UI/UX Design

Web Design vs UX Design: How Do They Differ?

Andy Gibson
Andy Gibson
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Web Design vs UX Design

When you’re designing a digital product like a website, you will have to make the best of both web design and UX/UI design.  

But what’s the difference between web design and UX design? This is what this blog is all about.

Let’s delve deeper and learn more about web design vs UX design.

What Is Web Design?

Web design is a broad term that encompasses the overall aesthetics, visual design, and structure of the website. In technical terms, it refers to anything related to the front-end development of the website or web application that users can see and interact with, such as colors, fonts, images, and layouts. 

What Is UX Design?

UX design focuses on understanding users and their needs, and how to ensure easy navigation and use for a remarkable user experience. You can say UX design is a part of web design.

In simple terms, web design is about how a website looks while UX design is about how it works for the user.

Steps in Web Design

Web design is often considered to be an outdated word that does not indicate anything specific. It is used as an umbrella term that covers a lot of activities one of which also includes UX design. 94% of first impressions of a website are dependent on web design. This shows us how important it is for the credibility of your business to have a great design to capture the attention of the visitors. We have provided an infographic that shows the general steps followed in web design.

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As you can see, the steps are

  1. Scope and goals
  2. Planning & strategy
  3. Designing
  4. Content creation
  5. Development
  6. Testing
  7. Marketing 
  8. Maintenance
  9. Launch

This is an overview of the steps of web design. It is a collaborative effort between multiple teams to make it a success. The web designer team sets up scopes and goals and devises a plan based on that. After that, the responsibilities are shared among specialists to bring the whole project to life.

Tasks in Web Design

  • Graphic design and making sure website aesthetics are consistent with brand identity.
  • Create and optimize web page layout using tools like Adobe Creative Suite or Figma
  • Conceptualization and ideation of the overall site
  • Coding the front end of the website using programming language like HTML or CSS
  • Content and media creation like blogs, photos, animation, etc
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Delivering on projects like sitemaps, content, sketches, low and high-fidelity mockups

Steps in UX Design

UX design is a user-focused discipline of web design that tries to optimize and smoothen out the experience a user will have when using a digital product.

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These are the three main steps of UX design. A general layout idea is drawn using a pen and paper or through the use of a design tool. This is known as a wireframe. No design elements are put here, only basic lines and shapes. We create several wireframes and decide on whichever looks and feels the best.

Once we decide on a wireframe, we add design elements like color, brand elements, typography, etc. This is known as a mockup. It is meant to show us how it will look when the design elements are put in.

During the mockup stage, we still cannot interact with it, meaning we cannot actually click or scroll through a mockup. That is when we create an interactable version of the mockup known as a prototype. Prototypes are used to conduct user testing to gather data on user effectiveness.

Tasks of UX Design

  • Craft strategies based on user research and testing
  • Determine optimal information structure for digital products
  • Conduct surveys and questionnaires to find the root of problems
  • Study user behavior and psychology
  • Create wireframes and mockups
  • Determining the right prototypes and testing them
  • Perform user research and make changes based on findings
  • Finding out optimal product specifications
  • Collaborate with teams to create the best apps and site designs
  • Create user personas and devise journey maps
  • Make analysis reports for clients and stakeholders

Web Design vs UX Design: How They Differ


Web design is focused on creating websites only. They use the most updated tools to create the best-looking and most responsive sites. 

UX design, on the other hand, is concerned with users. They aim to optimize a product such that it caters to a user’s specific needs.


In terms of platforms, web design, as the name implies, is strictly restricted to web browsers for all kinds of devices, including desktops and mobile devices.

UX design is a broad field that applies not only to websites but also to all kinds of digital products such as mobile and desktop applications, video games, accounting, and retail software. UX design is used in almost anything digital that can be interacted with (even hardware like kiosks and checkout machines).

Main activities

One of the essentials of web design is graphics design. This aspect of the work can greatly overlap with user interface (UI) design. A lot of care and thought is put into the designs and aesthetics of a website. 

This includes how the overall site looks, how the brand identity is conveyed through design, and how to arrange everything. 

For UX design, most activities revolve around the users in mind, as a result, research and behavioral study of the target customers are given priority here. Visual design is part of it, but all of it is based on findings from datasets. 

The process can be described as a cycle of researching data collected from users interacting with prototypes and analyzing the data to make changes to the final product.


A web designer and a UX designer will have different approaches and strategies for the same problem. A web designer will consider how to create a better design that can address the issue, while a UX designer will look at user responses to figure out a solution.


Some tools are commonly used for both fields, such as programming languages (HTML or JavaScript), Adobe Creative Suite, and other interface design tools like Figma or Sketch.

Aside from that, UX design requires analytical tools like survey tools, web analytics, and other data-analyzing tools because most of the decisions are based on studies of user behavior.

Similarities Between Web Design and UX Design


One of the key purposes of both web design and UX design is problem-solving to achieve certain goals. They both identify an issue and try to design a solution around it. The new solution is then tested and afterwards, launched for users. 

Focus on visual appearance

Web design and UX design need to be visually charming to get the audience’s attention. Web design tries to implement aesthetics that go with the brand design elements.

UX design also needs to make sure users can see and understand the different layouts and button placements at a glance. Users should be able to easily navigate through a site. It is a delicate act of balancing text and design elements to help guide users through a product.

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Here, on the screen on the left, the user has too many things to look at, which will confuse them. They will have to stare at the screen for a few seconds before they realize what they are looking at. 

