When the world was first introduced to the internet in 1991, managing websites was only done by the IT department. Since then, web development and design have become their field. It’s not surprising to see how far web development has gone because of how the world is today. Whether it be social media, shopping sites, blogs, business directories, basically everyone goes online for something. Because of this, we’ve seen how businesses take advantage of the increasingly online world. Businesses now create and offer positions for the sole purpose of developing and managing their websites. But what is web development, and what are its benefits?

What is Web Development?

Web development is the broad term referring to the process and tasks that are associated with developing websites. The web development method includes various functions such as web content development, web design, network security configuration, etc. In a more technical sense, web development is the coding or programming behind the website’s functionality. Like what was stated earlier, we’ve seen web development grow into a huge opportunity area for both job applicants and employers. But let’s take a quick look at the history of web development and see how far it has come.

How it all started

Let’s go to November 1992, when the first website CERN went live, and the world was introduced to the worldwide web. Considering that this was the first website, there wasn’t a lot to rave about compared to websites today. It was 100% text-based, and the only color was some blue hypertext. But during that time, it was exciting for people just to see an actual webpage go live. Here is a screenshot of the re-created CERN website back in 1992.

Another milestone in web development history was when MTV launched its website in 1993. MTV was an early adopter of landing pages which refers to the image you see when jumping into their site. This marked the beginning of web design as well, and by the end of 1993, there were 623 websites up and running.

The advancements of web development were happening very quickly with the help of JavaScript and Flash. The introduction of JavaScript and Flash paved the way for designers and programmers to add motion and design to websites. JavaScript introduced and gave birth to the “pop-up” window while Flash served as a game-changer for web design. Because of Flash, website designers now could create shapes and animations using that one tool.

Following the creation of JavaScript and Flash, along with some other programming languages, was the birth of social media sites. In 2004 we were introduced to the world of MySpace, which served as a blank canvas for users to customize their page. Then, in 2005, both YouTube and Reddit were founded and launched into the world wide web. Shortly after, MySpace and YouTube were the creation and launching of Facebook, which needs no introduction.

MySpace webpage almost seems ancient considering websites today. The launching of these popular and iconic websites shows just how far web development has come since its first website in 1992.

Websites have become more aesthetically pleasing, but user engagement and interactivity with the websites also became more fluid and natural. These milestones in web development have inspired web designers and developers to continue improving the internet user experience into what we see today.

Web Development vs. Web Design

What’s the difference?

Web designers are responsible for creating the visual design for whatever website they are tasked to design. Like a graphic artist or graphic designer, a web designer’s goal is to make the aesthetics of their creation to be visually pleasing. The intention of creating a beautiful website is to make a site that will be visually striking to whoever views it. However, a web designer needs to understand the code, not just the design. This is because the web designer ultimately determines how the user visually navigates through the website or application. To summarize, web designers are responsible for the aesthetic portion of the website and its usability.

On the other hand, web developers are tasked with taking whatever website design they get and developing a fully functioning website. Web developers, also known as front-end developers, are responsible for creating the web page’s actual user interface or app. They use various programming tools such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc., to develop web pages. Web developers are responsible for working alongside the web designers as they create the user interface. Along with the actual development of the site, web developers oversee the maintenance of the site or application.

How are they similar?

Although there may be different functions and tasks between both roles, there are some similarities. Although it goes without saying, web designers and web developers are both required to have programming knowledge. Not only that, but web developers and web designers work closely with one another, complimenting each other’s skills to yield perfect results. Since the web designer works alongside the developer, the designer needs to understand the coding language. In this way, the end goal of the teamwork between a designer and developer is reached. Understanding these roles and their differences is crucial for hiring web developers or designers for your website.

The Language of Web Design

Understanding the web design language

For those who aren’t tech-savvy or familiar with programming at all, working with web developers/designers can be confusing at times. When working with either role, you’ll often hear terms like CSS or HTML, which won’t mean anything to you if you aren’t familiar. However, these terms and phrases are the different programming languages developers use to code or create designs. From a business perspective, owners or managers aren’t expected to understand coding at an advanced level. But when talking or working with a web developer to create the desired website for customers, it can help to know even just a little. Here is a basic breakdown of some of the most commonly used programming languages for web development.

