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

You know you’re interested in design but you still don’t know what it entails for your future career. You’ve started your research but you’re probably still unsure of what it all means. Should you be a UX, a UI or a web designer? You don’t know? Don’t worry!

From demystifying the acronyms to showing you the differences via concrete examples, we’ll go through it all in this blog post. 

Definitions of acronyms

UX design stands for User Experience design and tends to be the invisible or “behind the scenes” side of design. It’s all the work that goes into creating an app, website, software, or service. UX design includes design and user research, information architecture, interaction design, usability testing, and content strategy.

It’s easy to rush to designing solutions, but UX design works to focus on the user or customer to really understand their habits, needs, behaviors, motivations, and emotions. You have to deeply understand the problem and who you’re designing for in order to prototype and iterate on solutions. You’re not practicing UX design unless you’re talking to actual users!

UI design stands for User Interface design, which is the visual or graphical side of design. Some UX designers will also do some UI, but other UX designers will only go as far as research and wireframes. In the OpenClassrooms UX designer path, there’s a course devoted to UI design, whether you want to do it yourself, or so you can better collaborate with UI designers.

Established UI designers will have knowledge of graphic design, strong typography, color theory, photo direction, vector manipulation, (possibly) motion graphics, and at a senior level, be able to work as an art or creative director with a clear, visual, vision for the product or brand.

Web designers may be graphic designers who work on the web or developers who have built enough skills to create a good looking website or app. Web designers tend not to take the human-centered approach of UX design.

Psychology is embedded in UX design to help understand how people think, and what motivates them. Most web designers don’t go as deep to consider all the factors that a UX designer keeps in mind. Web design tends to be less iterative, whereas UX design is about integrating continuous improvements.

Whichever direction you take, it’s important to remember that design is not only about making things look pretty. Design is about problem solving, communication, and people. 

To become a UX designer you don’t have to have any previous design experience!

UI vs. UX designer
What is UX design?

Beginner courses to follow for free on OpenClassrooms:

Introducing Sketch For UX And UI

Dive Into UX Design

Advanced courses to follow for free on OpenClassrooms:

Conduct Design And User Research

Build A Prototype And Test It On Your Mobile

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: $72,000 | Australia: AU$70,607 | India: Rs 609,379

Salary of UI designer:

UK: £29,293 | US: $58,832 | 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.

Useful resources handpicked for you

One thing is for sure: when you start learning something new, you want to read all about it. The abundance of information present on the Internet has made it difficult to know exactly WHERE to look to read the most valuable and qualitative articles. Here are a few resources that we recommend and that we will save you some time:

UX blogs

  1. UX magazine
  2. Smashing Magazine
  3. UX booth

UI blogs

  1. Invision Blog
  2. UI Parade
  3. Mockplus

Web design blogs

  1. Designmodo
  2. Web designer depot
  3. Design shack

Now what? 

Now that you know the theoretical difference between UX, UI and web design, and the field of UX Design has piqued your interest, it is time to delve in!

At OpenClassrooms, we have created a master’s-level program in UX design which you can complete in just 12 months.

OC find out more


18 Comment
  1. Very interesting how UX designer is getting paid the most even though it seems like it requires more thinking than the other 2 but yet is still weird.

  2. Interesting but in my experience I have done all of the UI/UX design practices but was labeled a web designer. I’m fine with that because anyone who has ever designed interfaces or anything for that matter knows deep down its about the end-user not just something pretty to look at.

  3. Нey! Thіs post could not be written any better!
    Ɍeading through this post remindѕ me of my previoսs room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page
    to him. Pretty sure he will have a good гead. Many thanks for sharing!

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