UX design vs Web design

When you ask a UX designer “What do you do for a living?” the easiest answer would be “I’m a web designer”. But that’s pretty much like asking a busy project manager who juggles projects daily the same question, and getting the answer “Oh, I prioritize things”. In reality, UX design is different to web design, although there are many similarities. Let’s have a look at the main distinctions between UX design and web design so you can see clearly what service best benefits your business.

Design vs. design

Both UX designers and web designers focus on the end user. They want to make sure that the product is pleasing to the eye, easy to use, and in a nutshell that the user is happy with the product. The difference lies in what aspects each of them is focused on.

If you have a website that requires the basics, for instance if you have a cafe and want to showcase your menu and special offers on a basic website, then you would benefit from a web designer. They can make the website beautiful and easy to use, and can make sure you have separate pages that show, concisely, what you want the user to see.

If you want something a bit more complicated, you would need a UX designer who will focus not only on the website, but on how it integrates with your brand image, how it helps promote and enhance your product, how it connects your company to the users and how it can get them to be engaged and to return looking for more of that website experience. A UX designer will also help solve a company’s problems in terms of communicating their brand to the end users, and they will even lend a helping hand re-categorizing your work so that they manage to create slick interfaces which are in tune with your brand image.

UX design and web design are quite different, even if they share a common base.

Who has the technology?

To start with, they both require technical expertise, but the degree varies. A web designer must be in the loop with all the changes that happen in the programming languages he’s operating in, knowing the ins and outs of an ever-changing landscape. By opposition, the UX designer must know how to use the basics of these languages so as to create a stable concept for your website or app, a concept which does not rely on small details that change very frequently, but on basic ideas that you can then build upon.


Apart from this, UX designers do not depend on just one platform. They can work on your website, on your mobile app or even on your desktop software. The reason is that, while web designers start from the technology and find their way to the users, UX designers do the opposite: the start with the user (studying their needs, their psychology and their habits) and then find ways through which technology can help meet those needs and user desires.

How to use UX and web design?

A final main point why UX design is different than web design is scale and expertise. Companies that do not use the web actively to enhance their business do not need a UX designer. But if your goal is to expand your business and to make sure that your brand reaches users in a meaningful way, in a way that they will remember and appreciate, then you need a UX designer.

So in the end it boils down to priorities. If you want to aim high, and to get it right the first time, your best investment is in a UX designer- they will handle the “web design part”, and much, much more, so that your brand ends up hand in hand with the users as they surf your website or use your app.

Arun Tomy

About Arun Tomy

A self-taught UX & RIA Developer in Bangalore, firmly believing that user experience design is a process, not something that you can put on top of a ready-made app like the icing on a cake. Learn more about Arun's services at domyinc.com and follow @aruntomy10 on Twitter.

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