HTML is one of the most common and basic languages for developing websites. HTML is used to create the basic structure and layout of a website. Many consider HTML as the starting point of a website or, in other words, the skeleton which keeps the website together. Another commonly used programming language you would usually hear coupled with HTML is CSS. Considering HTML as the skeleton of the website, you can think of CSS as its style. Most commonly used with HTML, CSS can add color, fonts, wallpapers, and more. CSS is one of the core languages that web developers and designers use in their development of websites.

Another most popular programming language used today is none other than Java. Along with web content, Java is used to develop video games, mobile apps, and even software. Serving as the core foundation in the development of Android apps, studies show that over 15 billion devices use Java in some way. Understanding these languages takes years of studying and practice, so it’s impossible to go through in just a few paragraphs. But understanding the primary purpose of these languages will help when working with a developer for your website.

Languages used in web design and why?

The front-end or client-side of the application is creating the code and markup responsible for the website’s visual design. It is how the website will look on the screen. Interface developers should be able to work with hypertext markup (HTML), cascading styles (CSS), and JavaScript (JS). A developer can create a full-fledged website using programming languages and techniques: from a general layout to insert animations, images, use various fonts and interfaces.

For small sites, such as a one-page business website, the layout may be the only type of development needed to complete a project. For more complex projects, back-end development is always required.

Examples of websites that may use: Python, PHP, ASP, and what are these?

According to Learn.onemonth.com, the most famous web sites and web applications are made by using Python are:

1. Instagram.com. Instagram, the world’s biggest online photo-sharing app, uses Python on its back end.

2. Google.com. Google is the most widely used search engine in the world

3. Spotify.com. Spotify allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay.

4. Netflix.com. Netflix is the world’s leading internet television network with more than 33 million members in 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including Netflix original series.

5. Uber.com. Uber is a ridesharing service, completes over 15 million trips daily. According to Uber engineers,

6. Dropbox.com. Dropbox is virtual storage for all your photos, docs, videos, and files

7. Pinterest.com. Pinterest is a social bookmarking site where users collect and share photos of their favorite events, interests, and hobbies.

8. Instacart.com guarantees groceries delivered from the stores you love in one hour.

9. Reddit.com Essentially, it’s a massive collection of forums where people can share news and content or comment on other people’s posts. Here’s everything you need to know.

10. Lyft.com is the fastest growing rideshare company in the United States and is available in more than 200 cities, facilitating 14 million rides per month.

The most popular sites developed with PHP include:

1. Facebook.com. Facebook invented a new PHP-derived language called Hack. Interoperating seamlessly with PHP, it allows developers to update the existing PHP codebase continually

2. Yahoo .com. Another widely-known search engine.

3. Wikipedia.com. The popular info resource partly uses PHP functionality.

4. Ttumbrl.com. The social networking platform for sharing ideas, videos, and images.

5. MailChimp.com is a popular platform for email marketing, known for its ease of use & improved email creation.

6. Flickr.com is a photo-sharing platform.

And finally, some of the sites made with ASP.NET:

1. StackOverflow.com. One of the most beneficial online sources of information for developers.

2. Microsoft.com. ASP.NET is Microsoft’s product.

3. Dell.com. PC manufacturer.

4. Ancestry.com is a site allowing you to discover your family history and start a family tree.

5. TacoBell.com. one of the fast-food franchise restaurants.

Custom Web Development

Having gone over some of the basics of web development, it’s essential to understand the importance of customizing a website that’s appropriate for a targeted audience. There’s no reason for a template to be used in developing a website or application for your business. Why? Because developing a custom website gives the advantage of adding a personalized experience to the user. Custom web development gives the web developer or designer more freedom when creating their user interface. The importance of aesthetics was mentioned in an earlier section, and it can’t be understated. The look and feel of the website are essential for driving traffic to your site. Through custom web development, you can make the look and feel of your website specific to you or your brand.

