Web Design, Web Development, UI and UX: The Differences, Explained

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    Want a website built for your small to medium-sized business? That means hiring a web designer, right?

    Googling 'web design in Brisbane' produces terms like web developer, UI designer, and user experience experts. Each offers a different service yet all claim to work in the field of website design.

    Is there a difference between UI vs UX? What are web design and web development and which should you choose for your project?

    This article provides a no-nonsense guide to the technical world of website creation.

    Discover why user experience should always drive the design. See how a developer differs from a web designer. Learn the role of a web design consultant and how they can help you achieve your goals.

    Read on to understand the differences between web design and web development.

    ui ux hand drawn wireframes

    Building a Website

    Every business should own its own website to promote its brand and market its products and services. Yet most small business owners have limited knowledge of how a website works or how to create one.

    A live website requires 4 basic elements:

    1. Domain name
    2. Hosting
    3. Web site structure
    4. Content

    A domain name acts as the address of the website. It points the user's browser to the website host or space on the Internet where the site resides.

    The website itself can either be static or dynamic.

    A static site rarely changes and consists of simple HTML files. HTML is the language of the web and all sites produce this code to display content.

    Dynamic websites work with a database in the background. They can hold an unlimited amount of pages and are easier to manage. WordPress is the perfect example and millions of businesses use this platform to build their sites.

    What Is Web Design?

    Web design is a catch-all phrase that relates to how a website looks and works.

    A traditional website designer is more front-end focussed. In other words, they design the site's template or theme and other visual elements. Those designs then translate into HTML which the website browser displays on the user's screen.

    User Interface

    UI or User Interface anticipates what the user will do on the website and creates a system to achieve this.

    A standard example is the navigation system.

    What are the top-level links? If the site is e-commerce enabled how will product categories fit into the design? Will it cater to users on a smaller screen or those with a disability?

    The best UI designs must conform to usability guidelines. They should also adhere to search engine optimisation (SEO) guidelines. Google now puts mobile users first so if the site isn't responsive or optimised for mobile then you'll lose market share.

    the ux design team with tablet plans

    What Is Web Development?

    HTML isn't a coding language. It cannot interact with content, process forms, or add items to a shopping cart. To achieve those functions requires the services of a website programmer or web developer.

    There are two types of web development: front-end and back-end.

    JavaScript is a common front-end computer language. It can activate a response when the visitor presses a button. It can also display a newsletter sign-up form and validate the user's input.

    However, JavaScript has its limits hence the need for back-end developers.

    Back-End Website Development

    Back-end coding processes more complex tasks like saving records to a database or verifying credit cards. A content management system (CMS) like WordPress uses the coding language PHP to achieve this.

    Security lies at the heart of back-end application design.

    Sadly, many Australian companies have become victims of cybercrime due to poor website code. Choosing a web development team with a firm knowledge of SSL certificates could save you from hacking attempts.

    ui designer working on website interface

    UI vs UX

    The user interface focuses on the website's aesthetics or how it looks and works. UX or User eXperience, goes beyond that. It ensures that every element of the site centres on the user's enjoyment.

    UX encompasses:

    • User research
    • Information architecture
    • Usability testing
    • Interaction design
    • Content strategy

    Practicalities like website speed also factor into UX design. Compressing files or hosting them on a CDN can significantly improve loading times. That benefits both the user and the website's search engine position.

    Responsive Web Design

    Google actively checks if your website is optimised for mobile users and those with a smaller screen. If your visitors need to pinch and zoom to read the content then Google won't promote you.

    Responsive website design ensures your site works on any device.

    Media queries and JavaScript combine to create a unique UI depending on the screen size. The content remains the same but the interface will change.

    How do you know if a web team offers responsive site design or if they aren't fully honest? That's when a web design consultant becomes essential.

    ux and ui designers working

    Why Hire a Web Design Consultant?

    A web design consultant works alongside you to:

    • Create a long-term strategy with clear goals
    • Prepare a marketing plan including online advertising and SEO
    • Offer advice on content creation and back-linking
    • Help you choose the right development team

    They will help explain the technical aspects of web design in a language you can understand. They can also identify technologies that can better serve your goals.

    Isn't hiring a consultant simply adding to the overall cost?

    An expert web design consultant like Lift Strategies can actually reduce costs by keeping you on budget. Web developers tend to hard-sell additional services which can drive up the price tag. Consultants will weed out unnecessary features and recommend cost-cutting alternatives.

    Lift Strategies Demystifies Web Design and Web Development

    Hiring the right web design and web development teams opens up Pandora's box of technical terms.

    Phrases like UI and UX, back-end coding, and responsive design can intimidate many business owners. They often buy into services they don't need or that aren't capable of promoting their brand.

    Lift Strategies offers website design consultancy and web development to enterprises like yours.

    Our high-performance sites and online stores put the user first. UX is fundamental to our ethos and our custom WordPress sites cater to any business size.

    Book a free discovery session today and see how Lift Strategies can demystify web development.

    Owen is a business consultant with extensive experience in corporate affairs, external relations, strategy, marketing and engagement. He consults with clients to understand the challenges they face and create solutions to overcome. Owen holds an MBA, Master of Business, Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Investor Relations, and certifications in corporate innovation, digital marketing, and product management.

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