What Exactly Does A Web Development Company Do?

Is there any difference between a web development company and a company that specialises in web design? Perhaps the only real answer to that question is that it depends on the company! If however we may wish to be a little more pedantic it might be said that while the latter confines itself strictly to the design of websites the former extends its services to include such elements as developing site content, performing client-side and server side scripting to add certain functionalities such as data storage and retrieval and other techy stuff.

Perhaps one should consider web development companies as the scientists of the internet while the website designers might be best thought of as its artists. In practice, however, the line between these two occupations is a much finer one and one that is frequently crossed by both developers and designers.

While a graphic artist may be employed to create attractive images from scratch or by modifying some existing source such as a photograph, he or she may not necessarily have the knowledge to render them in the form of a web page while a dedicated web development company may prefer not concern itself at all with the creative needs of a website.

Increasingly, today’s requirement is for a more multi-disciplined approach that calls for a close collaboration between a variety of specialists that includes graphic artists, HTML coders, application programmers, SEO specialists, copywriters, internet security gurus and network technicians. Although it is rare to find all of these within a single business unit, many organisations subcontract or employ sister companies to tackle certain of the more specialised tasks such as search engine optimization.

Primarily then, a web development company would normally direct its main focus on the creation of tools for use via the internet. The online shopping basket, comparative quotation engine and hotel or flight booking applications are typical examples of such tools that are serving to make a website function effectively as efficient online businesses. Quite frequently, applications such as these are themselves sold online along with the detailed instructions on how they may be integrated into a website.

E-commerce has become big business and has opened numerous new opportunities for the enterprising web development company. Every aspect of an online business is dependent upon some form of programmatic support. These include functions that range from the customer’s ability to search for specific stock items and rank them by price or brand to the essential internal accounting and order processing requirements. Even the act of integrating a website’s shopping basket with a suitable credit or debit card processing application requires some coding as well as scrupulous attention to the security requirements of the transaction processor.

Internet banking is one product of a web development company that a large number of South Africans are benefitting from daily and it has saved us many lunch hours that would otherwise have been spent waiting in endless queues at the tellers. You can thank them also for their part in creating the interfaces with which we can now order our monthly shop direct from the supermarket without leaving the house.

In recent times, much of the focus has moved to address the needs of the mobile user and, again, numerous web development companies have been quick to come to the party with offerings of bigger and better web-based applications that can be accessed by people on the move with nothing more complex than a suitable cellular phone.

The introduction of a plethora of new tablet PCs and various other devices capable of connecting to the internet has also created many new opportunities for the developer particularly since the various manufacturers are unwilling to agree on a universal operating system so it is often necessary for a web development company to create parallel applications in order to cater for the needs of multiple platforms where cross-platform compatibility may be impractical.

So where does this leave the designers? Their contribution to the online community is no less important than that of the techies. Without the website developers to create the eye-catching wrappers with which to package the strictly utilitarian applications of the developers, it is doubtful that latter would have attained the widespread popularity that they enjoy today.

The roles of these two specialists are complementary to one another and provide a vitalising synergy that is as valuable to the client as it is to both the web development company and the website designers.