Besides creating a personalized aesthetic feel to the website, custom-built sites/applications are more user-friendly. Because developers aren’t stuck to a specific template, they can tailor the development to meet user demands. In this way, developers would be better equipped to adapt to and anticipate user demands. This is imperative for a successful online presence, especially for businesses to provide their customers with an enjoyable online experience.

Recognizing Good Developers

When hiring a web developer to create a website/application for your business, it’s essential to recognize the good ones. Like any great worker, a great developer will be passionate and disciplined when it comes to their work. They work well with teams but are also fully capable of working alone without any supervision. A great developer would have clean and neat technical skills and an intuitive understanding of all areas of their job. Through their intuition and experience, they can find long-term and innovative solutions to problems. As a business owner, you want a developer with these specific qualities that match your online goals.

The Future of Web Design

Since the beginning of the worldwide web in 1992, we’ve seen web design go from simple colored text to colorful animations. If one thing about the future of web design is sure, it will keep advancing, just like technology. One potential feature of web design we might be seeing in the future is artificial intelligence or A.I. Without a doubt, A.I. has been a topic of discussion in technology for decades. Therefore, it isn’t entirely impossible that A.I. could handle web design in the future. If A.I. were to be used in web development, websites could be created in just a few moments, and web designers would be obsolete. Interactions with customers would be wholly computer-generated, or maintenance would be automatically performed. A.I. is and will always be in the future of technology, whether in web design or not.

On the other hand, it is undoubtedly that the world is gravitating towards a mobile lifestyle. With the continuous advancements of mobile technology, we can anticipate a massive shift towards mobile traffic. This comes as no surprise considering how much time we spend surfing the web on our smartphones. Whether it be on social media, news, shopping, reading, etc., we live in a mobile world. Many websites are being created to adapt to mobile devices, and many businesses are developing mobile apps for their customers. We can be sure to see mobile technology in web design’s future for many more years to come.

What Web Design/Development Means for You

Web design/development has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1990s. It’s almost hard to imagine a world where you couldn’t browse the internet at all. In the world we live in today, we use the web for pretty much everything. Looking up recipes, addresses, watching random videos, the news, the list goes on and on. And like what was stated earlier, this world is an online world, and it will not be an online world. That’s why this information is vital for you and your business.

Think about an average everyday consumer who doesn’t know about your business. They get introduced to it by a friend who tells them to go check their business out. For most people, the first thing they would do is search you up on the internet. They find your website, but it looks unappealing, dull, and navigating through it becomes frustrating, so they lose interest. This may seem far-fetched, but it isn’t. Nowadays, it’s almost imperative for a business to have a solid online presence, and that’s where web design plays a significant role.

When your business puts out a website that is easy to use and is aesthetically pleasing, your audience will stay on your site. A statistic given by Adobe states, “Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain.” This is because when a user first visits your website, it gives them their first impression of what your business has to offer. The attention span of people today is a lot shorter than before, so their attention must be snatched right away. Your business will almost be judged just within seconds of looking at your website. This is one reason web design must be given importance when creating the footprint of your business.

Also, people don’t trust websites that are designed poorly and insecure. Customers and clients will pretty much anticipate how you will treat them just by the look of your website. If it looks like there’s no effort in the website, the viewer might feel like that’s precisely how they’ll be treated, with no effort. Your website is the face of your business, just like how a retail store or corporate office is. It represents how serious and how much care you have for your business and your customers.

An essential aspect of the business is building up a brand that people will remain loyal to. And one way to keep your brand consistent is through digital engagement with your customers. Having a well-developed and designed website/application will provide a positive experience for your customer. And when they have a positive experience on your browser or app, you will have a much higher chance of them coming back. Hopefully, having just learned a bit of web development in this short article, you can be better equipped to serve your customers.

Seattle Web Design Agency