What is the difference between Web Design and Web Development?

Web design and development skills are both required in order to produce a fully functioning and successful website and nowadays web design and web development are very often mixed up as one and the same service.

Even though the intricacies of their workings may be totally different, their aims are similar and one is as crucial as the other if you really want to see results. However, it really is important to know the difference between the two as both are completely different steps of the website building process and require different skill sets.

So why is it important to understand the difference? Let's see if I can give you some clarity:


Good web design means considering the client's objectives whilst creating good looking websites and ensuring a great user experience. Experienced designers will have a wealth of knowledge and practice utilising not only HTML, but also CSS, Javascript and other graphics packages such as Photoshop, Fireworks and Illustrator to name just a few.

By using these tools they create the layout and other visuals of the website and, together with you, decide right from the outset, just how your website should look when it's completely finished. The actual design result does not contain any coding and is just a graphical representation.


Web development is the programming in the back end which converts the beautiful design into a good working and professional website. The web development can be very basic for a small static brochure website or more complex for a website which requires to be dynamic, needs a content management system, payment facility, shopping carts or a register and login area with user name and password. 

The back end programming is also a vital element required in order to increase the visitor's online experience - it is important to remember that the development goes hand in hand with the design which holds the visitor's attention at the very beginning of the whole process.

To ensure that your website is performing well and remains competitive and the back end is flexible it is very important to engage experts when planning your website and to really think about what your website needs to do when you start and what functionalities you want to add to the site in the future.  

If you want to produce a really user-friendly and professional-looking website, which is eye-catching, visually attractive and does the job you want it to do, both the design and the development need to be given your full attention in the planning process.