Very often, we've seen people using the terms – website design and website development interchangeably. Though they are not the same thing but depend a lot on each other to decide the outcome of every website. To get a better idea of what characterizes the outcome of a website and how designers and developers work collectively to decide the fate of a website, let's understand who does what, how and when.
Website design encompasses what a visitor sees on a website such as text, font, images, layout etc., while the development takes care of the functionality of a website. Every website contains several distinct aspects and it's essential to begin with a clear strategy so that it's apparent what they are trying to achieve.
First comes the core purpose of a website. Identifying the motive of a website helps in defining various ingredients necessary to ensure that it meets the needs of the target audience for look and feel, content, functionality and usability.
Once the designers are certain about the target audience of a website, they begin to generate ideas to create the layout or story board that will build-up the structure and the appearance of web pages. This includes the title of site's each page, logical diagram, and placement of various characters such as images, videos, interactivity links and much more. Next is to decide the information architecture / sitemap that defines which content will be placed on what page and how the content will be interconnected on the web pages. Designers merge imagination and creativity to get the desired results. Website designers use Photoshop, Flash and HTML tagging to formulate each page of the website.
On the other end, custom website development involves putting life into what a designer has visualized ie using development technologies like PHP, ASP.NET, ASP, Coldfusion, JSP etc. for programming the back-end of a website and integrating it into the HTML pages on the site.
Website developers also conduct testing for a site's usability and cross-browser compatibility. This helps the user to interact with the web pages on varied browsers available.
In nutshell, the purpose of both web design and web development teams is to make a competent website that is successful to meet its purpose. Both are twin sides of the same coin, vital for each other's performance.