“Website design” has become the over-arching description of many different tasks. Traditionally, it is associated with how a visitor will view and interact with a website. These days though the term encompasses amongst other things:
- The design of a website’s structure. Categorisation of concepts the topics, and the hierarchy that categorisation creates
- The design and layout of a website’s interface. Website interface design. The actual look and feel of the site. The website’s images, the way the website uses fonts, colours and symbols to communicate it’s message
- The design of a website’s database. Using a modern content management system (CMS) like WordPress, a web designer could have a successful career without ever thinking about database structure.
- The creation of website code. Again, a traditional web designer can actually get away with never writing a line of code in their life. They may need a small amount of HTML and CSS knowledge for content structure and styling, but the deeper code is of little interest. Notwithstanding the argument that a deeper understanding of code promotes a better front-end.
Much of this crosses from website design, into the traditional description of web development. As stated above: a dedicated web designer may not actually need to know the structure of the database or how to actually write code. Their concern is with the aesthetics, and with how people interact with the software.
“Web development” is often associated more with the “back end” of your website software. It is more rare to confused web development with web design than the other way around.
Web development encompasses:
- The technical design of an online software system.
- The design and building of databases. The content of a website sits in a database. That is unless it is an very simple HTML site such as this one you are on right now. HTML websites do have a lot of benefits, but ease of use to the website administrator is not amongst those. Website load speed though, definitely is.
- The writing of code. Programming complex websites and web applications, is not dissimilar to coding desktop applications. As businesses move toward central repositories for data, the gap between desktop and online applications is narrowing. The languages are different, and obey different rules, but they have similar challenges. So web development is software development for an online platform.
Without design, development is irrelevant, and vice versa. Creating a website that has no aesthetic appeal has no value. Unless you are selling or supplying information to people who do not expect beautiful presentation. Which is rare.
Web design and development at Arbor
Different web development companies have different methods and priorities. We focus on strong technical and aesthetic web design. Our sites obey Google’s best practises for the mechanics of search engine optimisation (on-the-page SEO). They also follow coding standards as set out by the website design community as a whole.
We are full stack developers, but still have our specialty areas. That means as individuals, we don’t have to know every aspect of website design and development. We can lean on each other for things that are not our specialty.
Our aim is to produce websites that perform well in the searches. We do this by making sure those sites:
- Have a very good site structure
- Load quickly and pass page speed tests
- Are responsive or mobile friendly
- Works the same on all browsers and operating systems of similar screen size
- Is as easy to administer as the client needs it to be
- Follow an aesthetic that compliments and obeys the company’s corporate image