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When designing a website, you’re likely to come across terminologies like web design, web development, user experience, and user interface, to mention a few.

If you’re new to tech, the terminologies feel like jargon. Finding their meaning helps you understand how to leverage them for the best results.

For example, a website whose user interface makes navigation easy increases engagement and retention.

Here’s a detailed overview of each term and how to optimize them.


What is Web Design?

Web design refers to the process of developing a website. It involves planning the website layout and selecting the theme, colours, typography, and site architecture.

The development process must be well-thought-out because it lays the foundation for other web design elements, including the user interface and user experience.

For example, a well-designed website makes navigation easy so visitors can quickly find what they want.

To design a great website, web designers must understand the nuances of website design and computer programming.

They also need great listening and communication skills to understand and translate clients’ needs into a website.


What is Web Development?

This is an umbrella term for various activities that go into developing a website and making it functional, visually appealing, and user-friendly.

Terms such as coding, web maintenance, web development languages, and more come into play here.

Web development can further be divided into three specialities:

  • Front-end web development: Here, the developer focuses on the parts of the website the visitor interacts with. Simply put, they specialize in creating and designing a site’s user experience and user interface
  • Back-end web development: The developer focuses on design elements facilitating communication between the user’s browser and the site’s database. They include writing code, planning the website architecture, scripting, etc.
  • Full stack web development: It combines the two specialities- front-end and back-end development. Developers who can handle both categories are a smart option for startups

Web development requires developers to get acquainted with common web development languages like JavaScript, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Python, and Java, among others.


What is User Interface (UI)?

User interface is the specialization that focuses on designing and organizing a website’s interactive elements, including menus, tabs, buttons, icons, scroll bars, and search fields.

It’s one aspect of a website we don’t give much thought to, yet it significantly enhances the user’s experience on a website.

If a visitor keeps on looking for or thinking about how to use simple controls like the search button and scroll bar, your website needs a better user interface.

The user interface also deals with space management. UI designers decide how to allocate the white space so the website isn’t too cluttered or looks empty.


What is User Experience (UX)?

The user interface and user experience are closely related as they optimise web design elements to make a website more engaging.

However, the user experience focuses more on making the visitor feel comfortable when browsing the website. It deals with how a person feels when interacting with the website.

As such, the goal is to make the website user-friendly, engaging, and accessible.

Questions such as how a web page layout affects a user or how you can design a page to lead the user to sign up guide UX designers.

Since UX is centred around the user, the designer must study user behaviour to understand how they interact with the website. Here’s how they do it:

  • Research the consumers and competitors: The goal is to discover what visitors like, the problems they experience when browsing the website, and their general behaviour. Competitor analysis is also necessary to find out what competitors are good at
  • Information architecture: The designers use the findings to develop a visual blueprint that outlines essential features and interactions to incorporate on the website. They may use a flowchart to help you understand how the product is supposed to work. Gaps identified are also addressed
  • Wireframes and prototypes: Next, designers develop ideas and translate them into models that can be used to produce more responsive and engaging websites
  • Testing: The designer implements and tests the ideas to see how they work in practice. They will be on the lookout for any issues, adjusting them before adding or removing them from the website
  • Continuous updates: The website needs constant improvements for an excellent user experience. For example, a website’s analytics may reveal a long checkout process on e-commerce, leading to a high cart abandonment rate. The designer will streamline the process to address the problem


Do You Need Web Design, Web Development, User Interface, or User Experience?

The four elements work together to help companies achieve various goals. For example, web design enables you to develop a website to showcase your products or services.

Web development, on the other hand, keeps the website operational. The coding and web maintenance ensure each icon functions as it should.

For example, when you click on the About Us page, you expect that web page to lead you to a page that tells you more about the company, not the products or contact web page.

The user interface and user experience overlap as the focus is on keeping visitors engaged and satisfied.

User interface involves adding interactive elements and organizing them to make the web pages intuitive. It deals with:

  • How content flows on a page
  • How to use white space
  • Placement of icons for seamless interaction
  • How to select colours and fonts to enhance consistency

The user experience is much broader, focusing more on meeting the user’s expectations.

It requires a deep understanding of the target audience to deliver a positive user experience.



Web design, web development, user interface, and user experience are critical to helping a business realize its goals.

Whether you want to increase conversions, website traffic, or signups, each aspect uniquely achieves all such objectives.

Enlisting the help of a professional is critical to leveraging their potential.

Here at Simpaul Design, we understand this all too well and are ready to help you develop your website or optimize the user experience. If you need help with any of these web design elements, don’t hesitate to call us.



Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.

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