Web Design Vs. Web Development: Which Profession Should You Pursue?


Web design vs. web development, what is the difference between them? And should you pursue either one? Here are some tips to help you decide which profession is right for you. It’s no secret that the internet has changed the way we live; it has basically altered how we work, socialize, and make money. With the advent of startups and increased demand for online businesses, web designers and web developers are two professions that have risen to prominence. But what is it that these two professionals do?

Regarding the emergence in the application of information technology, the wave of Web Design and Development has surged for years. It is an umbrella term for a sequence of skillsets and resources, both human and machine, to implement and operate a practical website. However, when dwelling on the difference between Web Design and Development, there are no clear boundaries, yet these two practices seem to intertwine each other throughout the process.

What Is Web Design and Development?

Briefly, Web Design and Development refer to the process of building a website from scratch. As its name implies, this procedure consists of designing a webpage and developing it into an applicable one. 

In simple words, the act of web design process and web development process reflect the process of building a house. While Web Development focuses on constructing the house frame with the help of coding, Web Design determines its look and feel.

Web Design relates more to Creativity work while Web Development associates more with Computer Science. There is a thin line between the practice of these two terms as they overlap sometimes.

An illustration of Web Design and Development - Thumbnail

1. Is there a clear distinction between Web Design and Web Development?

Web Design may enclose different fields, from UI (User Interface) to UX (User Experience). A web designer’s job must qualify the layout structure of the website, visual aesthetics, and even the content arrangement. 

In the meantime, web developers work primarily with coding or writing markups. Based on the front-end action, the system will send data to the server, where the back-end developers set up an interchangeable model to calculate and proceed to the next steps. A developer’s job must turn the design into existence and make it compatible with the database and implementation.

Recommended reading: How to Make Your Own Website With 5 Free & Effective Sites

2. Web Designers vs. Front-end Developers

web design and development

However, there are three main types of developers: Front-end developers, Back-end developers, and Full-stack developers.

  • Front-end developers: working on the client side, which means demonstrating how users can see and act on the products.
  • Back-end developers: taking responsibility for the server-side that connects and interchange between the database and browser. 
  • Full-stack developers: who can handle and implement both sides. 

Technically, a web designer will research users’ behaviors to define the on-screen layout and arrange the structure logically to map with the user’s mindset. Later on, front-end developers will base on the design to make it actionable on a webpage. 

Therefore, a web designer may require a wide range of skill sets that embrace two roles: designing and developing the front-end. In some website development companies, a web designer must work on a set of tools and skills. Yet, to some website development company that requires high creative outcomes, a designer can only handle aesthetic designs and work with front-end developers to implement them in the web application. You can explore more about custom web design services in Houston and learn more about it.

Web Design vs Web Development: What’s the Difference?

These terms are often used interchangeably. But what they really mean is different things:

Web design: Designing websites and adding media

Web development: Building websites from the ground up

Let’s break down each term:

1. Web design

Web design includes any task that involves designing websites from scratch. For example, a website that allows its visitors to write a research paper might be viewed as a web design project.

2. Web development

Web development refers to the building of websites from scratch.

Though they are both regarded as web design, web developers specialize in creating single-page applications (SPA), which combine JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and jQuery in one application.

What is web design?

As the name suggests, the web design process encompasses all of the visual aspects of designing websites. The role of the web designer is to design and build an aesthetically pleasing site, containing clear, easily navigable text and attractive and functional designs such as responsive web design.

Web developers, on the other hand, work with software like Photoshop to design the look of a website. To achieve a good-looking website, developers first need to create prototyping by prototyping tools based on the design of the target site. They then use this template as a guide and use code to build the site exactly how it is intended.

Where does web design differ from web development? As a web designer, your tasks mainly involve creating a visually appealing, user-friendly website.

Three Types of Web Design

1. User experience (UX)


The UX design process refers to the experience of using a website or application. UX is crucial, especially in an online environment where a website has to cater to the needs of a diverse user base. Website usability is especially important, considering that 60 percent of internet users abandon a website within the first 30 seconds of visiting it. As a UX designer, you are the one designing the overall user experience of your client’s website or application.

Additionally, your client would likely rely on you to oversee the development of all of the different features of their website. As a result, your client would trust you to be knowledgeable about and able to prioritize the following.

2. User interface (UI)

When it comes to web design vs web development, the best term you could use is the user interface. In other words, the user interface of a website. This means how the users of a website can interact with it.

Web designers are specialists in how to build user interfaces (web apps) for websites. The web app can be a mobile app for the web, a social media app for the web, or any other mobile app for the web. You don’t have to be a web developer to build an awesome user interface, you just have to have the knowledge of HTML and CSS and the skills to use them. It’s up to you to develop the design.

Recommended reading: What is the difference between a UX, UI, and web designer?

3. Visual design

Visual design

Web design is what you think of when you think of web design, although it is not limited to only web design. Essentially, web design refers to the overall visual appearance of a website or web application. However, web design differs from web development in that it concerns the interface of a website or web application.

The visual design of web design includes the text layout, the design of the home page, the navigation and layout of the footer, and visual elements such as icons, art, backgrounds, drop-down menus, and popup dialogs. It also includes general interaction design.

