What makes Website Designer and User Experience Designer Different

13 June 2013

It’s funny that earlier I wasn’t aware about the difference between a website designer & a UX designer and today as a UX designer I am having hard time explaining the same to the others. I am sure in UX industry it’s a hot topic & there have been many blogs & write up on this, however as rightly said by Mr. Nelson Mandela “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, I believe educating people from time to time will help us spread the message. 

To begin with the history…Earlier web designers were the people who used to take care of the entire creation of the website. Maximum numbers of times people were shown web templates to choose which they at the most compared with the color of their logo & the things to be displayed on their home page. Businesses were not aware that just having pretty pictures, clever content & display of products on their home page are not enough to reach their target customers. They designed their websites as per their needs & expected the customers to adapt themselves to operate their website with no clue whether it is liked by them. Same trend was followed by product making companies. 

With UX coming into picture, things became more organized & user-centered. Companies realized that there is something beyond visually appealing images & hot sales. Gaining customer confidence, engagement & loyalty through UX designs were working a great deal than traditional direct selling process. Years later when e-commerce boomed this industry started taking UX as a mandatory parameter in their website designs. There was a huge risk involved if user’s needs & ease of use were not taken care off. In this ever-increasing digitalization world websites have become an important source of getting information & if a user finds any issues in completing his task, he is likely to switch to any other e-commerce portal. Here the procedure was reversed “Designs were made as per user’s needs & companies were expected to make a website to adapt to user’s needs. 

UX became not just a parameter but an entire course with a degree which makes them something more than web designers. Here is how a UX designer plays its role. 

1.A UX designer researches about the client’s industry, their target customers & the issues with the current design. They are also interested in company’s expectations from the website or product after implementation of UX, as different companies have different expectations. Some are looking for generating revenue & some want for branding purpose. 

2.The UX designer then notes down client’s requirements on their website & the reason behind that so that appropriate solutions can be provided to them. 

3.After this session, the client gives their approval to the data collected. The UX designers prepare prototypes or wireframes which they will test with the target users. Any suggestions or issues pointed out by them are then discussed with the clients. Sometime they compare the previous website with current website along with the competitor’s website. 

4.After the approved wireframe & layout, a UX designer’s work doesn’t finish here. They co-ordinate with Visual designers to make them understand the mind frame of the target customers. 

5.After development of the website a UX designer is also keen to operate the output after the final quality test. There can be a possibility that changes will be applicable which will be in the favor of the users. 

I am not discriminating between a website designer and a UX designer, but don’t you think the above roles which a UX designer plays in a project gives them a right to get a different designation & a change in people’s mind frame on UX designers. Our designation itself has “user” in it and hence we always preach the same - “Know your user first” and this has somewhat benefited the human in me by “Thinking about others”. 

It helps in lifting the overall conversion rate of the website. Eventually, such improvements are of great assistance in enhancing the overall User Experience of the website. 

In conclusion, Usability Testing is a direct way of observing user behavior while they are performing tasks and trend analysis is the indirect method of analyzing user’s browsing behavior of the website. Results obtained from the above two analysis backed by appropriate HCI and UX principles helps in making good design decisions. 

Evidently, the choice depends upon constraints such as time and budget allocated for the analysis. So, what is your choice?

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