Mar 22, 2024
min read

Difference Between Web Design and Web Development

Why does website design differ from development? Which is more important? How to prioritize on web design and development? These and other questions answered.

Nowadays, having a website has become so basic that a company or an expert without one is automatically considered unreliable. No wonder, everyone asks for robust web design and development services to help them promote products and services online.

Furthermore, when you compare the first website ever from 1991 to the present, you can see how much they have developed. Today, the web is increasingly complicated, requiring a diverse mix of jobs and skill sets.

So, let’s draw a strict line between website design and development. For that, the Uni team has prepared a comprehensive and brief overview. It shows how the two approaches collide and why they are both crucial for any online project today.

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What is Website Design?

Most people suppose that a web designer only creates separate graphical elements like icons, banners, logos, etc. It’s true, but not completely. A web designer does a lot more — it takes care of prototypes, focusing more on positive user experience than mere pretty looks.

The thing is that beautiful but complicated interfaces fail to engage and retain customers. They are useless without a comprehensive structure and cohesive design. Designers ensure websites are as user-friendly as possible so that visitors would repetitively come back to them. As a result, web designers take care of many sides of a website.

Branding and Logo

Consistent branding is the number one priority for website design. It’s crucial to get memorable looks and deliver a clear message to users. “This brand is reliable, consistent, and successful enough to be your partner.” Branding helps to stand out, and good design elevates above the mediocrity.

Graphics and Layout

Appealing graphics is nothing without the explicit layout. Organizing all website elements like header, menu, footer, buttons, and illustrations into a logical structure is difficult.

Since there is no such thing as an ideal layout, the composition would differ according to the use cases. For example, a photography website design would favor large, gorgeous photographs, but an editorial site would stress text and letter spacing.

Navigation and Accessibility

Navigation, with menus and search bars, assists a user in getting from one place to another. Simple, efficient navigation allows people to swiftly and easily discover the information they need.

Furthermore, accessible sites are adapted for all users regardless of their vision difficulties. A good design will offer equal access to and usage of a website's capabilities.

What is Web Development?

Meanwhile web designers concentrate on the website graphics, web developers work on the structure, linking, security, and functionality. With programming languages such as HTML, PHP, and Java, they combine actions with visual elements. For instance, what happens when you click a button or how you scroll the page, etc.

Later, we described our experience with Framer and how it leverages website development. Read it to learn about web development more.

Programming and Code

A web developer may use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, or Drupal, or code the website from scratch. The first case is applicable in most situations, while the latter is used for specific purposes with a corresponding price.

At the same time, web development is divided into front-end and back-end development. Front-end developers bring design mockups to life, while back-end developers provide the APIs and routes for data to travel between the website and the server.

Website Speed

The bigger the design elements, the bigger the size of data the visitor’s device needs to download. If a website requires too much time to display the info, the visitors may go away before the end. So the website will be ineffective.


A website, typically, is a marketing platform for brands to promote their products online. One of the promotion tools is search engine optimization. When a visitor types in a request, e.g. “drycleaners in [city]”, the successful website will be displayed on the first page of search results.

Moreover, web developers also need to optimize web pages for certain devices and browsers based on their client's intended audience.

Major Differences Between Web Design and Development

Obviously, web design and development are different. However, the main distinction is the emphasis — while web designers create an appealing and smooth appearance, web developers construct the inner logic with the means of code and frameworks.

Web design and development are like two sides of the same coin. They are separate but interconnected since one stems from another. 

On one hand, web design emphasizes aesthetics, therefore designers must understand what makes a website visually attractive and intuitive to users. Moreover, they must ensure that the items they design are consistent with a company's brand, including logos and color palettes.

On the other hand, web developers build the functional parts of a website, while maintaining aesthetic guidelines from web designers. They must be proficient in programming languages and technologies for the web, as well as in Java server development, machine learning, the creation of APIs, and so on.

Similarities of Web Design and Development

In most cases, web design and development is an umbrella phrase that refers to the entire process of constructing a website. Web design defines a website's appearance and feel, while web development decides how it performs.

Web design and development jobs work closely together and, on very certain occasions, may be performed by the same specialist. Web designers and web developers both need programming skills, but in varying degrees.

They must also possess excellent analytical and problem-solving abilities since they must evaluate design and function choices to discover the optimum match.

Finally, web designers and developers must keep current on the newest trends, programs, and advances in their industries. When done correctly, design and development produce a unified tech-driven idea that links into and advances a company's goal, enabling it to interact with more customers more readily.

Web Design Examples vs Web Development Examples

The structure of a website strongly depends on the use case. In particular, the online portfolio differs from an e-commerce site in many aspects. Each serves a distinct function, but they're all simple to use owing to straightforward navigation, quick loading speeds, and clear layouts.

Swell Interactive is an example of a brand portfolio site, containing all information about services, cases, and expertise. Its award-winning design is state-of-the-art and inspiring. The Uni team has done their best to create immersive feels and looks for the visitors. However, the web development is straightforward as compared to the marketplaces.

Uni is a corporate site with a more sophisticated structure. It abounds in trendy visuals and cutting-edge effects, representing the bold positioning of an agency. Web development is also more complicated with a library of materials and transitions, pushing the boundaries.

Final Thoughts

If you want to improve your website, consider web design and development as two interrelated areas. In most cases, there is one team combining specialists of different backgrounds. Although design and development are not connected, they must have mutual defining points to base on.

Uni has a star team of web designers and developers who are in love with their work. We’re here to help companies to stand out and outshine their competitors. What’s better than a website could showcase the trophies of the client? And we’re ready to give the best of it.

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Dmytro Dzandzava
Delivery Manager
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