This seems obvious at first, but for some reason portions of the industry continue to perpetuate this notion that each and every web designer is a web developer and vice versa. This becomes ever more apparent when browsing leading blog categories. Often the web design category will be largely filled with development related topics. Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with this, but I think we should just call a spade.

This isn’t a contest

Separating these two vocations has nothing to do with the validity of one over the other. Both disciplines require specific talents that take countless hours to practice and control. With that said, it takes a unique individual to be able to conquer both web design and development on a scale equal to a multi-person, multi-skilled team. However, it is fairly obvious why these two services often come in a packaged offer. Each is only half of the toolset used to create a functional website, one dictating form and other dictating function.

What is Web Designing?

Web designing is what you see and make out of the site when you visit it as a user. It is the front-end of a website which shows all of its content, theme, color combos, layout etc. It’s all about the look and feel that you get by visiting a website. Web designing also gives a general idea of what the website stands for. It is very important for a web designer to balance all colors, themes, layouts to make the website look professional. It is also important to make your website design unique so it stands out in the crowd. Designing isn’t an easy task, you’ve to take care of a lot of things so that the whole website looks professional. A web designer needs to take care of lot of things while making a new design like

  • Making the user interface easy
  • Simple navigation
  • Knowledge of new latest design trends in the market.
  • Branding of the website with the business.

What is Web Development?

Web development is the development of the website on front-end and back-end. You may also say that web development is the soul in a website where web designing is the body. The work of web development is to bring the website to live. As the web development has two parts Front-End and Back-End

Front-End Development

To create a full-fledged website a front-end web developers uses three languages at its fullest

  • HTML- Hypertext Markup Language
  • CSS- Cascading Style Sheet
  • JS- JavaScript

Front-end is about designing the layout of the website, Theme management, Image insertion etc.

Back-End Development

The server data and the request coming and coming to/from the server is controlled by back-end. Back-end development is required only when the website has dynamic tasks to perform. Here dynamic means to have interaction with the website. Like creating an account on a website so you login and do the tasks that you have. Back-end are like backbone of a website using the languages like PHP and MySQL.

The combo designer/developer

If you are looking to interact with a single person advertising themselves as both the designer and developer, be sure you first have a conversation with them about what their lead skill is. If the freelancer is a designer first, for example, they may not have equal strength in their development skills to support certain custom web technologies, E-commerce and CMS’s come to mind.

Find what you need

If you are looking for web design and development, just be sure to know what you are seeking. If a freelancer only advertises they do one of the two, then inquire further to be sure that they are capable of what you need to do. Often enough either the designer or developer will know of other freelance professionals and can make arrangements to bring in another team member.

Why the distinction

Both industries have passed a point of critical mass, sure in the early days of web design and development, the two were inseparable. However that is not that case anymore, each has very distinct learning paths and jobs titles are more often than not separated into two categories: web designer and web developer. Agencies of all sizes are departmentalizing their labor into these two categories, with some overlap of course, often as front-end developer/designers. But as soon as the heavy lifting needs to be done in either category, the specializations shine through and a designer or developer will wear their appropriate hats.