Considering the attention span of the average internet user (8 seconds), that will be too much to retain customers on your website. As for digital products, it will cause inconvenience for the user.

Now look at the screen on the right. There is only one photograph, one paragraph, and one clickable button. This makes it clear to the viewer what they should be focusing on.

By knowing how to arrange your elements, you can optimize the interactivity of your product, which is ideal for both web design and UX design.

Having an understanding of layouts

Web design and UX design need the designer to understand layout structures and more design-related aspects like color theory, typography, iconography, and others. 

They are important for creating an appealing layout for users and constructing a functional navigation system for your digital product.

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User journey mapping

Designers of both fields need to create the most effective pathway for users to go through. Every target audience has its own way of interacting with certain things. For example, a younger audience will have a different approach to a website than an older one. 

Web designers use webpage layouts, colors, and clever button placements to guide the users through a desired funnel while UX designers will try to understand user psychology and behavior to determine the best option for that. While methods will be different, the main goal will be the same.

Getweb Inc - Full-Cycle Web Design and Development Services

Here is a basic idea of a customer journey map. The journey map of your target audience will be something like this with a few alterations here and there. Being aware of it and designing your site or product around it will bring you more positive results.

Intensive collaboration with clients

Both fields are very complex tasks and have a lot of variability depending on what your clients want. You will need to work together with your clients to deliver the best possible product for them. 

You will also need to create reports that explain your design philosophy and thought process to stakeholders as the design process progresses.

Life long learning process

Finally, web design and UX design are an ever-evolving process that keeps changing with time. You will keep learning new things and innovations will keep coming in that will change the whole landscape. You will need to be diligent and adapt to innovations that pop up in the industry.

How Web Design and UX Design Work Together

So, you can see that web design focuses more on visuals while UX design on functionality. 39% of users will leave a website if they think its design needs to be updated and 42% will leave if they find it has poor functionalities.

These statistics show that both web design and UX design complement each other. If either one of them does not function as intended by the user, then a large percentage of your visitors will leave your site. Both these factors must go hand-in-hand in the creation process.

So, how can both web design and UX design work together? 

Let’s say, a bakery shop named Kim’s Confectionary started a new line of desserts. This dessert was created by observing and studying the choices and behavior of many customers observed by the shop. They set up a website where customers can order from.

Now, let’s say that during customer research, they learned that their age demographic is 30-35, and their experience of using internet services is adequate, not as tech savvy as younger people but not as lacking as older generations.

Here, Kim’s Confectionary has to set its website up in a visually pleasing manner that can show the cozy and comfy side of the brand, which is in line with its products (cakes and bakery items). This part of the work falls under web design.

Now, when designing the functions of the website, they need to consider the technical knowledge of their target demographics. Since they learned that their audience has some experience, they can exercise some freedom during design, while keeping it simple enough for them. This part of the job falls under UX design.

By combining both web design and UX design, they can ensure visitors get the overall brand identity at a glance while finding it simple enough to purchase their new line of desserts. By combining the two, conversions will go up which will ensure more revenue for the company.

Qualifications for a Web Designer

A good web designer will need the following skillsets and mentality.

  • Creative and artistic mindset
  • Knowledge of programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • Being able to design layouts
  • Being able to create custom WordPress website designs
  • Understand web usability 
  • Knowledgable on Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Have an eye for content and media
  • Adaptability to current design trends

Qualifications for a UX Designer

In case you are looking at UX design as a career path, these are skills and mindsets you will be expected to have.

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Being able to conduct user research and interpret datasets
  • Having a user-centric approach to any issue
  • Proficiency in industry-standard tools like Figma, Sketch, and other similar things
  • Proficiency in prototyping tools
  • Communication and collaboration allow you to work closely with other departments

Wrapping it up

Web design and UX design can seem quite similar and can be mistaken to be the same thing. We hope this blog on “Web design vs UX design” will now help you differentiate between the two.

If you need assistance with either web or UX design on any of your projects, we are only a few clicks away. Our team of experts can guide you through our process and deliver the best products according to your vision.


Q. Can you switch careers from being a web designer to a UX designer or vice versa?

Ans: A web designer and UX designer have a lot of complementary skills that come in handy for both fields. If you understand the basics of the other field, you can easily switch between the two job types. It should be noted that bigger companies will mention specialized fields for UX design while smaller companies will ask for web designers who can work on UX/UI design. Make sure the job descriptions match your skills when applying for a job.

Q. Do I need any coding knowledge to be a web designer or a UX designer?

Ans: While some aspects of web design or UX design may involve some level of coding, they are not expected to do the coding. So, yes you can be a designer in either field without having any coding knowledge. (Although it will help a lot if you do)

Which job is more popular, UX designer or web designer?

Ans: Web design is mostly restricted to web browsers for desktop and mobile devices, while UX design is applicable to a lot of platforms even outside online. Almost every software, application, video game, or anything similar needs a UX designer to optimize its effectiveness. Because of this, UX design is currently a very high-demand job that also pays a handsome salary compared to web design.

Andy Gibson
VIP Contributor
Andy Gibson
WordPress Developer

Andy began using WordPress since its inception. He has worked on numerous projects designing, coding, and operating WP sites for over a period of more than 14 years.

Andy has a knack for developing a complete platform from just an idea and enjoys optimizing complex integrations so they run for years on their own requiring little or no maintenance. He also crafts features based on what the job at hand calls for; rather than using pre-existing plugins and themes for an easy way out.

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