’ll be considering and testing out the journey you want your customers to experience when they visit your website. Every visual aspect of that journey, from color schemes to typography and animations and graphics, is all thanks to them! The result of all their careful planning and concepting will be an optimized wireframe, which details the website’s interface–ideal user behaviors, intended functionalities, and engaging content included.  

Web Developer

After all that design work, it’s time to bring the whole thing to life. This is where Web Developers step in and take charge with a little magic of their own–in the form of coding! We’re talking Javascript, HTML, CSS, Python, and more. (Magic, or another language? Sometimes we wonder.) Ultimately, they’ll turn that wireframe into a website that functions across platforms and is readable by search engines.

Web development is a complex process, but our experts at Snap are up to the task. Front End Web Developers are responsible for bringing all that user functionality concepted by the design team to life. That means they’ll be writing all the necessary scripts to make buttons click, videos play, and your clients interact with your page happily. Back End Web Developers take care of the “server side” of the website, as opposed to the “client side.” Essentially, this involves writing scripts that can handle requests to the database and send information back. While you don’t necessarily see this part of the web development as a site user, you can thank Back End Developers for your dynamic site running smoothly.

Maintaining a Website

You won’t have to worry about our Developers launching your new website and then riding off into the sunset without a backwards glance. At Snap, we’re in it for the long haul. Not only will we work to optimize your website before it goes live, our team will continue to monitor your site after it launches to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Technology does change, links can break when external articles and videos are removed, and changes may have to be made periodically to your site. We’ll make certain that your questions are answered, your site remains updated, and your users receive the best possible experience.

Whipping Your Site into Shape

If you’re looking to start 2019 off right with a beautiful new website, look no further. The experts at Snap would love to help you create a bold, creative site that perfectly expresses your brand and captivates consumers. With the combined talent of our Designers and Developers, we’ll meld form with function to launch your ideal website or update an existing one. Reach out today to learn more about our web design and other services.