The Difference Between User Experience, Web Design and Web Development

While all of them are interconnected, each is distinct.

User experience is how a user interacts with your website, and what they experience while doing so. It can be considered the flow and layout of information on your website. Can your site’s users see and experience what they need to do next? Are they quickly and easily able to find the correct information? Is the text on your website easy to read? How many clicks does it take to complete their task? Does the user get frustrated, or do they leave your site feeling happy and like they accomplished their goal?

Web design is essentially how your website visually communicates information. What colors does your design use? What font pairings are used? How do the images look? How are the elements on your website spaced out? As you can start to see, the web design choices you make will affect the user experience. For example, if you decide to use a font that looks cool but is difficult to read in a big block of text, your users may become frustrated. Or if you decide to make the “Add To Cart” button on your website the same color as everything else on that page, it may be hard for users to quickly find it.

If web design is the “face” of your website, then web development can be considered the “brain.” Web development is the functionality of your website. Take a scheduler application on your site that users can book appointments through. The ability of a user to click on a date, time, and then submit the request that then sends them an automated email confirming their appointment - that’s web development. It’s probably easy to connect the dots back to user experience and web design. You can have a beautiful and sleek looking scheduling application on your website that a user can easily find, but if it doesn’t function properly, your users will become frustrated and go elsewhere.

The Importance of Managing User Expectations

Many people think that as long as they have a good looking website, then their business will be successful. Not exactly! In order for your website to help bring in customers, an effortless user experience is a huge competitive advantage. The quickest way to lose a customer is by making them frustrated or have to think too hard on how to accomplish a task.

This is where understanding and managing your users’ expectations comes in. People have their own biases and expectations even before they get to your website based on what they tend to probably see/expect from websites these days. There are a lot of factors that affect this. For example, someone in a younger generation probably has different expectations for what a website can and should do compared to someone who has been using the internet since its invention. If they fill out a contact form, do they expect a follow up confirmation email? Do they expect a visual cue that the form worked? Do they expect to be able to save their information and come back later to finish their task? Can they do the same things on your mobile and desktop site? How long do they expect a task to take?

It’s vital that you understand what your users want from your website and provide them with the quickest path to accomplishing their goal. Without that knowledge, your web design, web development, and user experience strategies will not be as effective as they could be, and you’ll be sitting there wondering why you aren’t generating any new conversions!

Converting Users Into Customers

So how do user experience, web design and web development intertwine to help convert users into customers?

Let’s think about it with a fishing analogy. The web design is the lure, attracting a user’s attention long enough to stay on your website. Getting them to “bite” is the user experience - making sure they’re able to effortlessly find the CTA (call to action). Essentially, they are able to figure out what to do without much thought. Then web development is the fishing pole that reels them in at the end - if it isn’t working, you’re tossing just a lure in the water and hoping to catch a fish. Without a fishing pole, how do you plan on getting the fish out of the water? When your website functions as a user expects it to and it allows them to accomplish their goal - when they finally click “submit” on a contact form or complete the checkout process - now they’re a customer!

While this just scratches the surface of why user experience, web design and web development are integral to converting your users into customers, hopefully it’s a good starting point to rethinking how your website is built!

Watch the full video on this topic and much more on our YouTube page!

Transforming Your Site

Not sure where to start? Our friendly team located in Denver, CO is experienced in user experience design, web design, and web development. We specialize in creating custom digital strategies for our clients to help them achieve their goals and become as successful as possible.

Chat with one of our team members today for more information and a free evaluation!

Written By Justin Goldman

Justin Goldman joined Colorado Digital in 2016 after graduating from Full Sail University with a degree in Web Design and Development. Since then, he’s been bringing client visions to life with his outstanding web design and development skills.