As an experienced Manchester-based web design agency, we understand that a successful website can propel your business to the next level. 

Done correctly, a new site can help to build your brand awareness with potential customers, encourage them to purchase your products or services, and even keep them coming back in future.  

But in order to reap these benefits, your website needs to be well-optimised and maintained. 

Looking to optimise your website to grow your business? You’ll need to understand these key differences between web design and web development. 

What is web design?

The look, feel and usability of your website are all included under the umbrella term “web design”. Simply put, web designers focus on creating an aesthetically pleasing experience for your website’s users.

In order to promote the best possible user experience, web designers will use their knowledge of consumer behaviour, your business, and professional design software to bring your website to life. 

The right web designers will consider every detail, including your logo, typography, CTA (call-to-action) placement and more. 

Web designers are responsible for the following:

UX design 

UX (user experience) design focuses on how customers use a digital product.

It is a process that looks at how users interact with a product or service and how it can be improved to make it easier to use, more fun, and more useful. By understanding their users' needs and making products or services that meet those needs in a meaningful way, UX designers can optimise user experience.

UI design 

UI design focuses on the visual appeal and practicality of digital interfaces. This involves creating & practically arranging visual elements such as buttons, menus, and other interactive components for an app or website. 

UI design helps create an enjoyable experience for users by making the interaction with an application or website easier and more efficient. Through its use of colour, typography, layout, motion graphics and other elements, it can also help create an emotional connection between the user and the product.


The UX and UI of your website are incredibly important, but if your website doesn’t reflect your brand or align with your brand identity, then this can be detrimental to your website’s success. 

Because of this, web designers are also focused on branding. Everything from your logo, colour palettes and graphics, to their presentation and the layout of your website can help to reflect your brand and help the customer or client to further connect with your business. 

Web designers must also consider other factors such as usability, accessibility, responsiveness and search engine optimization (SEO) when creating websites. The goal is to create an engaging experience for visitors while providing them with the information they need in an easy-to-navigate format.

Web designers will use their extensive knowledge of professional design software to bring your website to life, while considering principles of online consumer behaviour. These will dictate many design elements of your website, such as creative assets, the placement of CTA (call-to-action) and interactive elements, and more. 

What is web development?

If “web design” refers to everything that your customers or clients will see after they land on your website, “web development” describes everything they don’t see. Web development is the process of coding the website to make it functional and interactive.

Web developers are responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes. Even though your customers will never see this, web development is essential. 

There are three different types of web developers with unique specialties. 

Front-end development

Front-end web developers take the mock-ups made by web designers and bring them to life. They work primarily on the front-end side of the application and will write the code responsible for controlling how the designs come across to the user. 

But in order to understand what the designer wants, the developer needs to have a working knowledge of the market trends and best practices for UI/UX design so that they can choose the right technology to give the final product the look, feel, and experience that the designer wants.

Back-end development 

Meanwhile, back-end developers are responsible for writing the APIs (Application Programming Interface software code) and routing which will allow data to flow seamlessly between the front and back end of the application. This will allow data to be displayed on the front-end application.

To do this, the back-end developers will require a deep knowledge of programming languages, such as PHP, Python and Java. They will also need an in-depth understanding of various programming tools. 

Full-stack developers

Lastly, full-stack developers will work in both a front and back-end development role, meaning they will need a thorough knowledge of both practices.  While there may be some similarities between front-end web development and web design, there are several important differences. For example, front-end web developers will be experts in one or more (usually multiple) programming languages, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and will also have a focus on search engine optimisation (SEO).

Do I need a web designer or web developer?

Every business is unique. But what all of the most successful ones have in common is that they utilise both web design and web development to create an optimal user experience for their customers. 

Without web development, web designers cannot display data on an app or website. Similarly, without web design, there would be nothing to entice customers to the website to receive the data provided by the web development team. 

For your website to thrive, you will need to implement both web design and web development strategies. 

This also has great SEO benefits. Responsive websites that are created by web designers to be used by both mobile and desktop users will be prioritised by Google, so your website will rank higher in search results.

With the right team of designers and developers, you can have an optimised website that increases the likelihood of your customers finding you and making a purchase. 

Get in touch

We aim to deliver all of our web design and development projects on time, on budget and to specification.

All of our projects begin with a blank canvas, and we work with your business to plan a solution that fits your unique requirements and vision.

With the right team of designers and developers, you can have an optimised website that increases the likelihood of your customers finding you and making a purchase

As a leading Web Design Agency in Manchester, Visionsharp are the perfect partner for building a strong online presence for the future.

Get purpose-driven design & development solutions with Visionsharp. See our flexible payment options and Contact a member of the team today to discuss your requirements.