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Web Design vs UX/UI Design

career change Aug 30, 2022

Are you a web designer with an identity crisis? You’re not alone. It is common these days to have a career encompassing different tech and web design aspects. Maybe you are a freelancer, perhaps you do web design but also coding, maybe you’re a UX Designer, or a young professional unsure of what job titles you’re supposed to be searching for.


There is a lot of variation under the umbrella of web design. This article clarifies web design and how it has evolved into User Experience (UX) Design.


What is Web Design?

Web design is concerned with how the interface of a website looks (UI). Put more simply, web design focuses on the visual elements of a website. The screen you are looking at now is an example of web design. The placement of the logos, text of the article, colors, and side columns have all been carefully planned by a web designer (or by someone whose job entails web design). Effective web design will create conversation and produce action by the user. 


Web design is so much more important than just looking pretty. The aesthetics of a website affect how the user views the product. Users make judgments on a site in less than half a second. That means in less time than you can even read the title of this article, you've probably made some assumptions based on the layout of the screen. Web Design can be an amazing tool to convey emotion, get a message across, or sell a product. Web design also plays into the integrity of information on a website. Users are more likely to trust information coming from a well-designed website. 


How to Become a Web Designer?

1. Develop your skills- the skills you will need will vary depending on your specialization or desired career outcome. For example, if you want a more all-encompassing job of building and designing a website's visuals, you will need to learn some coding and essential graphic design tools. Here is a list of skills that would be useful for web design, give or take some

  • Creativity
  • design theory
  • Prototyping
  • design tools (adobe XD, Figma)
  • coding (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python)
  • communication

2. Get an Education/Earn certifications - The level of education you need will depend on your desired career outcome. Some options for people interested in web design include UI Designer, Freelancer, UX Designer, Web Developer/Designer

  • boot camp
  • online courses
  • formal education
  • self-teaching

3. Build a portfolio - if you’ve looked into any design career, you have probably heard A LOT of talk about portfolios. What does this mean? Well, portfolios are an organized website/presentation of all the projects you have done as a designer. This generally includes descriptions of your tasks in the scheme and the process you took to complete the tasks at hand. Portfolios show employers and clients that you mean business and have the experience to back it up. 

4. Apply for jobs & market yourself - Now that you have your education, skills, and portfolio polished, you can apply for jobs. Make sure you know what makes you an asset to employers. Don’t be afraid to speak highly of your work and skills.



What Does a Web Designer do?

Web designers handle the creative aspects of building a website. Web developers build the foundations for the website and then coordinate with designers. 

Day-to-day, a web designer could have the following tasks:

  • Laying out a website
  • Creating mockups and prototypes of a website
  • Working in Adobe or Figma to create visuals, graphics, animations, and prototypes
  • Register web domains
  • Meet with clients and discuss their needs
  • Collaborate with web developers and other departments
  • Update old web designs to make them more efficient and desirable
  • Coordinate with writers and other designers


What is User Experience (UX) Design?

User Experience Design focuses on forming solutions to everyday problems, researching, and testing these solutions. It is concerned with the user-product relationship and creating easy-to-use designs. 

Day-to-day, a web designer could have the following tasks:

  • Analytic Research
  • Finding solutions to real-world problems
  • Creating wireframes, prototypes, and visuals
  • User testing
  • Creating Interaction Design and Visual Design
  • Targeting a specific user group and working with clients
  • Collaborating with web developers and other departments
  • Update old web designs to make them more efficient and desirable
  • Coordinate with writers and other designers


Is Web Design and UX/UI Design The Same?

As you may have noticed, UX and Web Designers have many of the same day-to-day tasks. There is a lot of overlap between the two fields. Essentially, UX Designers are Web Designers. However, Web Designers are not always UX Designers. Something to be noted is web designers only design websites, whereas UX/UI designers will design apps as well. UX/UI design is web design but focuses more on the user experience and the needs of the user. 


Web design is almost as old as the internet. Recently, experience design has become popular. The internet went from just working, to having marketing and base designs, to now having customized user experiences with elegant designs catered to a user's needs. 


That being said, Web Design is a key part of UX Design. If you are interested in web design or are already a web designer, you may want to consider a career in UX Design. 


Are you interested in becoming a UX Designer?

Schedule a free mentoring session with a UX designer today!


Brynn is an aspiring UX designer who loves the beach, cooking, drawing, and meeting new people. She loves her avocados on a big salad or in a breakfast burrito.

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