A graphic with the data from UX design on the left and a color palette for UI design on the right.

UI UX: Two Terms Important for Understanding the Basics of Good Website Design


You’ve heard these terms before. You’re not sure what they mean. Maybe at this point you’re too afraid to ask.

Don’t worry. We’re here to explain and keep it simple. Stick with us until the end and we’ll give you all the information you need to know to understand the basics of good website design.

A good website is key to the success of any business, whether you have digital products or not. The key to a good website is good website design. The key to good website design is good UX and UI designers.

So, let’s begin with the difference between the two.

UX/UI: What’s the Difference?

UX means user experience design. UI means user interface design.

On the surface, they seem pretty similar. However, there are some key differences that all beginners should understand. Before we do a deep dive into each kind of design, start separating them by thinking of each in these simple terms:

UX design figures out how a website should work.

UI design figures out how a website should look.

While they both involve making website design decisions, they’re two completely different skill sets that hiring managers should be aware of.

What is UX Design?

When it comes to website design, UX design is responsible for making sure that the user is satisfied with their experience on the website. This means it designs the websites’ usability.

Even if you have a great product and an effective digital marketing strategy, few people will actually use your site if very few people can actually use your site. UX design helps identify how users will feel using navigating your website, which is one of the most important practices of great web design.

UX design is the first step in planning a great website. Before anything is done, great UX design sets down the foundations for your website that will anticipate users’ needs. This makes sure that a positive user experience is at the core of your design throughout the process.

What Does a UX Designer Do?

UX designers begin the process of website design and help bridge the gap between the users’ experience and the company’s goals through research. Great UX understands user needs and uses that understanding to plan your website.

UX Designers are in charge of:

    • User research and focus groups
    • Determining end user needs
    • Information architecture / mapping out the user journey
    • Making wireframes
    • Testing user flow
    • Usability testing
    • Identifying pain points
    • Data analytics

What is UI Design?

If you want to make your website pretty, turn to UI design. While we like to think that looks aren’t anything, good UI design is important in keeping users on your site. If they don’t like what they see in the first 15 seconds, they’re likely to leave.

Sometimes there’s some confusion about what UI is. The “interface” here means the point of contact between a user and the internet (so basically, the screen).

This means UI design takes care of everything a user is going to see on their screen. This covers everything from images on the site, the look of buttons and banners, and the page layout.

They work closely with UX designers, but come later in the process. Typically UI designers will create the final design of the website (or mobile app) before it’s published.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

A great UI designer will be the key to communicating your brand’s style through website design. They’ll also design the easiest path for your users to move through the site.

A good UI designer will understand design principles. They’ll have a wide range of design skills to handle several steps in the design process. UI designers will handle:

    • Create style guides
    • Maintain branding across design elements
    • Interaction design
    • Responsive design
    • Graphic design such as color palettes, typography, animations
    • Visual mockups, and prototypes
    • Delivering final iteration to the development team

UX/UI: How They Come Together

Since user-experience is such an important element of website design, UX designers will kick off the process with UX research. They’ll do competitor analysis, develop customer personas, and run focus groups.

From the UX research, they’ll develop wireframes of information architecture. They will build prototypes and test for usability. If they identify any pain points there, they’ll adjust the prototype.

The UI designers will then take the UX prototypes. They’ll begin adding visual elements to the beginning iteration of the website. They’ll create visual mockups of page layouts from the UX prototypes.  They’ll add the interactive elements, animations and other visuals.

Once the feel of the product and the visual design is finished and ready for the real-world user, the website is ready for the final step of web development where it is officially coded and released.

Wait — What About Front-End Development?

Now that you’ve got UI UX down you might still be a little confused. Who actually builds the final website?

Not only does UI design get confused with UX, but it also gets confused with front-end development. Some people think that UI developers will code the site and publish it. Great UI designers may be able to code, but front-end development is actually a separate career path.

UI designers and UX designers are responsible for design decisions only. Once the UI and UX design process is finished, the final iteration of the website prototype is passed along to front-end (and back-end) developers to build the design into a website.

Lift the Weight of Design Decisions

You know a good website is important. You know a poorly designed website holds back your business.

But for the life of you, you just can’t wrap your head around UI UX, and all the other new terms that come along with digital marketing. You have the best product and so you want the best web designers. But just like with UI design and UX design, product design and website design are two different skill sets.

Don’t sweat it. We’ve got your web design covered. Back-end, front-end, UI UX design — give us a call today and we can handle it all.