Web software is tricky to define sometimes because it comes in so many forms. So let’s take a break from thinking about software that dwells in a browser and think about something more concrete. Literally.

Imagine a house.

It has a mood, a personality, perfectly complemented paint colors, and beautiful fixtures and details. You see and appreciate all these things daily, and they shape your perception and influence how you feel when you are home. The colors, fixtures, and furniture support the purpose and function of each room.

This is like web design. Yes, it’s about picking colors and fonts, but it’s also vital to supporting function and influencing the user’s experience with the software. Each piece of the design is intended to clarify the actions a user takes.

So when should you hire a web designer?

  • You need to advertise a product or service
  • You need to create a portfolio promoting your work
  • You need to modernize your company website
  • You need a new website to promote your company
  • You need to customize your WordPress (or other CMS platform) site

Web design is vitally important to great software, but it is only effective when based on solid functionality that works.

Let’s go back to our house analogy for a second. The paint color and great faucets in the kitchen would be pointless if the plumbing didn’t work and the stove was missing. If web design is the appearance, then web development is the structure. It’s the blueprints, foundation, roof, siding, plumbing, electrical work, framing and sheet rock.

Even a beautiful home becomes unlivable if any of these elements are missing or broken. Effective software must be based on complete and solid programming.

Web development is still a pretty broad term, even when separated from web design. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define web development as fully custom software that runs in a browser. Web development is not adjustments to existing software (like a custom WordPress site), but it is a robust tool that is linked to a database and accessed on the internet (like Kelly Blue Book or Quickbooks Online).

So when should you hire a web developer?

  • You have out-of-the-box software that does 70%-80% of what you need
  • You have a very unique business process that requires a lot of staff time to manage
  • You are using Excel sheets or Access databases to manage and analyze data
  • You need an extensive eCommerce site
  • You have staff members who work in different locations and/or need access to the software on the go
  • You need to distribute intellectual property without emailing documents or dealing with versioning problems

Custom web development can solve all of these problems, saving companies hours and hours of staff time and frustration. It’s pretty cool.

Alright, let’s wrap up our house analogy. To a certain extent web design and web development are dependent on each other. Let’s face it: the foundation, framing, electrical and plumbing in a house are not pretty. At the same time, a beautiful house would be pointless without lights and running water!

At Rocket Jones we stick to web development because we’re good at it—BUT we partner with amazing web designers. So you get software that works and looks professional and beautiful. What a concept!

If you’ve got an idea for custom software development, fill out the form below to tell us about it.

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