What is the difference between a UX, UI and web designer?
You know you’re interested in design but you still don’t know what it entails for your future career. You’ve started research but probably still unsure of what it all means. Should you be a UX, a UI or a web designer? You don’t know? Don’t worry!
From demystifying the acronyms to showing you the differences via concrete examples, we’ll go through it all in this blog post.
Definitions of acronyms
UX design stands for User Experience design and tends to be the invisible or “behind the scenes” side of design. It’s all the work that goes into creating an app, website, software, or service. UX design includes design and user research, information architecture, interaction design, usability testing, and content strategy.
It’s easy to rush to designing solutions, but UX design works to focus on the user or customer to really understand their habits, needs, behaviors, motivations, and emotions. You have to deeply understand the problem and who you’re designing for in order to prototype and iterate on solutions. You’re not practicing UX design unless you’re talking to actual users!
UI design stands for User Interface design, which is the visual or graphical side of design. Some UX designers will also do some UI, but other UX designers will only go as far as research and wireframes. In the OpenClassrooms UX designer path, there’s a course devoted to UI design, whether you want to do it yourself, or so you can better collaborate with UI designers.
Established UI designers will have knowledge of graphic design, strong typography, color theory, photo direction, vector manipulation, (possibly) motion graphics, and at a senior level, be able to work as an art or creative director with a clear, visual, vision for the product or brand.
Web designers may be graphic designers who work on the web or developers who have built enough skills to create a good looking website or app. Web designers tend not to take the human-centered approach of UX design.
Psychology is embedded in UX design to help understand how people think, and what motivates them. Most web designers don’t go as deep to consider all the factors that a UX designer keeps in mind. Web design tends to be less iterative, whereas UX design is about integrating continuous improvements.
Whichever direction you take, it’s important to remember that design is not only about making things look pretty. Design is about problem solving, communication, and people.
To become a UX designer you don’t need to have any previous design experience!