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What’s The Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

Posted on December 30, 2016 by Christopher Rhines

Ready to take that leap and have a website created for your new business? Already have a website, but is it time for that site to receive a much-needed facelift? Almost every website project that we dive into can be broken down into two distinct parts: web DESIGN and web DEVELOPMENT. So… what’s the difference between these two things?

Before getting into the differences between web design and web development, let’s first go over something completely outside the realm of building websites: building a house.

Before a house can be built, several things need to happen first. Someone must create the design of the house. The design of the house includes elevation and plot drawings, several floor plans, color selection (make sure the brick looks good!) and numerous other aesthetic items related to the look and feel of the house.

After the design of the house is completed, that paves the way for the actual construction to begin. The construction includes pouring the foundation, erecting walls, plumbing, electrical, installing kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures, and so on. The house’s design serves as the starting point and guide for how the “guts” of that house will be constructed, in order to turn the design into a fully functional 3-dimensional space.

Ok, enough about houses. The reason for explaining (in very general terms) how a house is built, is because a very similar process is followed when crafting new website.

Before a website can be programmed (or developed), it must first be designed. Just as the design of a house includes aesthetic elements, the same is true for websites. A website’s design includes things such as page layout, navigation, color schemes, and other miscellaneous items related to style, look, and feel. The site’s design sets the tone, and without these visual guidelines, it would be incredibly difficult to program the website to look and work properly.

1b2a7fb659109c3c4f39571a69f25741After the website’s overall design and style has been determined, it’s time for development to begin. Web development refers to the programming or coding of a website. Whereas the design covers all look-and-feel details, the development of site includes building the site’s individual pages, making sure navigational elements work correctly, implementing content management systems, building ecommerce shopping carts, making sure the website works correctly on mobile devices, and so on. Web development is the equivalent of building a house’s infrastructure. The development of a website includes all those “plumbing”, “electrical”, and “HVAC” functions that turn the initial web design into a fully functional and usable website.

It’s very important to select website professionals that are competent in BOTH design and development. Some web designers sometimes don’t have the first clue how to begin programming their designs into working websites, and some web developers don’t have an artistic bone in their body, that would enable them to create eye-catching web designs. Here at Torx, we have you covered with professional web designers AND web developers.

Questions? Comments? Contact us below, or give us a call at 804-577-8679!

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About the author:

Christopher Rhines

Partner, Director of Development

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Christopher is the Director of Development and one of the partners at Torx. In addition to keeping Torx's Richmond office firing on all cylinders, he can often be found deep in the trenches, building custom content management systems and WordPress-powered websites. He still remembers how to write Basic computer programs on Apple IIs and Commodore 64s.