Web Design vs UX Design: Is There A Difference Between Web Design and UX Design?

Apr 29, 2022Mikenzi Ross

There are many types of designers, and we’ve compared several against our favorite—UX design! Product design, UI design… and now we’ll cover web design vs. UX design.

UX design observes a common theme of principles and processes, and UX strategies will change pending on the product or device. After all, there are so many ways that modern user accesses digital information.

From their dual-monitor desktop setup to their hand-held mobile device, optimizing user experiences for different devices means unique problems and solutions must be considered.

But is UX design for websites and UX design for Apps the same?

Are web designers and UX designers the same—? Or is this another occasion where terminology is getting mixed up?

TDP has the answers—it would be weird to write this whole opening just to follow up with “Uh, we dunno!” right?

We’ll explain how and why these types of designers are different, why specific terminology is outdated, and the unique problems that web design and UX design solve.

Is web design and UX design the same?

The answer is a bit complicated because the terminology is starting to get jumbled and that contributes to confusion.

For example, the title “Web designer” has started encompassing hard skills like UX design, UI design, Graphic Design—and sometimes even copywriting. While there are differences regarding what pain points are solved (we’ll get to that in a moment), there are some overlapping similarities to consider.

Brainstorming and layouts

Web designers and UX designers both prioritize effective layout design. Effective web page layouts accomplish numerous things and prioritize the user’s psychology.

UX designers mainly focus on how to optimize menus, buttons, and layouts for the most fluid user experience possible. In contrast, web designers consider the most effective placement for images, copy, and CTAs to inspire action in the viewer.

Strategic graphic element implementation

Web designers and UX designers want UI elements (like color, font, etc.) to lend themselves to the finished product. UX designers want to ensure every color and font used serves a purpose to eliminate friction in user flows, grab attention when necessary, and avoid overwhelming the user.

When it comes to web design, graphical elements lend themselves to emotional triggers and branding consistency. Therefore, everything used must reflect the brand it’s representing and compel the user on an emotional level to (yep, you guessed it) act.

User research

Web and UX designers rely heavily on preliminary user research to develop ideas and concepts. Web designers mainly focus on the visual cues and pain points most likely to connect with an ideal customer.

Alternatively, UX designers will focus on how the ideal user typically interacts with a mobile device or website, what elements they tend to find easy, and what pain points they encounter that cause friction in the user flow.

What are the most significant differences between UX design and web design?

The main differences between web design vs. UX design are the problems these types of designers focus on solving. While compelling user experiences should be the end goal when creating anything, web design and UX design diverge in priorities and goals.

The problems web designers prioritize: Compelling a specific action

Web designers utilize visual and text cues to immediately grab site visitors’ attention and drive them to take action (buy something, subscribe to something, etc.)

Here’s are some of the questions that the web design skillset must answer:

Do visitors understand where they are and what they’re supposed to do?

The most crucial goal in web design is ensuring any visitor understands precisely where they are and what to do next.

They use strong copywriting to catch the visitor’s attention, and effectively implement graphic elements to help visitors know whose website they’re visiting and what services the site offers.

Are users compelled to stay on the site and explore?

In less than 10 seconds, most people decide if they’re going to stay on a site or leave. Web design blends graphic design, color theory, and copywriting to entice the visitor to stick around and (hopefully) follow a CTA (“Call To Action”)

Is the site design consistent across devices?

Effective web design must consider the different devices people will use to access a website. This encompasses UX strategies, but the overall efficacy of compelling action should stay the same regardless of the device.

The problems UX designers prioritize: Ensuring actions taken are enjoyable

UX designers invest most of their time understanding the user on a fundamental level. They prioritize the human interaction with a product. They use a ton of research data and user testing to identify the most effective way to help humans interact with the digital environment they’re visiting.

Do users understand how to interact with the platform/site?

In the same way that web design wants the user to know exactly where they are and what they want the visitor to do, UX design prioritizes ensuring the visitors understand how to take action. Are menus, drop-downs, and forms clear and easy to interact with? Is finding the information the visitor is looking for simple and easy?

Are visual and functionality elements contributing to a better user experience or inhibiting it?

UI design is the primary skill set used when applying visual elements to an app or site. UX wants graphic and visual elements to enhance the user’s interactions with the site or app. For example:

  • Is the font easy to read?
  • Are the colors engaging or overwhelming?
  • Are visual rewards or animations compelling or distracting?

Does the user experience flow effortlessly when users take action?

The most crucial goal for UX design for apps (and UX design for websites) is ensuring people have the easiest time possible using the platform.

  • Can they navigate without getting confused?
  • Are buttons easy to find and interact with?
  • Is it easy to follow through with CTAs?

UX designers look for areas in the user flow where people get lost or frustrated. Once they have this feedback, they tweak the flow to ensure a frictionless experience.

There is no area where UX is not integral

From websites, to apps, to bicycles... the user experience should be at the heart of every design decision. Web designers are slowly beginning to incorporate the critical skills of UX and UI design, and we find that very exciting.

This is especially important for startups to consider when hiring professionals for their products. Even though websites are viewed more as a marketing channel—investing the effort to provide an engaging and frictionless user experience opens up untold avenues of opportunity, trust, and loyalty.

We hope this next entry discussing two more types of designers has been informative and entertaining.

But we won’t know that unless you tell us—we’re UX nerds, after all… we can’t LIVE without user testing! Let us know what you think!

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