Defining Web Design and Development, UI and UX, and Determining What Your Business Needs

When growing your business one of the most important areas you will focus on is its web presence.  Whether you own a digital business or brick and mortar, you must have a functional website.  Some areas of confusion when planning your website are web design, development, UI, and UX.

What is the difference between web design and development?  How is UI different from UX?  Why are they so important and will they make a difference in the performance and success of your website?  Here we break down what it all means for your business.  

Web Design

This encompasses everything relating to the look and functionality of your website.  The aesthetics of your website starts with graphic design and then ventures into how the site will work.  Website designers make sure that the color, typography, graphics, and interface buttons are taken care of. 

It is important to take into consideration technical limitations, trends in digital technology, and how users will use your website. When thinking of the other areas, including UI and UX, know that they are a part of your web design. Also included is the information architecture of your website, or how people will navigate your website.  

Something you may think falls solely under marketing is CRO conversion rate optimization.  Even in the design stage, your designer should be thinking ahead to how your website will work to increase leads, sales, and even signing up for your loyalty rewards or subscriptions. Your website will also have to lead customers to your CTA or call to action.

When you are ready to hire a web designer, you will want to have an idea of what your website needs to do to choose the right designer.  Browse their portfolio and see what speaks to you and would work for your website. Make sure the software they use will work with what your business is comfortable with.

Web Development

In web development, the focus is less on the look of the website and more on technical concerns. This is where your website is “coded”. Included in the coding function is setting up the front and back ends of your website. The front end of your website is what is displayed on the screen when looking at your website or application. 

Here the website designer’s work is made visible to the public using computer language.  It may be necessary for the two to work together to hash out things planned by the website designer that are not working on the front end.  The back end is the server-side of web development. 

Here is where the coding data is handled in databases and optimization of the website. The entire web development project can be handled by a full-stack developer who handles the front and back end. When you are ready to hire your web developer make sure you let them know what you need your website to do and ensure that they know the language required to make that happen. If your developer can be a part of the design process, they will be able to make sure that everything designed is possible. Look at their previous work and see how they function.

User Interface (UI)

This is the area that deals with how people can interact with your website or application.  The goals of your designer are to make an intuitive and responsive interface. Buttons should be easily found and identifiable. UI centers on providing the controls to the users as well as how to use them. Those dealing with UI also must be able to give all the options a user needs all on one screen without using too much space.  Another consideration is interaction design, IxD.  This area focuses on how the system communicates with the user through pop-ups, chats, and error messages.

Your UI designer’s portfolio will be an easy way to determine if they are the one for you.  Look over the website and see how it works, how you can find what you need, and how easy it was to use. Make sure that you are looking at websites similar to how your website will need to function.

User Experience (UX)

This focuses on the behavior of the user and how they feel as they use your website or application. This includes how they work with the web page layout, the user interface, and does it compel them to join or commit to you. Ensuring that your visitors are encouraged by the design along the way helps to increase sales. 

Using the right colors, a comfortable visual flow and appropriately placed calls to action are all important. It is in this area that timing and how everything interacts are determined. This can make all the difference when you want customers to stay on your website, find what they need, and choose to do business with you.

When choosing your UX designer, again you will look at the previous websites they have designed. How easy are they to navigate and do you enjoy using the website or application? This does not have to be a separate person, website designers with expertise in UX can also handle this important part of your website design.

Bringing it All Together for Your Business

All of these areas, web design and development, and UI and UX all work together. So, what do you need? It all depends on the needs of your business. If you cannot afford all of these specialties at once, you may need to focus on where you need help right now.  

Are you dealing with an unresponsive website, having issues with its appearance on mobile devices, or are clients not spending enough time on a certain page? This all is a part of web design. If you are dealing with the functionality of your website, security, or having error issues – your issue lies in web development. 

Finding it hard to navigate your website, unable to share things on platforms? Then your focus should be on UI.  UX problems are communicated in low conversion rates, high bounce rates, and users not exploring your website.

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