Web Design vs Web Development

The Difference Between Web Design And Web Development

As a business owner, you know the importance of a well-functioning website that grabs customers’ attention and converts sales. A thoughtfully designed website gives an accurate representation of the goods and services you provide, is easy to navigate, and is essential to the growth and success of your business. However, many people don’t understand how to create a website that adds value, often leading to ineffective results. If you’re confused by the difference between web design and web development for your site, this article will tell you everything you need to know to have an effective website that successfully promotes your business.

What Is Web Design?

When you visit a website, everything you see comes from web design. Web design is responsible for usability and visual aesthetics; it covers everything from the flow of information and color scheme to the visuals associated with the user experience and user interface (UX/UI). Web design focuses on what users see when they are on the site, whether they’re on a desktop or mobile device, not what is happening behind the scenes to make the site run. When a website is well designed, it brings the digital experience to life through the use of images, typography, color, and layout.

Web designers have many skills that allow them to create beautiful, eye-catching websites that provide an exceptional user experience. Standard tools and skills used by web designers include:

  • Typography
  • Proficiency in Adobe Creative Suite or similar design software
  • An understanding of how to use a color palette
  • Graphic design skills
  • Knowledge of wireframes, storyboards, and mock-ups
  • UI design
  • Branding
  • UX design
  • Ability to place call to action buttons
  • Logo design
  • Format/ layout

Along with the skills and tools listed above, many web designers are proficient with CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, which allows them to create mock-ups of web apps. This skill is helpful when pitching an idea to a team or ensuring the UX/UI of an app runs smoothly.

What Is Web Development?

Where web design focuses on the visuals of a website, web development deals with the codes that make it run. Web development falls into two categories: front and back-end, each with an important role in ensuring the site functions smoothly.


The front-end code is the side that the client sees and determines how the website displays the designs created by the web designer. It’s common for a front-end developer to work closely with a web designer to ensure the site looks and runs perfectly. Although the front-end developer doesn’t make mock-ups, choose color palettes, or pick typography, it is their job to bring them to life. Front-end developers need to understand what the designer has in mind, so they can choose the best technology to create the desired look and final result. Specific skills front-end developers should have include:

  • A keen understanding of search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Knowledge of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS
  • Understanding of Git and GitHub
  • Working knowledge of CSS preprocessors (Sass or LESS)
  • Libraries like jQuery
  • Frameworks (Ember, AngularJS, ReactJS)
  • Web template design


The back-end is the server-side of the application and manages the data located within the database. It serves the data it creates to the front-end so it can be displayed. Back-end designers are responsible for handling the application’s back-end data management and business logic. They are the ones writing the routing and APIS that allow the flow of data between the front and back ends of an application. If the back-end developer doesn’t do their job correctly, the entire site won’t work, making their job vital to the functionality of the website they create. Back-end developers must understand programming languages and possess specific skills to ensure the process runs smoothly. These skills include:

  • Understanding servers (Express, Linux, Apache)
  • Server-side program language (C#, PHP, Java, Python)
  • Security and authentication (PassportJS, OAuth)
  • Server-side web development frameworks (.NET, Ruby on Rails, Symfony)
  • RESTful APIs
  • Database management systems (PostgreSQL, MySQL, MongoDB)

If a web developer is proficient with both front-end and back-end technology, they are called full-stack developers.

Web Designer And Web Developer Differences At A Glance

Now that you understand the differences between web design and web development, here is a quick look at the differences between those working in each field.

Web Developers Generally Cost More

Considering the high level of coding skills needed to be a web developer, it’s no surprise they cost more than web designers. The average cost of a web developer is $100/hr compared to a web designer at $75/hr.

Web Designers Add Visual Assets

Visual assets bring the website to life and help keep the user engaged. Web designers are responsible for adding visual assets to the site, whereas web developers use code to ensure they are correctly implemented into the page.

Web Designers Don't Deal With Coding

Although the vast majority of web designers don’t deal with coding, that doesn’t mean they can’t use their talents to help build a website. Web designers use tools like WordPress and Wix to create a beautiful and functional website.

Should I Use A Web Designer Agency Or Web Development Agency On My Site?

Knowing whether to use a web design agency or web development agency can be confusing and depends on many factors. However, not every design agency has access to both high-quality web designers and web developers. That’s why you should turn to CBK Digital Marketing. At CBK, we specialize in custom professional web design, e-commerce solutions, and search engine marketing, combining the benefits of a web design agency and web development agency into one!

We have the expertise you need to guide your business in the right direction! Locally owned and operated in San Antonio, CBK Digital Marketing knows how to help you level up your business with a new or existing website. Don’t waste another day without a website to help propel your business forward. Let our experts show you how a strong online presence can be the game-changer you’ve been searching for.