web design or web development?

When it comes to establishing or relaunching your company’s website, you may end up fielding offers from an array of suitors. Some may present themselves as website designers. Others may call themselves website developers. What’s the difference between the two? Can you have one without the other? Which choice is better for your business? The Sumner Group has answers for you!


Website design takes care of the look and feel of your website. Website design can be as unique and creative as necessary to reflect your business image and produce a visitor-friendly experience. But relying solely on website design to build a website can severely limit the site’s effectiveness.

For example, oftentimes websites are designed entirely with flash animation elements. Flash animation websites are almost entirely image-based. Although flash animation websites are extremely popular, and they look great, these website designs are notoriously subject to be bypassed by search engine spiders because search engine spiders cannot read imagery. Regardless of how much text is within the flash animation, to a search engine spider the text simply does not exist. Because of this limitation, such sites never appear on search engines if they have not undergone extensive web development. Add to that the lack of support for Flash on the iPad and other next-generation devices, and it’s easy to see why many businesses are shying away from Flash-based websites, although it is a nifty design tool.

... and Development

Web development makes a website work well with search engines and existing Internet technology. This service, in addition to good website design, will provide the best exposure, usability and visibility for your website.

For example, although the graphical elements of website design include the navigation bar, the actual navigation process (how a visitor travels through your site) is accomplished through a variety of development methods. For instance, internal page hyperlinks, breadcrumb links, site maps and a search function all play a role in user-friendly navigation and can only be properly achieved through effective website development.

The way the content of the website design is managed is also a part of web development. Bringing continuity to website design is best achieved by using cascading style sheets or CSS, which is a web development process. CSS also allows for quicker recognition and response by search engine spiders, thereby increasing the visibility of a website by search engine spiders.