What’s the difference between UXD and UID?

Posted on April 21, 2016


UXD, or User Experience Design, improves the usability of a website. UID, or User Interface Design, is concerned with how the website is laid out according to the principles specified by the UXD. Interface design is about how a web page looks: its colour scheme, logos, images and other graphic elements. User experience design is about the functionality of the website.

Though both UXD and UID overlap in some areas there are differences and, for a website to be successful, you need to understand both UXD and UID.

A single web developer may be responsible for both UXD and UID, but on larger projects the two processes can be delegated to different individuals or teams.


The user experience design process looks at enhancing the user experience and how the user can be guided to specific goals. For example, on an ecommerce site, the goal is to sell products. On other sites the aim could be to get users to sign up so that an ongoing relationship begins that encourages repeat visits which lead to converting visitors to clients.

On an ecommerce site, UXD design is concerned with how to make the checkout process easy to follow and what the thank you page needs to communicate after a purchase.

User experience is concerned with the behaviour of people on a site. What do they feel and think whilst on your website? Why do they abandon the shopping basket without making a sale? What encourages them to read content rather than skim content?

Usually the UXD process begins with wire frame diagrams that define the path the website wants the user to take. These can be simply done using pencil and paper. Prototype websites are then created and tested on samples of users and modified according to how these users react.

In the UXD process, personas or profiles of the typical user are created and consideration is given to how the design of web interactions can influence this persona.

Until the user experience has been finalised, it is not necessary to concentrate on the look of the website. That is done in the User Design Interface stage.


The user interface design process usually comes after the User Experience Design has been finalised. An interface designer is usually a skilled graphic expert who designs each page of the website, incorporating all the interactive elements, the buttons, menus and links that create the user experience.


Excellent User Experience Design and User Interface Design need to go together in a website. As Helga Moreno a web expert puts it:

“Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.”

UI and UX depend on each other, if either is done badly then the whole site can suffer. If UID and UXD are managed by separate managers and developer teams, then they need to work closely together.

Paying close attention to how UXD integrates with UID is a key component of a successful website. Add quality content marketing and search engine optimisation and you have a website that delivers visitor numbers and sales conversions.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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