Designer man drawing website ux app development and holding smart phone on hand. User experience concept.

Web Design, Development, UI & UX: Differences, Similarities & How to Get Them Right

 

If you’re new to getting a website designed, coming across the terminology of the tech industry can feel a lot like listening to a foreign language—except most foreign languages have rhyme and reason.

That’s what this blog is for. If you’re getting your first website designed or just looking to understand the industry better, here we explain and dissect four of the most used and most troublesome terms in tech today: UI, UX, Adelaide Web Design and web development. After reading this, you’ll not only know what each field does but also which one you need your business to focus on most.

What’s the difference between web design and web development? And what about UI vs UX? What do these divisions mean? Why are there so many acronyms?? Don’t people want everything to be user-friendly!?

 

The ABCs of the terms

Let’s start with some basic definitions to ease your initial confusion and give you some context before we dive deeper:

Web design — A broad umbrella category for everything that relates to designing the visuals and usability of a website.

Web development — The technical part of making a website, focusing on code. Web development is further divided into “front-end” and “back-end,” explained below.

User Interface (UI) — A specialisation of web design that deals with the controls people use to interact with a website or app, including button displays and gesture controls.

User Experience (UX) — Another specialisation of web design, this one mainly dealing with user behaviour and feeling when using the site or app. UX design encapsulates many other areas but views them from the perspective of the user.

As you can see already, none of these areas is exclusive and there’s tons of overlap. Web design and development are just two sides of the same coin, UI design influences UX design, web development supports them all… it’s less about which fields handle which tasks, and more about how each field considers the same task from a different point-of-view.

Web design: If a page takes too long to load, there’s either too much content or content that’s too complex. The image files can be compressed, assets can be adjusted & re-exported and pages can be trimmed of excess content.

Web development: To make content load faster, we can try better file compression to reduce the file sizes of the content, CSS sprites to save bandwidth or a content delivery network to improve loading times in specific geographical regions.

UI: Controls must be as responsive as possible, the interface must be simple enough that interactivity is instantaneous.

UX: The likelihood a user will “bounce” increases with every second of loading time, so we should prioritise reducing the load time on the home and landing pages first before addressing the problem site-wide.

In a perfect world, you would also hire a Web Design Company Adelaide or team of specialists for each of these fields so you have an expert looking at your website from all angles.

Occasionally you’ll find someone who claims to do it all:

Designers who can code sometimes label themselves as the all-in-one package, but in reality, they’re more limited than two separate specialists.

UI designers have many overlapping skills with web designers, so some people will use those titles interchangeably.

UX and UI are always lumped together, considering they’re both sub-specialisations.

UX is always treated as a skill in other professions, even outside of design, such as product management.

Such people can be useful in a pinch, but just remember that a jack of all trades is master of none—they may know the basics of multiple fields, but they’ll likely only be an expert in one if any.

You also want to make distinctions between websites & apps and desktop & mobile. Each worker has their specialities—some developers have more experience building mobile sites; some designers stick exclusively to apps and never do websites.

So which one of these specialists can help you with your particular business goals?

Which one do you need most?

By now, you should be able to tell apart Affordable Web Design Adelaide and development and you know that “UI vs UX” is not as accurate as “UI + UX.” The question is, which one should you prioritise most if you can’t hire specialists for them all?

There’s no universal answer for that one. Because of these fields each deal with different areas, it all depends on your company’s unique needs. Considering your own goals and shortcomings, you may need one specialist more than the others.

To help you understand which one you need most, here’s a shortlist of the problems each field specialises in solving. Find your biggest obstacles below and look into the corresponding field for the solution. If you already have an existing site, conduct some user tests beforehand to see what complaints actual users have.

Web design

  • site isn’t always responsive (meaning the site doesn’t look good on mobile devices)
  • site looks outdated
  • low-quality graphics
  • customers aren’t going to the pages you want them to
  • time on page is too short

Web development

  • bugs (site functions not working as they should)
  • web security & hack prevention
  • too many 404 errors
  • too many failed DNS lookups
  • site goes offline
  • certain content fails to load

UI

  • poor navigation
  • lack of customisation options
  • lack of social sharing options
  • mainly complaints about “how do I do this” or “where can I find that”

UX

  • poor conversion rates (lots of traffic but few conversions)
  • high bounce rate (visitors leaving after a few seconds)
  • users are not finishing content (videos or blogs)
  • fragmented visits, i.e., the user leaves after one page and instead of staying and exploring

Of course, some problems can be fixed by different methods, as we explained with the example of slow loading times above. That’s why it’s important to know what aspects you want to prioritise so that whatever solution you choose is most aligned with your priorities.

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