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Web Design vs Web Development: Key Differences to Decide What is Right for You

By Steve Torres | February 19, 2021

Web Design vs Web Development: Key Differences to Decide What is Right for You

If you take a look at Google Analytics, you will notice that companies are searching for web designers and web developers. These days, both the terms are practically interchangeable because web companies change how they explain their services. In reality, both these terms have different career paths. Each one requires a different skillset, and they are different aspects of the process of building a website. It is highly essential to know the difference between web design vs web development, especially when you are looking to hire someone to develop or design your website.

For those who have a little idea of it, you may think that if you become a web designer, you will be able to create beautiful designs and work on the website’s looks. Or if you become a web developer, you will have the power to build amazing apps and websites. But, it is not all about it, and there is a lot more to know about both topics.

Even if you want to choose a career path, you must know the difference between web design vs web development to decide which one is right for you. Below are the main differences between web design vs web development to select the suitable one for you.

An introduction to Web Design and Web Development

Honestly, it won’t make that much of a difference whether you choose to begin web development or web design. Acquiring digital skills is more critical, and it will help you make more money and optimize your existing skills. And it is irrespective of the fact that you are a web designer or a web developer.

Before you decide which tech career path to choose, you must be well aware of what web developers and designers do. Some people think web development is challenging because it requires exceptional programming knowledge. On the other hand, some people believe that design is problematic because it requires a high level of creative expertise.

Whenever you start anything from scratch, every new skill can be challenging, irrespective of what you think. Therefore, they are not more or less challenging than one another. But, your strengths and weaknesses will decide which area will have lesser resistance for you.

Also Read: How to Become a Web Developer?

How much do Web Developers and Web Designers Earn?

Web Developers earning

If you take a collective look at both the professions’ salaries, it will look as if web developers make way more than web designers. A web designer’s average salary in the US is 66 thousand USD, whereas a web developer’s average wage in the US is 87 thousand USD.

However, when you start in-depth research and compare the salaries of specific web design fields with web development, you will notice that they make more than developers. For example, a mobile designer makes 92 thousand USD in the US, and an Interaction designer makes 93 thousand USD, and a UX designer also makes 92 thousand USD.

All in all, a web developer makes more than a web designer on average. At the same time, there are some places where a web designer makes more than a web developer; but as a beginner, you shouldn’t worry about these things. Whether you take up web designing or web development, it will take a lot of time and experience to become a senior designer or developer and earn the highest amount.

Nonetheless, web designers still earn a lot of money. Since both options will make you a fair amount of money, the cost shouldn’t be a big concern. It will be best to choose the one you enjoy and not the one with slightly higher pay, but it doesn’t make you happy.

Do Web Designers Code?

They have to learn HTML and CSS. Some designers even write JavaScript code with the help of CSS preprocessors. So, if web designers need a smooth site, they can code it for themselves.

Some designers do not code, majorly graphic designers. But, most web designers can change their design into a functioning prototype with HTML and CSS. The ideal way to make a significant amount of money is to be an expert in designing and developing. Web designers who are good at coding are in exceptionally high demand.

What are the exact roles of Web Designers and Web Developers?

If you compare web design vs web development, you must also know what all their duties are. Both of them can build a website from the basics. Developers focus more on design implementation, whereas designers take care of the planning—both designers and developers code. Now, let’s see the Skills that are essential To Hire designers and developers.

Skills and tools that are vital for web designers

  • Photoshop
  • Typography
  • Color palettes
  • Branding
  • Responsive design elements
  • User experience design

Skills and tools that web designers can choose

  • HTML and CSS
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • Vector Graphics
  • Sass/LESS (not as much)

Skills and tools that are vital for a web developer

  • HTML and CSS
  • Responsive design elements
  • JavaScript and jQuery
  • Git and GitHub
  • Sass and LESS

Skills and tools that web developers can choose

  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
  • WordPress
  • PHP
  • Photoshop (not as much)
  • Typography (not as much)
  • Color Palettes (not as much)
  • Branding (not as much)
  • User Experience design (not as much)

Now, web developers are the ones who build the website. If we dive deeper into it, they code the design, layout, and features according to a client’s needs. They take care of a website’s technical aspects, as its capacity, functionality, and performance. These factors indirectly impact the traffic of a website.

A web designer is the one who designs the layout of the website. They take care of how it looks and all the visuals they can add to optimize a website’s structure. If you look at it one way, a web developer is the one who has built a plane, whereas a web designer is the pilot of an aircraft.

