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March 26, 2010

Website design v.s. website programming

Filed under: Website Development — Mike Jaltuch @ 10:21 am

When developing a websites two general skill sets are utilized, design and programming. Design being the creative part where you develop the look/feel of the site. Programming, of course, is the actual coding/database development which includes your business logic.

For a fairly simple site, the relationship between the two (design and programming) can easily be a 50/50 split. However, the vast majority of websites are upwards of 90% – 98% programming with a very small percentage of overall work going to design.

It’s not that design is being shuttled to the back burner, but creating a design for a small or large project are not much different with respect to time involved. Therefore, when working on large projects the programming aspect is a much larger percentage of overall time.

Why is this important to know?

Since most people are not technical, they don’t understand or relate to programming. Therefore it’s common to only consider design when selecting a company to develop their website. It’s human nature to gravitate to what you know. They simply look at a development companies designs and select the one who they feel has the nicest looking designs.

I’m not saying design is not important. As we all know many people will judge a book by its cover, including your customers. But with that being said, a website that looks great but doesn’t work correctly is useless. Look at some of the most successful websites on the internet today; Amazon, EBay, Yahoo, Facebook, Craig’s List etc. The list goes on. There are a few things all these sites have in common – they are very successful but none have what I would call ‘great creative design’. All these sites are easy to use and work well.

So take a lesson from other sites worth billions of dollars and spend a little more time focusing on the workings of your site and a little less time on design. When talking to potential web development companies, try to focus on the complexities of the projects in their portfolio and if they are similar in size to yours. Doing so will give you a higher chance of success vs just looking at their design skills.