Website Design or Development?
Website Design or Development?
(Please note: this is a very old post and we have since adapted and improved our strategy and deliverable offerings since this was published. But for those of you wondering what the early ’90’s were really like in the world of design…indulge.)
There has been a misconception about the difference between website design and website development. If you need print design, talk to me. If you need copywriting and copy-editing, talk to me. If you need photography, talk to me. I am a creative director and we all collaborate from the same point-of-view.
However, if you need web development, allow me to introduce you to….
I’ve been a print designer since 1999. Like many designers, I had to choose between graphic design or web design during my college years. I chose graphic design: to understand spatial and color juxtaposition, to implement creative thoughts and ideas and to offer visual solutions to challenges many aren’t yet aware of. Like others at the time, my mantra was, “do one thing, and do it well.”
My processes are design, but just because we’re using the same medium, that doesn’t mean I’m the best candidate for your website development too. (That said, templates available today (2018) have the power to change that scenario.)
Website design is still part of the design process. Let me pose this question: If you are a mechanic and change oil on a Lexus, it’s believed that you also know how to change oil on an Aston Martin…different subject matter but still basically the same action.
However, just because you know how to change the oil on two different cars, that doesn’t mean we should ask you to build either car.
Website development is similar to the building. It is mostly architectural and understanding where things belong. Think “mainframe.”
So, the developer and designer will want to collaborate during the development process so make sure the sheepskin seats the designer wants can be used universally in Astons (they can’t by the way).
As you probably know, there are thousands of website template themes available now. (This website is based on a wordpress template — albeit with several customizations.)
If you are in the market for a website and choose to use a template, please heed my warnings.
- Read the fine print. You may be able to use a web site template, but if you want to change it, make sure you have the rights to do so. Often times there are levels of ownership and each level comes with it’s own price.
- Understand that just because it’s a template that doesn’t mean it’s a simple “drag and drop” method. If it is, and you want customization (which I deeply suggest) hire a developer, anyway. When I decided to update my website, which used to be based on simple html technology, I chose a WordPress template. I definitely wanted customization so I dug in and found a few functionality widgets and went to town on it. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of a long, long torrid relationship with WordPress info sites and videos. After one month of phone calls to and with my website host and the template’s author and getting nowhere, I thankfully found an expert. WordPress websites are fantastic ways to make sure you have the necessary functionality like optimization, CMS and making sure your site works on mobile phones and other smart devices.)
- Know that there are some limitations to owning the site as well. Ask a lot of questions.
In a perfect world, you, the consumer, will hire a web developer and a web designer, like me, to beautifully marry form and function, as it should be. 🙂 Good Luck!