Both are equally essential. One thing that is different from the example is that web developers rely more on technical skills, whereas web designers rely more on creative skills. But, they can acquire both skill-sets. It will be beneficial for them, and many such people take care of both the design and the development part.

A closer look into the aspects of web design


Web designers have to start by keeping the client’s requirements in mind. They then move on to the Information Architecture to assist them in the design process and set the order for the website information.

After that, they start with the wireframe creation, and once they do all of it, they move to the design stage. Web designers use numerous simple design principles to obtain the ideal web design and offer the friendliest user experience.

What are some basic web design principles?

  • Balance: Having a balance in the website layout is essential. Web designers maintain a healthy balance between the heavy and light elements. Heavy refers to dark colors, whereas light refers to bright colors.
  • Contrast: Web designers have to take a look at the size, shapes, and textures that are contrasting so that they can draw the attention of the visitor to a particular section of the website. However, you will see that contrasting colors are not facing in the color wheel.
  • Consistency: It is a crucial web design principle. For instance, consistency and clarity in navigation help provide the ideal user experience that you need for the visitors.
  • Emphasis: It is a principle that talks about emphasizing a particular element in the web layout. Now, if you emphasize everything on your website, you will indirectly end up stressing nothing. Consider it like a book that has 100% highlighted text. So, web designers tread carefully here and take the help of the Information Architecture at this stage.
  • Unity: It is the correlation between all parts of the layout and the overall composition. It also deals with how our brains organize the information visually by segregating elements into categories.

A closer look into the aspects of web development

You can also call web developers programmers. They take up the Best Design from the web designers and develop a fully working website. Here is a more straightforward way to understand it.

Web developers consider the design as a non-interactive picture. They break it into its components. After that, developers use HTML or a similar approach with the help of languages like PHP to develop other pages on the website.

All in all, web developers convert a steady layout into a functional website by using sliders, videos, images, functioning buttons, links, and many more interactive elements.

Developers also use content management software (CMS) like WordPress to smoothen the developmental process. It also makes it easy for the clients to maintain their website after it is functional periodically.

Roles of Web developers

What are some basic web development principles?

    • Code Responsibility: Code responsibility covers performance, validation, semantics, documentation, quality competency, integrity, judgment, maintainability, and various aspects.
    • User Focus: Irrespective of whatever is going on in the development, it is vital to focus on the user and develop according to what they will like. Our users are not only the ones who are using the system but also the peers. You can even get feedback from other developers in your team.
    • Quality Focus: The quality focus differentiates an amateur developer from an expert developer and a professional developer. Many people can assemble things and build a website, but only a few can develop a high-quality website.
    • Simplicity: Simplicity is the most crucial principle to follow in web development. Keeping it simple is the best policy because adding complications in the developmental stage may impact the result. If there are too many diversions and similar things, it will confuse the users. All in all, it will hamper the progress of your website.

Web Design vs Web Development: Approach

Web designers take an interest in the visual part. For instance, when you ask someone for directions, they say that you need to turn left when you see the building. They also depend on intuition and feelings because they spend a lot of time improvising the website’s look.

They like to come up with innovative ideas and think of the entire picture. For instance, if the web developer is building an amusement park, they will mainly focus on the park’s vibe and try to bring in elements that will enhance the vibe.

Also Read: Creative Website Ideas

Web developers take a more logical and practical approach. For instance, if they are lost, they will rely on GPS, a compass, or the stars instead of depending on significant landmarks. They consider all of it as a big pool of data that they can use for a large number of things,

If you ask a web developer to write a word on the bottom of a page, they will look for the fastest and most efficient way to do so and even measure it.

They like taking up massive projects by handling it one step at a time and mainly concentrating on the details. Similarly, if you ask a web developer to build an amusement park, they will focus more on the rides’ physics, how many people can fit in, and similar things. After considering all of it, they will go a step at a time.


Final Words

So, these were all the differences and factors of web design vs web development. After going through these things, you will have a clearer mind to decide what is suitable for you. The decision will be shaping your career, so you must go slow with it. Either way, being a web designer, or a web developer is highly prestigious in itself. You can earn handsomely and live your life the way you want to live.

What matters is which field is more inclining to you, web development or web design. Furthermore, a person who is an expert in both fields is always in high demand. Web developers and designers work closely together many times, and in most projects, there is a high demand for both of them.

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