The difference between front-end dev, design and UX

by Anton Boshoff
Tue, 02/10/2018 - 09:00

Many people don’t understand what UX, or user experience, is. And they certainly don’t understand how it differs from both front-end development and design.

To start, let’s go through some simple definitions, beginning with front-end development:

As explained in a previous article, front-end development is all about what a user sees when they land on your site and begin interacting with it. It’s about far more than making sure everything looks good, although that’s an important part of it. Front-end is about the style, structure, functionality and accessibility of a site.

Now, consider the dictionary definition of design:

“The arrangement of the features of an artefact, as produced from following a plan or drawing.”

In the context of designing websites and graphics, designers conceptualise how the end product should look and create that based on the client’s input, comments and feedback. The design is then used by the front-end dev to build the site.

UX, on the other hand, is defined as: 

“The overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.”

UX is all about finding what needs to be changed to improve the user experience, increase the conversion rate and add to the business’ bottom line. This is where we get really excited. So excited that you’ll find it described as “digital catnip” elsewhere on this site. UX is the process of understanding the outcome which we’d like users to take, stripping away the unnecessary extras and creating a seamless user journey. One which ends with the user taking that intended action.

To make it even more exciting, we’re the only South African advertising agency licensed to work with IBM Watson’s customer experience software. This allows us to deploy the most advanced UX program in the world to find the disconnects in customer journeys. We then use this analysis, combined with a business intelligence audit of the website and industry, to outline a plan to improve the user journey.

You can see, based on these descriptions and definitions that front-end development, design and UX work closely together. UX understands what’s going to lead to conversions, the design team understands how it should look and the front-end developer builds it. That’s why we literally all sit close to one another.

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