Do you notice a confused look on the faces of people when you introduce yourself as a UX Designer? What about Web Designer? Better. Well, although easier to grasp but it is not entirely the same. Both the job titles have a different scope and meaning to it. Actually, it boils down to how people perceive ‘design’. Generally people associate design only with visual design. Going on the same lines, web design is sort of visual design in which a web designer caters to the visual elements and technical execution of a website or application. It is meant for those who are skillful in designing a website. You should have a knack of graphic design, website design principles, buttons creation, links, Html, CSS etc. for web designing.
On the other hand, user experience (UX) design is an umbrella term that involves creation, implementation or construction according to a plan. Here, a UX designer not only deals with visual elements but also frames a solution or strategy to deliver an outstanding experience to the users. The designers must know about the flow that goes page to page, wireframes, icons, forms and thus, ultimately craft a great experience that is pertinent to web app or mobile device app. UX is a higher level discipline that understands how the users think and feel about a product. So, don’t think being a UX designer is all about stating a fancy title that has some weight to it.
Now, with this in mind, we bring you a detailed comparison between the capacity of UX designer and web designer, so that you can link it to your portfolio and resume and benefit in your position title :-
A UX designer must have thorough knowledge of the system that will come into play for the user. Whatever they want to or expect to achieve with it should be underlined. Further, an in-depth understanding of the user, that is, their goals and expectations is a major responsibility too. Topping it all, a UX design professional should be acquainted with the context of usage and work it out for the information architecture. Web designers take care of aligning the interface with the brands colors, fonts and identity. It is important that the design trend fits the interface as well as the visuals are compelling for the user and they make sure that happens. Talking about content, web designers place the content in the interface that is aesthetically pleasing and is easy for the user to understand.
No doubt, web is a wonderful platform to design. But that is not it when it comes to creation. There are desktop software and yes, our very own native mobile apps. UX designers are open to all and handle the technologies, constraints and conventions of these platforms with skill. These multiple platforms are all governed from the users’ standpoint and hence, the execution is adapted accordingly. Web designers have tasks limited to web platform on their shoulders only.
In order to excel in their area of work, UX designers should be conceptual, philosophical and physiological. After all, they have to handle visual design, prototyping, usability testing, front-end development or data analysis, everything with versatility. A web designer should be visual, inspired and creative as it’s the foresight and creativity that takes center stage in web designing.
UX designers have to architect the experience for their users and for that it is a necessity to identify the real problems faced by the customers. They are different from web designers as they make an inventory of problems, that too, substantiated by factual data. After establishing the problem, UX designers define the hypothesis for it and may even go for A/B split test to prove the hypothesis and validate it as per the requirements of the plan.
You mention the job title web designer and the impression that is conjured up in the minds of people are the artificial touches of Photoshop and Dreamweaver. The very mention of your post as a web designer somewhat underrated your professionalism and experience in front of the client. It masks your potential and brings on surface both generalization and specialization as that is what is needed in web designing. But for UX designers, they are specialists at being generalists. Also, there can be other areas of specializations even.
By now it must be clear that UX is an all-encompassing term that includes everything from research to post-launch maintenance. All the tasks performed by them are not just about design but much more. Duties such as conducting user research, framing the information architecture, creating user profiles and user stories are something towards which UX designers work dedicatedly. The web designers are nowhere involved in the aforementioned actions. However, if by any chance you are performing certain actions of the diverse discipline of UX, then you must communicate clearly to your clients or bring your skills in light during marketing.
If we look at a particular work day of a UX designer, it revolves around wireframes, prototypes, development of personas, user scenarios, navigational elements, sitemaps and site audits. Whereas for a web designer, he/ she looks after graphic design, color schemes, interface design, Photoshop/Illustrator, navigational design, page architecture and file preparation. Phew! That’s a lot in the kitty but as we know, success never comes easy!
The companies that don’t use web much for the workings of their business don’t actually need a UX designer. Web designer will suit them the best. Such companies don’t require the functionalities related to online presence from the core. Besides a blog to top-up the basic content, the site is quite fundamental wherein the main pages don’t change over time and thus, a web designer will match up to the simple needs. On the contrary, if designing an intricate application is your main target then you need someone with the ability to conduct the comprehensive procedure and develop it as per the requirements of the users.
Even the jobs used for advertising these roles have different language and mention terms like user experience designer, interaction designer and information architect to specify their search. And not forgetting the perks, demand and salaries of a user experience designer is much higher than that of web designers. So, if you market yourself as a UX designer, you are in for a much better pay for the service you give to the client. Now, this doesn’t mean you change job titles randomly rather it implies that you shouldeducate yourself about UX design, so that you can expand and go much beyond web design.
If you aim to outshine as a UI/UX designer, a useful tip will be to polish your web designing skills first. Yes, web design is a solid foundation for UX design and can make you an excellent designer. Even small steps like creating simple pages, including proper spacing, making icons, buttons and mastering visual design can go a long way in crafting an awesome UX design. Buckle down to learn designing of action pages and practice the making of web applications with vigor. All these efforts will prove helpful in carving your niche as a UX designer.
Okay, as such there is nothing wrong with calling yourself a web designer, but the thing is that the title tends to limit your opportunities and gives your view as someone capable of designing only static pages for small businesses. What separates UX designer from a web designer is the ability to give a design that touches the consumers and proves to be a strategic differentiator in business. That said, in the end the truth is that both UX and web designers coexist as complementary parts which together help in the making of a phenomenal product.