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When you get a new website you may see web design and web development listed separately on the quote. While they may seem very similar, it is important to understand the difference between the two, and why both are vital for the proper working of your website.

So what is the difference between web design and web development?


The simple answer is that the design is purely how the website looks, and development is how the website works and is built. However in practice, it is rarely as simple as this, and the skills of the person creating your website are likely to be wide ranging, especially if you hire a freelancer or a small company. The size of the company is important, as the role of designers and developers is largely dependent on the structure of the team. Larger companies will tend to have separate design and development teams, allowing designers to create the design of the website in a program like Photoshop, and then pass it onto the development team to build as a website. While someone working freelance will often do both the design and build of the website.

For example, here at WebBoss we have our design team, who work alongside the development team at, and as we are all usually working within the one room, the teams work seamlessly together. Our teams have knowledge of both design and development, and this allows us to blend the features together to create a beautifully finished product.

Usually the designers will begin websites using Photoshop, this allows them to easily add or edit different elements that make up the whole design, such as colours, layouts, and fonts. Once the design has been signed off by the customer, the designer will start to implement the design for the website. As we use the proprietary system, the majority of the website build is complete, allowing the designers to add their design quickly. For freelancers using an open source platform such as WordPress, they will usually begin the process in the same way, but when it comes to the build of the website, they will need to have some development skills to get the design fully implemented, and may use a template to base the design upon as this makes the building of the website easier.

While the designers are busy doing what they do best, the developers will be involved in creating any extra functionality that is not already part of the system. Here at WebBoss, our developers also focus on improving and developing the system with new features and modules. Freelance developers may find that they are developing some complex functionality for websites from scratch, or else researching, installing, and customising plugins to ensure the customer has the required functionality.

This is of course a generalisation, and so won't be true for all designers and developers, and will depend on a number of factors (such as level of functionality required, and what platform is being used for your website). For example, similar to many freelancers, our designers know the basic coding languages like HTML and CSS. Developers will be able to work with HTML and CSS as well, but will use other coding languages such as Javascript and PHP to create working features for the website. One of our developers even began his career as a designer before moving on to development, so many skills can be transferable.

At the end of the day the simplest way to know the difference is to ask yourself these questions:

Does it affect how the website works? If so, it's probably development.

Is it more about how the website looks? If so, it's probably design.

If you're still unsure and have a question about your website, we can direct your query to the correct team to find the answer you're looking for.

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