When it comes to web development and web design, many people don't realise quite how big a difference there is between the two. And if building websites is not your business then it's not really surprising you wouldn't know the difference, and furthermore many design agencies and development companies now offer both services (even if they actually outsource one or both parts), making it harder still to differentiate the two.
In fact there are very different skills involved, the web design being a highly creative process and the web development being a very logical, procedural and repetitive process, and therefore you need two very different people (or teams) to handle each of these roles.
Understanding the difference between the services offered by an ASP.NET web development company such as ourselves, and those offered by a web design agency can help you to better understand the whole process of producing your content managed or ecommerce website and help you understand what these two parties will each be bringing to the table.
More details on each below.
Web designers are the professionals who are responsible for creating the design exactly as you can see it on your screen. Design is typically easier for people to associate with because most people can appreciate how the images, colour schemes and fonts all work together even when they have no experience of design or programming.
The web designer will choose the colour scheme and the graphics, create logos, decide which combinations work best and make sure that the website is original and stands out to make a good impression on your website visitors so as to encourage a positive user experience and lead to a good first impression (and ongoing impression) of the website and your business.
Generally the process would begin by developing your logo and branding (unless these have been designed already and you are happy with them), and the website would be designed very much to work with the logo and any other existing branding.
Once the design of the site has been completed as a visual (perhaps as a PDF for instance), this design then needs to be turned into the structural code that produces a webpage - i.e. the HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) need to be produced, and this is sometimes handled by the web designer if they are familiar and proficient with HTML and CSS, or is otherwise handled by the web development team.
So this is really the transition point from the design to the programming, and is a part of the process that is generally under valued and under appreciated. Producing high quality HTML and CSS requires a very good understanding and knowledge of HTML and CSS (generally having worked with it for years) and involves testing across lots of browsers (multiple versions of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari) and now also testing on more and more mobile devices and tablets.
If this isn't done properly then visitors to your website may receive an immediately bad user experience if it doesn't look right on their particular device, and it will be less effectively ranked on the search engines.
A web developer also has to consider search engine optimisation (SEO), as there are many SEO related factors that need to be considered within a website (separate to many other SEO related factors that need to be considered OFF the website such as link building and social media), and given the web developer normally sits in the middle of the project having taken the design on one hand, considering SEO at the other end, and doing lots of programming work in the middle, the web developers will mostly host the website and provide ongoing support and content management tools, so the web developer is very central to the whole process.
The Importance of Web Design and Development
If you want to launch a business website then it will be important for you to have both a specialist web designer and web developer on board, such as a company specialising in ASP.NET web development. In the end, both the designer and developer are vitally important and need to work well together and help each other, even though their actual roles and tasks are very different.
Webigence focus solely on the web development aspect of the process, which as described above can involve us building the HTML and CSS from the designs and then always involves the subsequent steps to take the HTML and CSS and produce the database driven functionality based on the specific website requirements.
We are also normally involved from the very beginning of the project before the design has been started, to work with all parties to discuss the project, work out the most sensible functionality and specification for the project as a whole and make suggestions and recommendations based on our 10+ years experience developing content managed and database driven websites.
We work with web designers and digital/marketing agencies on a daily basis, so whether you already have a designer in mind to work with, or you would like us to recommend an appropriate designer, we are happy to work with any designers or design teams.
Please do feel free to contact us on 020 8739 0030 and we look forward to finding out more about your project and helping you to make it happen!
Blog written by Simon Wilkinson