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Difference Between Web Development and Web Design

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Often people use the terms web development and web design interchangably. Usually the context provides the meaning, but In the most simple terms web design focuses primarily on how a site looks and web development focuses on what a site can do (for more detail see; what is web development and what is web design). Of course there will always be overlaps, but we can usually think of web development and web design in these terms. Web designers tend to work on the things that we can see and interact with (menus, logos, fonts etc) whereas developers will work on the things we can't see (like ensuring users can log into your web system or that emails are successfully delivered by your web application).

Lets use our analogy from how much does a website cost to see if we can explain this further. In the analogy we expanded upon Mims H Wright's idea that a website costs about as much as a car.

Let's say we wanted to launch our own brand of car. We'll call it the SideClickMobile and it will be top of the line in terms of performance, refinement and style (cos that's how we SideClicks roll!). What does it look like? Does it have a soft-top or a hard-top? Two doors or four? These are all design decisions. Now, the engine - that's development. The suspension and access control systems - these are also development.

Since the SideclickMobile is the final word in refinement it will have great usability features like a voice activated stereo system and controls on the steering wheel. These features would all be web design responsibilities. Now, when it comes to the actual implementation of these features - the things that we cannot see - that's the realm of the web developers.

Finally, have a look at the table below where we have listed a few simple features common to websites and web applications and who would be resposible for those features.

Feature Design Development
 
Brand consistency: Ensuring the correct fonts, logos and colours are used consistently throughout the website A Design Feature Not A Development Feature
 
Layout and Design: Ensure that the site has a logical and functional layout A Design Feature Not A Development Feature
 
Responsive design: Ensuring that the design and layout are consistent access multiple devices and platforms including mobile A Design Feature Not A Development Feature
 
Access control: Ensuring that only authenticated users can view access controlled resources Not A Design Feature A Development Feature
 
Feature development: Implementing the widgets and features as required Not A Design Feature A Development Feature
 
Database integration: Integrating the system with a database Not A Design Feature A Development Feature
 
Integrating with web services and third-party applications (Dropbox, Google Maps, Twitter etc.) Not A Design Feature A Development Feature