So what exactly is web design?

The Web part is pretty obvious – its what you’re using right now to read this blog post.

But what is design?

We think that if you asked 10 different people to define design, you’d get 10 very different answers. has many different definitions for the word design.

But beyond the formal definitions, there are also some loose meanings that teams working on Web pages assign to the word, including:

  • the person or team responsible for making a site “look good”
  • the look of a website as a whole
  • the look of an individual Web page
  • the work of building a website (as oppsed to planning it or writing content for it)
  •  the person or team responsible for coding the website
  • the way the website “works”
  • the images and icons required for a website

What Parts of a Website Can Be Designed?

The User Interface

When you design a user interface you are creating a structure for how the website will be perceived intellectually. It includes things like the theme of the site – how readers will know what to click and what path to take through the site.

It also includes information architecture to classify and structure the site.

The Visual Elements

When you design the visual elements of a website, you are building the look and feel of the site. This includes the graphics, fonts, colours, styles, and layout. Things like the elements of design and the principles of design.

The Site Structure

When you design the site structure, you are designing how the site will be built. This is the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and any programming you do for a website. Most of this type of design is informed by the decisions made for the user interface and the visual elements, but it’s just as important a design step as the other two.

Who Does Design

While the work of a Web designer has changed dramatically from when we started, ultimately, a Web design team is going to include people who do many different things. Design work includes (but is not limited to):

  • information architects
  • graphic artists
  • marketing professionals
  • user interface specialists
  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript authors
  • PHP, database, and other language programmers

So the next time you say you’re going to go out and “design” a website, think about what you mean by that.

What are you really going to go do?

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