Terms like design and development are thrown around freely when it comes to building websites — sometimes a little too freely. After all, these terms have specific definitions and so cannot be used interchangeably.

But what exactly are these specific definitions, and why is it so important to understand the differences between custom web development and custom web design?

In this post, we’re going to be examining this in a bit more detail.

What is custom website design?

When we think of design, we often think of themes or aesthetics, and these certainly do play a part in achieving the best possible design outcomes for a client’s website.

But there is more to website design than this. Web designers not only come up with sharp aesthetics that really support the ethos and identity of your company, but they also design the practical structure of the site, as well as the experience and interactions that the user will have when they visit the webpage.

Basically, this is a process of planning and conceptualising ahead of the final build.

What is custom website development?

Website development is a little more practical. It involves building code and creating functional elements that make the website work. In other words, the development phase involves interpreting and translating the design so that the right aesthetics, experience and interactions are supported by the finished product.

Both design and development phases require creative flair and a strong understanding of user needs. However, website development requires a high level of technical knowledge in order to build code and to craft functionality, both of which are complex processes that call for a solid command of computing languages.

Why it’s important to know the difference

There is an element of crossover between the duties of the web designer and the developer. Both the design and dev phases require a creative flair and a strong understanding of user needs. What’s more, for the best outcomes, the designer should also understand the technical aspects of the build, so that design is not only realistic to build, but will also fall within the project parameters in terms of time and budget.

However, despite these overlaps, the two processes are distinct for the most part. An expert web development team may not have the artistic and creative flourish required to achieve a great web design. Conversely, a team of web designers won’t necessarily have the coding nous needed to put their designs into action.

These two processes are distinct, and the personnel involved in each tend to be intrinsically wired differently; creative vs analytic. 

This is why a two-pronged approach is required, with teams of specialists working within their own areas of expertise but coming together to achieve harmonious results.

This idea of communication and collaboration is important.

As we have seen, there are overlaps between the two processes, and exceptional development services rely upon great design services, and vice versa.

A great website project experience requires a team that understands and offers all of this.