Web Design vs. Web Development


The article title, Web Design vs. Web Development, may sound a bit odd to you. You may think that they both mean the same thing. It’s not your fault to think so, since the terms web design and web development are often used interchangeably. But they are not the same thing, and this article helps you understand the difference between the two disciplines.

Web Design

You arrive at a website and exclaim, “WOW! That’s a nice looking website.” When you say so, you are referring to the look and feel of the website. Website design relates to the aesthetics, the overall appearance of the website – the graphics, colour scheme and fonts used, and the layout of each web page. The web designer must have an eye for aesthetics. He must carefully choose the colour combination and create graphics that help project the image of the business.

The design is what grabs a visitor’s attention. It persuades her to read further and see what the website is all about. People are not going to stay on a website that looks crappy. Having said that, how a website functions is equally important as how it looks.

Web Development

A website may be visually appealing, but how does it function? Is it cross browser compatible? Does it reach the intended audience? Is it accessible? Does it have an intuitive navigation? Does it use semantic code to ensure that the website is search engine friendly? These are the questions that a web developer needs to address.

Functionality relates to the interactive aspect of a website. This includes Flash animated graphics, database-driven dynamic web pages, form processing, content management systems, and other administration interfaces that allow non-programmers to manage the website data.


There should be equal focus on both web design and web development while building a website. A website is a success if it is:

  • visually appealing
  • cross browser compatible so more people can view it
  • accessible to all, including those who are disabled
  • reaches the intended audience
  • uses semantic code for search engine optimization
  • projects the image of the business it represents