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Web designer, web developer and UX/UI designer – What is the difference?

Web designer, web developer and UX/UI designer – What is the difference?

Jul 21 2021

Why you need to know the difference between a web developer, web designer and UX/UI designer

Various studies have indicated that a website has five seconds or less to make an impression whether good or bad.

Google previously revealed that up to 53% of web users will leave a website if it takes longer than five seconds to load on a desktop and three seconds on a mobile device. Taking that into account, it is obvious that you need to be clear about your goals before starting your web project – i.e. knowing what you want your visitors to do when they get there. Deciding on your goals will also determine the type of professional that you need to hire.

Not knowing the difference between a web designer, web developer and UX/UI designer could end up being a costly exercise with less-than-desirable results.

The evolution of website design for business

When the internet first gained its popularity, websites were popping up in the millions. Around the globe, companies everywhere began launching their very first websites. It was a novelty and businesses around the world all wanted one.

This boosted the web development industry, and it grew rapidly. Web developers, programmers and web designers soon became a trending career choice. What we knew as websites even just 15 years ago is so far from what we see today. Gone are the days when a basic brochure-style website was all you needed to build a brand online.

Although websites were much more basic in the late ’90s, the skills required to build one seemed to involve much more. You needed a web designer to design it and a web developer to build the functionality and a tester to do the assessment. Rarely would you find someone who could do it all well.

Today, websites are easier and quicker to build and yet much more complex in many ways. They have evolved into an interesting blend of strategy and technology. Websites have become a 24/7 sales tool that companies now heavily rely on to bring them traffic and leads. There is an element of marketing and strategy required for any website to successfully convert traffic into sales.

If you are looking to hire a web professional to build a website for your business, what you need will depend on your website goals. Knowing the difference between the services provided by a web designer, a web developer and the emerging UX/UI designer will help you make the best choice to ultimately achieve your marketing goals.

The evolution of website design for business

When do you need a web designer?

A web or website designer is a general name or category given to someone who has the graphical skills to design beautiful websites.

The industry is saturated with web designers who claim to be professionals in the industry. If you are looking for a budget solution or your goal is to simply showcase your work or projects, a web designer may be enough.

Today, web designers possess the skills to design and build websites using template-based software. On larger projects, a web designer might work with a web developer to design the layout of the site or app for the developer to code it where complex functionality is required.

Basically, the web designer is like a graphic designer who mainly focuses on the look and aesthetics of your website. They design colour pallets, graphics, iconography and general layout. While this is important, it is only surface-level deep in terms of effectiveness, so if your goals include developing sales funnels and lead conversion, a web designer will not have the skills to help you with this.

When do you need a web developer?

Web developers talk a different language – technically. Developers have the skills to code, not just websites but a range of applications and software in various simple and complex scripting languages.

Web developers (aka devs) focus on functionality. They don’t necessarily have the skills to design a beautiful website, instead, they work with a designer to bring the approved designs to life. A web designer will often consult with a web developer to check if certain design aspects are feasible.

If high-level functionality including website speed optimisation, general functionality fixes or other complex development is required, then a developer is what you need – they focus on functionality, coding, mobile experience and responsiveness.

Developers can be categorised into one of the following areas, front-end, back-end, software and app development. If your goal is to develop a web-based application, you will need the skills of an experienced front-end and back-end developer (also referred to as a full-stack developer). A web designer may be used to design the interface that users will interact with.

A web developer can also assist in the implementation and fixing of any technical SEO related issues that your website might have. However, the diagnosis of these issues is usually done by an SEO strategist – developers can fix it but don’t necessarily know how to find them.

When do you need a UX/UI Designer?

Websites have evolved into a blend of strategy and technology. As a result, the UX/UI designer was born – the love child of designers and developers.

Taking a different approach to web design and development and adding a hint of marketing, UX and UI designers rely on psychology to help understand the motivations and needs of the users visiting the website.

Digging deeper than the average web designer, a UX/UI designer conducts extensive research to identify and empathise with the needs of the customer. They break down the design to enhance the usability of a website and optimise it in a way that helps encourage conversions in the completions funnel.

The role of a UX and UI designers includes, but is not limited to:

  • Profiling expected user behaviours
  • Competitor research
  • Defining customer touchpoints
  • Content strategy & SEO
  • Interaction design
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Wireframing & prototyping
  • Usability testing
  • Sales funnel automation & integration

UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) designers rely on their data-driven research to produce a strategic website that does more than just promote a product or service. The overall goal is to deliver a website that fulfils the needs of the user, not necessarily a website that is simply ‘pretty’.

While a web developer and web designer are still valuable to the web industry today, if your goals revolve around generating more sales, you should consider a UX/UI designer to optimise the customer experience of your website. Their role overlaps both with the web developer and web designer, as they critique the website throughout from start to finish.

When do you need a UX/UI Designer?

Where can you find a web developer, designer and UX/UI designer all in one?

At FX Web Studio, we offer the complete package. Within our team, we possess the skill and expertise in digital marketing, web development and UX/UI design. We take a holistic approach to create websites, not just for looks but more importantly, to increase traffic and lead generation.

Google has previously announced that a website’s user experience is very much a ranking factor. Our websites are research-based and user-centric, meaning all designs are UX focused and are made for your business to get the most out of every visitor. Plus, it benefits your SEO too.

We don’t simply put a good-looking website together, make sure it works and throw it online. We strategise, do our research and create a working website that meets your target audiences’ expectations and wants.


In short, we create websites with intention, not just aesthetic. We create websites that sell!

If your website is not bringing you the expected leads or traffic you desire, give FX Web Studios a call to kick-start your journey to a website that will effectively achieve your digital marketing goals. Reach us at 1300 090 401.

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