When one sets out to become a designer, it is not immediately clear how to go about it. Most designers start out by simply being interested in the design of objects or merely having a strong hand in drawing and sketching.
This marks the beginning of experimentation by the prospect. The need to express themselves better calls for tools to do so.
When the whole process has gone full circle, the student has already interacted with Photoshop, HTML, CSS, and some coding languages and tried designing and building websites.
It is not immediately clear what one should pursue in the professional sense. The job descriptions for a Web Designer and a UI/UX designer seem to vary but are mostly the same on many fronts.
Therefore, the designer must be knowledgeable to handle an interview and eventually the job itself when the opportunity comes up.
Understanding the Definitions First
To begin with, the definitions of a web designer and a UI/UX designer are different.
Most of the time, in their work, they will receive templates of what to build from their superiors and, for small projects, will come up with a concept of their own.
They are usually up to date with recent technologies and designs and employ these to achieve their goals.
On the other hand, the UI/UX designer has two roles attached to their job title. First, the UI stands for User interface, and the professional requirements are similar to what a web designer does.
What separates a web designer from a UI/UX designer is UX, which simply means user experience. This means that the designer’s primary role is how a user or customer will interact with the website, and the natural expectation is to improve this experience.
This means tons of research on user behavior, coming up with information architecture that works, testing the utility of the proposed design, and employing an effective content strategy.
Having understood the user requirements that need to be met, the UI/UX will either delve into the designing part of the project. Still, they delegate this to a web designer to implement in most cases.
Wireframes are the preferred mode of communication between the UI/UX designer and the Web developer. Still, in some cases, a template is created for this purpose.
It is imperative to note that the job of the UI/UX designer does not stop with the designing of the website since they have to do more research on customers to further improve the experience.
Having covered the main differences, let us now look at the specifics and interactions in the workplace.
Utility vs Aesthetics
The central aspect of User experience is to address the business needs of the website.
This means that the UI/UX designer will mainly look at clients’ needs that competitors did not meet and strive to meet these needs. This may involve conducting research, developing a prototype, and doing a validation test.
When the product offering has passed the validation, the UI/UX designer will give the designs to the web designer, who is responsible for creating the website’s aesthetics. The web designer will primarily refer to the personas developed by the UI/UX designer and choose typography, color schemes, and design layout to match the requirements.
The successful product that results from the whole process is a visual hierarchy that lets the user easily interact with the webpages and accomplish different tasks with ease.
The use of familiar icons and design elements with the proper usage pattern is integral to this process.
User Experience is Goal Oriented While Web Design Focuses on Customer Satisfaction
The user experience has to meet the client’s goal to have any success. This concerns the fact that web users go online with a goal in mind.
If users come to your website, they will come to achieve something. They may buy a product, pay taxes, or find information. The UI/UX designer has to tailor solutions that fit the prospective user.
An example would be the design process of an eCommerce website. The UI/UX designer will look at the spending patterns of users online, find out how to best appeal to online shoppers and implement strategies that best serve customer needs.
Once this process is completed, the user requirements are passed on to the web designer, translating this into a user interface that appeals to the target clients.
User Experience is a Business Process While Web Design is a Technical Process
It is now evident from the descriptions above that UX is a broad, multifaceted process that aims to validate building a website in the first place.
It is essential to look at how the process was implemented to understand the rise of UI/UX designing.
When businesses started occupying the webspace, the initial requirements were few to succeed. A website was merely an address for most companies to present their information to clients.
As time moved on, it became apparent that success was not as simple as initially, and the business case for online had to be implemented.
The business-oriented people were the first to solve the business case for the web. Still, the lack of technical know-how limited their participation.
This marked the rise of UI/UX designers, who were equipped with an understanding of how to build a website and solve problems associated with the business case.
The progression has taken a different road for the web design aspect of the equation. Today, from the initial designs meant for websites, we can witness various gadgets that require a user interface. That includes watches, washing machines, car dashboards, and even vending machines.
Different technologies have also improved the options of implementation and increased interactivity.
Different Skill Sets
The skills one needs to develop to excel in each career are different. To begin with, the UI/UX designer, in their capacity to solve client-side problems, need to have a psychological grasp of how users think to meet their needs.
The individual also needs to have a conceptual approach to solving problems. They need to come up with a concept to represent it in the best communicable format for proper communication with the Business owners and the web designer.
For the web designer, an eye for aesthetics is essential to know what colors will appeal to the client, choose the best typography and select the best layout that will have the intended outcome when the client interacts with the interface.