What is the difference between a UX and UI designer and a web designer?


The differences between web design, UX design and UI design and why it matters to the clients that hire these designers.

Web Design

Web designers today are usually modern era graphic designers trained in visual design to be experts in:

  • Creative concepting
  • Color theory
  • Typography
  • Icon development
  • Diagrams
  • Infographics
  • Interactivity, i.e., rollovers, drop-down menus, digital slideshows, call-to-action buttons and forms.

A web designer may have basic knowledge of information architecture (IA), HTML, JavaScript coding and web hosting managment skills but most designers must partner with a web developer for writing code fit for production and an information architect for the IA. The web designer is also focused on the client’s brand from both a visual and messaging perspective.

UX Design

UX is the acronym for “User Experience.” UX design brings a decidedly left brain component to a digital experience and may encompass the design of apps or other software products as well as websites. While a good web designer is focused on the end user’s experience, the UX designer takes it to the next level and applies a specific methodology around the user.

A strong focus on UX may be a good fit for websites of some complexity due to:

  • Multiple user types
  • Multiple products or services catering to different audiences
  • Size of the website
  • Merger or acquisition

UI Design

UI stands for User Interface, which comes out of the software world in which the User Interface of a product IS the product. UI designers traditionally are experts in designing machine to human interfaces. The adage “Form Follows Function” is the operating principal in UI Design.

With regard to websites, UI Design is more synonymous with front-end development, i.e., managing complex information, tasks and workflows and distilling it into screens and flows that are intutitive and make something complex appear simple. In essence, UI Design represents the intersection of programming and design.

Different jobs, different salaries

Now that you fully understand the difference between all three terms, let’s have a look at career prospects. You may be wondering how much a UX, UI or web designer earns and whether it will influence your decision.

We’ll use PayScale for salary indications, but you can also use Glassdoor if you want a second opinion.

Salary of UX designer:

UK: £31,000 | US: $95,000 | Australia: AU$70,607 | India: Rs 609,379

Salary of UI designer:

UK: £29,293 | US: $85,832 | Australia: AU$63,182 | India: Rs 405,211

Salary of web designer:

UK: £22,860 | US: $48,495 | Australia: AU$52,595 | India: Rs 229,873

You can see that UX designers earn more than the two others. But don’t make it be your one and only reason why you choose this career path over the others. At the end of the day, you’ll want to be happy in your job and that’s why you need to pick the one that meets your wishes best.