Although the technology to develop a website existed in the 1980’s, it wasn’t until 1991 that CERN published the first site on the world wide web.
Like your browser cache, the rest is history!
Development Vs Design?
The terms web development and web design are used interchangeably.
However, in my mind I make a distinction by considering development as the back end (stuff you don’t necessarily see) and design as the front end (the graphic/visual interface).
For example, WordPress plugins contain instructions for web functionality, and I’d be more likely to classify these as back end even though they often have a direct effect on what you see on the front end of the website.
On the other hand, something like Photoshop plays directly into web design and the graphical elements shown to a website visitor.
- Web development – how it works.
- Web design – how it looks.
If you will entertain my analogy, fitted kitchens, like websites, also involve design and development.
Kitchen development – how it works (plumbing, electrics, wiring).
Kitchen design – how it looks (Veneer, wood paneling, worktops, colours, tiling)
Some developers and designers may have different opinions on what is or is not development/design. As the web evolves that discussion will become more important.
It Looks Great… But Does it Work?
Usability, navigation and experience are “designed” in the sense that they are planned for, but there comes a point where development plays its part in getting these things functional.
For example, a website email contact form can look great on the front end, but without the proper software engineering, emails will not be sent. You will only have a dummy form.
Coding By Hand
I remember the very early website builders on the web in the mid to late 1990’s. These became popular for amateur web designers wanting to focus more on content without having to get involved in the heavy lifting associated with HTML and CSS.
The barrier of entry to coding is less intimidating mainly because of the deluge of free learning resources available. It’s interesting to note that coding/programming is being pushed as a curriculum agenda in UK schools.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
In today’s CMS world, platforms like WordPress offer design and development templates that work out of the box with relatively minimal knowledge. This helps the average webmaster get on with the task of marketing without being bogged down in various web programming languages.
The point is, development is becoming more open, more accessible.
Many CMS frameworks provide premade websites that have been designed and developed for you in advance. These are called themes because they come in assorted styles, designs and functionality.
Much of my development for WordPress websites is taken care of using the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. This product sells for an extremely reasonable one time price under the well respected CopyBlogger brand.
Genesis is actually a WordPress plugin that transforms the back end by retrofitting a custom dashboard into the native WordPress dashboard. It has helped me tremendously and has fast tracked my web development skills because it has helped me to sort of work backwards, and I don’t mean “backwards” as in “wrong”.
Straightforward, Easy Management
Web development (and design too) is beginning to resemble gardening rather than architecture.
Many first time WordPress users tend to pick a theme that is as near-as-damn-it, make a few changes and call it finished.
Regardless of what CMS you use, keep in mind that when you build a business website, you’re building a business performance machine.
You can do a lot of development tasks yourself for free or at least get a good handle on what needs to be done if you need to pay someone to help you.
Website Development Help
WordPress User? Need assistance? Contact me.