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Smashing web design based in Newcastle, North East England UK

Answers to questions we've been asked about web design and the wider web and internet - shared with you to help you get the most from your website

Web designers vs Web Developers

You may have heard the terms 'web designer' and 'web developer' and wondered what the difference is, if there's a difference at all. Web design and web development are two different disciplines: A web designer will typically deal with the 'front end', which includes the visual aspect of a website, the HTML and the user experience, or UX.

The web developer will be responsible for the 'back-end' which means they will write server-side scripts that result in any functionality the wbsite might have. There is overlap though, and often a designer will be capable of developing and the developer will be happy designing.

Websites and the World Wide Web - what are they?

The Web, or World Wide Web (www) is a series of linked (by hyperlinks) documents that can be accessed via the internet.

The web and internet are often confused but are actually two different things - the web is the network of documents that is hosted on the internet, which is a giant network of computers that can communicate with each other. The web as we know it came about in the late eighties, an invention of British physicist Tim Berners-Lee, then an employee of Cern in Switzerland. The first browser was made available to the public a couple of years later, allowing anyone in the world to access 'The Web'.

To access the internet, a user requires a computer, an internet connection and a program known as a browser, which allows your computer to interpret web resources. Viewing a webpage requires the user to type in a 'Domain name' or URL into a browser to go directly to any given site, or navigate to a Search engine. Search engines constantly crawl the web for any document they are able to access and record content from each of those pages, ranking them by how relevant and suitable they are to the user searching, based on what they're searching for. Originally, websites were only able to display information with limited functionality, but as the technology has grown, so has the capability of the web and websites to interact with users and to query any number of data sources, resulting in the web being the necessity in each of our lives it is today.

Could you imagine going a day without checking your social media accounts, making a purchase from one of the millions and millions of online shopping sites, or managing your daily admin via an email account or online banking? I certainly couldn't!

What technologies do you use to design websites?

For functionality, we use php, an open-source, commonly used scripting language that is particularly well suited to web development and that can be inserted into HTML. For Content Managed Websites we use Wordpress, an open source, online website creation tool built in php. We use HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to develop front-end website interaction, functionality and animation. We use SQL and MYSQL wherever we need a database, and from a design perspective we use the Adobe Creative suite to create for the web.

Can you update and develop my existing website, built by someone else?

Yes, not only can we build you a website from scratch, but we can also work with what you already have to increase performance, update any branding you might have, or bring the technology up to speed. Essentially we can give it a new lease of life!

What's the market like for eCommerce and good web design?

The eCommerce sector in the UK is huge and steadily growing. UK online sales increased by an estimated 15% last year. 77% of people who went online made a purchase, with an average order value of around £78.

Around a third of e-commerce traffic in the UK is on a handheld device. In terms of mobile traffic distribution, a third is on tablets while the remaining two thirds is on a smartphone, which is a result of the increase in size of the screens on mobile phones.

Investments in digital advertising are also on the rise. Last year they represented almost exactly half of the total advertising spend in the UK, and this is expected to climb another 10% by 2020. Given the growth of e-commerce in the UK, it is normal that more and more advertisers are choosing to dedicate a more significant part of their advertising spend to online channels.

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Where to next?

Web Design | Online Advertising | Interactive Design | Email Design | Graphic Design | Video & Animation | Brand & Creative | Training | Design Consultancy