A web designer can work in many creative ways; some professionals even design their own themes and graphical user interfaces. They can also offer Photoshop or Sketch software services.

What Is Web Development?

Simply put, web development is the use of computer software to build websites. It is a career that has traditionally been dominated by men, but the race to capture the market share is now as much a battle between the sexes as it is between men and women.

The history of web development dates back to the 1980s, with the first major tutorial on this topic being the How To Develop Your Own Website Tutorial. But despite the fact that this was the first tutorial available online, it was based on the programming languages COBOL, FORTRAN, and Assembly, rather than HTML and CSS.

Three Types of Web Development

1. Front-end web development

Front-end web development is an age-old art in itself, and the basic web development process is very similar to the back-end development process. But the difference is that front-end web development mainly focuses on the user interface, it involves building and developing HTML and CSS.

Front-end developers are largely responsible for the UI elements such as typography, fonts, layouts, and user interface design. They are also responsible for creating and designing the HTML and CSS of websites and other online projects.

This is because, at a basic level, HTML is the markup language used for all website content and CSS is the stylesheet used to style content on the website. Web designers or web developers are responsible for writing the HTML and CSS with the front-end development tools.

2. Back-end web development

Back-end web development
Back-end web development

Although many people think of back-end developers as coders, this profession involves much more than coding. The back-end development sector of the tech world involves creating and maintaining apps for the web. Back-end development mostly focuses on the infrastructure of websites. It involves running servers, management and performance tuning of databases, and other computer systems for websites. This kind of development isn’t as technically demanding as front-end web development, which involves designing and building interfaces.

3. Full-stack web development

You’ll find that there are two different versions of this profession. The first is the one you see being done by most websites, where the website itself is built by someone else. Instead of building a website by hand, however, it’s more efficient to build your website from scratch in a process called full-stack web development. This means the full-stack web developers will create the code, the user interface, and all the other assets you need to put a website together.

With this approach, you’ll be creating the user interface for the site on your own computer. This includes all the forms you want the visitor to fill in, the search bar, a menu, and the buttons you want them to click on to leave comments or submit forms. And because the user interface is made from your computer, it’s not a mobile-friendly website.

Five Key Strategic Elements of Web Design & Development

There are various strategic elements to developing a website that balance various factors from implementation, branding, user experience, etc. However, there are 5 essential factors to focus on when practicing custom website development.

1. Visual

Visual Design concentrates on the look and feel of a webpage. The objective of on-screen visuals is to follow the attraction of users and make them feel engaged to interact with the website. From general layout to detailed images, fonts, texts, etc., website design should consolidate important elements strategically to highlight the spots while maintaining a smooth interaction flow.

website design

Speaking of design, there are two fundamental points to take note of basic website design elements and principles. Basic elements consist of shapes, lines, color palettes, texture, typography, and form. These are simply necessary toolsets to visualize a webpage. The principles give you a strategic approach to connect these elements that could illustrate an intuitive appealing design.

An effective web design does not stop at blending all artistic elements. A good visual should help deliver further content and functions in a highly impacted way. These days, there are more web designer apps to supply designers with delivering web design trends and defining approaches practically. Consequently, web design may trigger users to explore more on-site, or furthermore, remember the brand identity.  

2. Content

Content is the backbone of your website. To the extent of Marketing, content provides exactly the information people want to search for to understand more about your Business and Brand. In some cases, the content might address businesses to a higher-ranking placement in search engines, which means having a good online presence. Yet, the ultimate goal of on-site content is to meet users’ expectations and turn their interest into potential leads that generate revenue for your business.

web design and developer

According to Harvolson, co-author of Content Strategy for the Web, content on a website should ensure the components of content and people.

Components of content consist of Structure and Substances:

A layout provides you with a structured framework for content. Thus, you can break up contents into different layers and define which should be prioritized. In terms of branding, content should focus on substances that deviate your products and services from others, which differentiate through the way you express the messages over unique tones and voices.

People components include workflow and governance:

Workflow integrates various people in different roles to supply adequate processes, tools, and resources to fulfill the content work. Meanwhile, there should be a Governance stage in assessing the content in terms of consistency, integrity, and quality.

3. Navigation

Speaking of Web Design and Development, navigation plays an essential role in connecting relevant content, creating a seamless experience, and thus, keeping people interacting and exploring more on-site. Navigation drives people to exactly where they want to explore on your webpage without frustration.

website development

Five Common Types of Website Navigation

According to the top web design agencies in this Medium article, there are various ways in which navigation can be structured. However, there are some typical types:

  • Horizontal text: Horizontal navigation is the typical practice of navigation. This is the menu bar on top of the website. When you visit a business website, there are common navigation texts that direct you to suitable landing pages, such as “About us”, “Our products/services”, or “Blog” pages. 
  • Sub-Menu: Sub-menu provides a detailed keyword following each category. Therefore, it clarifies the available options and allows users to look for what they want hassle-free. Sub-menus require more rooms, therefore, it usually appears as a footer. 
  • Vertical text: This kind of navigation is also common for websites that require a long list of expandable navigation. Its position is mostly on the left side of the page. Vertical text is very effective when users need to switch between subcategories. 
  • Drop-down menus: Drop-down menu helps save space while still providing detailed information. When you hover to a keyword on the menu, there will be a list down featuring key sub-sections. A drop-down menu is particularly user-friendly for websites owning a huge amount of content, as it reduces a major number of clicks.
  • Icons, Logos, or Graphics: Clickable icons or graphics could create a more intuitive interface. The users could link the icons with the content, which simplifies the design and makes your website more interactive.

