The Difference Between Website Design And Development

Today, websites are a central part of the marketing platform for any organization. Building a website requires many specialized skills on both the operational side of the website development and on the visual side of website design. Many businesses that are in the process of creating a website, have a hard time distinguishing the differences between the two. In this article, we will summarize the differences between these two distinct yet vital functions: website development and website design.

What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between web design and web development can be compared to something like a car and how it is built. The appearance of a vehicle is the design and the mechanism of the vehicle is the development process. The combination of the two is what allows everything to come together and cause the car to look great and function correctly. You also can’t have one without the other.

To use that analogy for websites, the design is the visible side that your customers see. It is intended to be visually appealing and on-brand. Website development is the side that is “behind the scenes” and allows it to function. Both are necessary for the combination to make the whole thing work!

The meeting point between these two different worlds must be done in parallel and must be created according to specific coding and graphic design elements. The challenge is, very few companies have the internal resources to code and create the design. A business, especially one that is small, might have an in-house graphic designer or someone who can code out the site, but very rarely do they have both. Even large companies struggle to have those resources.


Another important consideration is how your website looks on a mobile device. With the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets, the need to create an interactive and user-friendly website is key. That is why it has to work with as many devices as possible or else you could be losing customers. This starts with the design phase, which ensures it looks great on multiple devices and from there it is developed correctly to ensure it actually works on those devices.


Web Development

The key factors for a properly developed website are:

  • Making it convenient and simple to operate for users
  • An adaptive website that works on a wide variety of web browsers
  • Responsive so it works on a wide variety of devices
  • Technically sound so it is easily found by search engines such as Google

Web Design

The key factors of website design are:

  • Providing a convenient and user-friendly interface
  • Building quality navigation that allows users to find what they are looking
  • Create a unique visual appearance to make your site stand out in a competitive market
  • Using consistent branding throughout the site
  • Using consistent fonts and content so it sounds like it’s all from the same ‘voice’

What’s the Difference?

Building a website starts with design and a detailed plan needs to be created that includes the following factors:
Formulate Goals of the Website –  Believe it or not, this all starts with design. Do you want new leads or do you want to make online sales? A properly designed site allows you to visualize the user experience and help the user go down the intended path. Once the site is designed, developing the site correctly will let those goals be achieved.


Design the Website for Any Device – Understanding what devices your target audience uses is also part of the design process. You need to create functions that match the different browsing needs of your audience and the site needs to work with different web browsers, different screen sizes, and different devices – mobile, tablet, and desktop.


Understand the Audience – It is also important to adapt the design and “visual language” of the site to the main target audiences. The process of designing a website that allows every member of your audience to focus on what’s important will allow them to enjoy their time on your site. If the site isn’t visually appealing, you will lose your audience quickly.


One of the best ways to manage the process of developing and designing a website is by outsourcing one or both of those components. The added bonus of outsourcing is it allows the pros to do what they are best at by creating an up-to-date and easy-to-operate website that has an attractive visual appearance.


At NetGain, we have experienced developers and designers. Our team will ensure that projects are delivered with professional results that exceed client expectations

Contact us by phone at 1.888.797.2455 or visit our website.