What is the difference between UX design and web design?

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Generally, people associate the word design (when it comes to tech) only with visual design or web design. However, UX design, which stands for 'user experience design' focuses on the user or customer experience, and is the 'behind the scenes' or invisible side of design.

The following is a comparison between UX design and web design:

UX Design

  • is user-focused vs technology-focused; platform independent
  • handles the technologies, constraints and conventions of multiple platforms
  • aims to deeply understand how a user thinks and feels about a product; its focus is on the user's habits, needs, emotions, goals, and expectations
  • principles and processes can be applied outside of web browsers: on mobile apps, desktop software, hardware products, retail spaces etc.
  • focuses on creation, implementation or construction according to a plan
  • involves user research and usability testing, interaction design, content strategy
  • involves brainstorming ideas, sketching and refining
  • involves conducting surveys and A/B split tests, creating user profiles, wireframes, and prototypes
  • develops personas, user scenarios, navigational elements, sitemaps and site audits
  • frames information architecture, designs visuals in Photoshop
  • frames a solution or strategy to deliver the best experience to the user
  • handles visual design, prototyping, usability testing, front-end development and data analysis
  • handles post-launch maintenance and continuous integration of improvements

Web Design

  • is technology-focused vs user-focused
  • does not take the human-centred approach of UX design
  • limited in that the domain of web design is strictly tied to a web platform
  • has extensive knowledge of graphic design and website design principles
  • involves being visual, inspired and creative and having foresight and creativity
  • up-to-date with all the latest in HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • always aware of any changes within the web landscape
  • focuses on design and on the visual elements of a website or application
  • involves excellent understanding of graphic design, colour schemes, button design, interface design, Photoshop/Illustrator, navigational design, page architecture and file preparation
  • knows the latest techniques of cross-browser compatibility and innovations in markup, style and behaviour
  • aligns the interface with a brand's colours, fonts and identity
  • makes sure that the visuals are compelling for the user
  • places the content in the interface so that it is aesthetically pleasing and is easy for the user to understand

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