Recommended reading: 6 Best Web Design Companies and How to Choose the Right One?

4. User-friendly

According to, 76% of respondents stated they rank the ease of finding information at the top of the most important factor of a website.  When you aim to create custom website development, you must focus on hassle-free navigation, comprehensible content, as well as convenient functionality design. Once your website causes burdensome, users might leave, and eventually, there will be a terrible drop in your traffic.

web design and development

Website user-friendly, widely known as website usability, embraces the accessibility of information and smooth manipulation throughout every action on page. To optimize website usability, the best methodology is researching to plan every step properly and testing iteratively. Some website development companies may prioritize this process to detect inconsistency and inconvenience before launching the website to market.

Utilizing some web designer apps and prototyping tools such as Figma or Adobe XD helps designers visualize the whole picture of the element arrangement on the website. Therefore, web designers can overview the flow process on the website exploring journeys to adjust or eliminate frustrating elements.

5. Intuitiveness

The easier to use your website, the longer time people will stay. The objective of intuitive design is to make people experience a natural flow on your website. An intuitive website is like a self-serving store where users visiting your website know exactly what to do themselves. A good intuitive website knows how to let users go through a series of interactions without interrupting them at any step.

web development

Intuitiveness makes use of both UX and UI principles. On one hand, it visualizes emphasized areas (buttons, links, icons,…) to direct people to the right position. On the other hand, it allows users to feel and act on pre-arranged elements.

Another essential point when designing intuitiveness for your website is dealing with the conceptual model. There is no one size fits all intuitiveness model. However, people can use their former experience when visiting other sites. Website designers must figure out the most comprehensive model that minimizes the gap between users’ assumptions and your website’s logic. 

Why Should Businesses Need Web Design and Web Development?

Benefits of a Small Business Website
Benefits of a Small Business Website

Let’s say that you are a new entrepreneur who wants to start a business online. In order to do that you need a website to communicate with customers and potential customers. These days, most businesses need online marketing to advertise their services and products and also to connect with their customers. The majority of businesses don’t have the money to invest in building a website but they do have money to hire a web designer or web developer to create and maintain a quality online presence.

Top 3 Vietnamese Web Design and Development Companies

The emergence of practicing digital applications in Vietnam has given wings to new IT generations. Thanks to the investment in technology pillar, Vietnam is now a dominant hub of IT outsourcing services. The following are the top three Vietnamese Web Design & Development companies. 

1. Beau Agency

beau agency

Based in Hanoi, Beau Agency dominates with a creative and enthusiastic team. Established in 2012, the team aims to create stunning digital experiences, as well as deliver a consistent brand experience. Their main services include:

  • Web Design and Development
  • Digital strategy
  • Product development
  • Digital experience
  • Branding strategy

Since 2017, this agency has shifted its focus to the domestic market. Their clients range from various fields, some are giant brands in Vietnam such as Viettel, British Council, FPT, Techcombank, etc. 

2. Designveloper

designveloper company

Established in 2013, Designveloper is a leading website development company. Starting from scratch, this agency strives to research and develop cutting-edge technologies that meet users’ demands at the most affordable cost. 

Their services vary from Web development, Mobile application, and Web Designs. The agency loads with talented teams under the leadership of software developers experts, to provide seamless project management and deliver the best outcomes, such as functional, large-scale, engaging mobile apps, responsive web designs, designing branding identity, etc. 

Putting customers’ satisfaction at the heart of their work, the company has gained a big reputation in the web design and development industry. Their dominant projects are Lumin PDF (with more than 22 million users), Walrus Education, Swell and Switch Board, etc. 

1. Website Design in Vietnam: What’s in it for you?
2. 20 Web Design Tools for Different Types of Web Design Software
3. How to Choose a Web Design Company That Fit Your Business?

3. Viivue

viiue web design

Viivue is a Saigon-based website development company of talented web designers and developers. Despite a wide range of web design and development services, their outstanding products are associated with an eCommerce website

The company also provides corporate branding services that are consulted by branding experts to deliver the best branding identity. Their goal goes along with a commitment to an affordable, yet beautiful website and absolute satisfaction throughout the process. 

Viivue offers services for both domestic and international clients. Their remarkable clients include Hoang Yen group, VBA, Asia Beef Network, etc.


You might be considering if web design or web development is the best choice for you. Web design vs web development are the two most common types of jobs in the tech industry, but they’re not exactly the same. If you’re not sure which one to pursue, this article will help you decide which profession will be right for your skills and interests. After reading it, you should have a clearer idea of what type of job would suit you best.



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