So what exactly is web design? How does it relate to things like UX/UI design? Is web design different to web development? Let’s find out more.

An important part of designing something is keeping the end-user in mind and considering how they are going to experience a product you are putting in front of them. This means we want to think about the layout of our website so that all of the elements are clearly visible. We may have calls to action (CTAs) that we want to emphasize. How can we use layout, size and colour to direct our user in the way we intend for our site? How does one web page relate to another page and is there a logical flow between these? 

All of these are what user experience (UX) designers think about when building a web product. They want to create an experience that is intuitive and effective for what the client wants to achieve. The user experience can also extend beyond a web product to other technical products, such as how a user experiences services like technical support and how they perceive an organisation as a whole. Therefore, a UX designer focused on web products needs to have a wholistic idea of how their web product relates to all the elements that their user will experience. UX designers will be involved in the strategy of developing a product by understanding the user. They will often do wireframing to prototype ideas and test them. They will also need to gather insights on how the product was experienced by collecting data, analysing and iterating on their product. There is a lot of similarity with this and the design thinking process. 

A user experience (UX) designer thinks about creating an experience that is intuitive and effective.

Similarly, a user interface (UI) designer is also focused on how a user experiences a web product. However, they have more of a focus on the look and feel of the product. There is a strong element of aesthetic design to ensure the product looks great and relates to their brand. They also want to ensure the product is responsive and the animations are effective. 

In terms of difference, UX designers deal more with the purpose and functionality of a product and have more of a project management role so that the technical product fits well within all other aspects of what an organisation is trying to achieve. They are interested in what a user needs. A UI designer has more of an artistic side and is interested in what the user sees, hears and feels. However, the two roles work hand-in-hand and can often be conflated into one person’s job in smaller organisations.

 

A web designer is interested in the look and feel of a web product.

A web designer is concerned with how information flows and how a user experiences their product. They also often dabble in graphic design to create assets like images and logos. Therefore, we can see that there is a big overlap with UX and UI design. However, UX and UI designers can work on any product. A web designer creates web products and so must know how to use the programming languages, HTML, CSS and JavaScript, just like a web developer. However, a web developer typically has a broader programming skillset enabling them to write the code needed to build all aspects of a site.

As a full-stack web developer, you are able to work on both the frontend and backend of a web site. This means they can use the above languages to build the aspects that a user interacts with, the frontend. They can also develop things like databases and write code to work with servers – the things the user doesn’t see, the backend. As a web developer, you can choose to specialise in either of these aspects. A frontend web developer has more overlap with a web designer’s role.

The terms web design and web development are often used interchangeably as both build web products. In larger organisations where these roles are separated, a web designer will only create designs for what a web site should look like and how it functions. They will typically use special design programs to do this. They hand this over to a web developer who will code up the designs and launch them on the site.

A great starting point for all of these options is to take the Web Design course where you will be introduced to HTML, CSS and Bootstrap. These are fundamental languages that anyone building the web needs to know. To take it further, you can try out our Frontend Development, Mobile Development, and Full-stack Web Development courses.