Many clients think of Web Design and web development as the same thing. They in fact represent very different aspects of the process of building a great website. Web development uses programming language to create the foundations and infrastructure you need. It allows your website to function in the ways you need it to do, from movement among pages to links and ecommerce capabilities. Web design, on the other hand, focuses on the look and feel of your website, the creative and artistic elements.
While these require different skill sets and meet different needs for your business, they are most effective when they work in concert. Your website is most effective when it both looks good and works well. The process of building out both the right user interface and the right user experience uses different but complementary approaches to both bring you page views and convert the viewers into customers.
Web Development Builds Your Structure
Your user interface, or UI, is a product of web development. If you think of building a house, before you get to the point of it looking beautiful, you need it to do the things you need. This starts with laying a foundation; you need stability to hold everything up. You then need to build the framework: walls, support beams, a roof. Next you need to build in, setting up walls and doors and halls that map out the movement from one room to the next. You fill in the structural elements to create a solid home, one that won’t blow over when the winds pick up, or sink or cave in when the rains come.
Web development works in the same way for your website. All the pretty web pages you can create don’t matter if you don’t have a structure in place to allow users to find you and navigate from one page to another. A web developer writes the scripts and the coding protocols to give substance to your site. Your site needs pathways to move users among your pages, to take a user from your landing page to your blog to your about and ecommerce pages.
In addition, web development means creating the metatags and SEO subtext that helps bring searchers to you in the first place. Search engines crawl your site structure as well as the copy you create for your site. They move across the data users never see, descriptions and tags that tell them what the site is about in ways no one else sees. Once users are there, the web developer connects the site within itself. Your website contains more than just a series of pages; it works because it works as an interconnected whole. Everything fits together to promote and represent your business.
Web Design Creates Your Appearance
When you have the structure in place, you then need to create a look. Think again of the new house. The foundation, support, walls, roof, rooms, and hallways all help make a house functional. But having those things in place doesn’t give you a home in which you are ready to host a gathering. You want to set up a coherent theme: colors, designs, furniture, appliances, all that work well together. More than that, they need to come together in ways that reflect you. Some homeowners like an eclectic country feel, while others want a sleek modern look. Some may want warm woodwork while others want distinctive metal tones. The right design for one person may be precisely wrong for another.
In the same way, your website’s structure will not by itself bring you online marketing success. Your web designer moves from user interface into the realm of user experience. Your web design should revolve around your brand: your logo, your colors, your company’s reason for being. Every page needs to show your potential customers who you are, in a way that fits your company and your customers’ needs. A good web designer thinks about every color and shade, every font, every image and video. The creative elements of your site reflect you and create a tone that welcomes users and encourages them to stay.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Web development and web design certainly represent two different functions that go into building your website. So why would you go to one company to handle both? After all, people typically hire different companies to build and then design a home. Each company uses its own expertise to deliver part of what you need and want, and the design aspects generally follow after the development piece.
The difference for web development and web design, though, is that you cannot separate the two functions nearly as cleanly. They differ cleanly in theory, but in practice, they both intersect and interact to help your site deliver on your marketing needs. Your web designer creates visual elements built on programming language, and those visual elements must fit within the structure you create. Further, when you add visual media to enhance the user experience, the structure must often be adapted to fit the media you add—and then layer in the SEO tags and text that make them work for you.you you
The best-performing websites evolve over time. New content ensures continued page views and the ability to attract new customers to you. Unlike your house, this means the structure needs to grow along with it. When you use separate companies for your development and your design, this means you have to move constantly back and forth, with each of your vendors responding and adapting to the other. You lose time and efficiency in a world where both of them matter very much.
At 1st in SEO, we provide excellent Web Development and web design as two sides of the same coin. We work to make both elements operate together, not just at your initial website launch, but over the long haul. We adapt with your company and help you build out an effective web presence that continues to work for you.