The Perfect Match? Web Development and UX Design

Rosie Allabarton, contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

Do you like working with people or are you more interested in solving problems and untangling logical puzzles? UX design and web development certainly attract a diverse mix of personalities and skillsets, but how well do these sometimes drastically different roles work together?

In this article we’ll be looking at the relationship between web development and UX design and assessing their compatibility—will there be a happy ending, or will we be picking up the pieces of some broken hearts? Let’s find out.

  1. UX and coding: the perfect team
  2. Working together
  3. A lover’s tiff
  4. UX design and web development: which one are you?
  5. Final thoughts

1. UX and coding: the perfect team

If you’d like to watch Chloe explain the difference between UX design and web development, this video will help you out:

It’s easy to see why web development and UX design are the perfect team. They’re each working on two separate—but related—sides of the same product.

Although both skillsets are required to build a website that meets the needs of the people hoping to use it, in a practical sense a web developer and a UX designer do not work side by side, but rather one after the other.

In this way, a UX designer and a web developer work together is a bit like a tag team; each focuses on their own task before passing off, or handing over, to the other one.

A web developer will work from the designs of the UX designer, the UX designer will make improvements or optimize a website which has been built by the web developer. A web developer cannot start building the website before he has seen the designs from the UX designer. Similarly, if a UX designer wants to improve a pre-existing site, they cannot do so before they have seen the site and tested it.

As both of these elements are crucial to the success of the same product, the two need to work both individually, and, at times, together to create the best possible outcome.

2. Working together

Web development focuses on creation and implementation: building websites and apps using coding languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails and creating a working website for people to interact with and use. UX design focuses on how that platform will be used and how the experience of the platform for the users can be optimized so they can achieve their goals as easily and intuitively as possible.

If you want to learn more about the process, allow Cyrille to explain what a web developer actually does.

Without the web developer, the UX designer would simply have theories, research and ideas for optimizing the product. Without the UX designer the web developer would have a website that doesn’t meet the needs of the people using it.

Web development and UX design are in a codependent relationship: they can’t live without each other.

3. A lover’s tiff

It’s not always smooth sailing for web developers and UX designers working together. Like with many things in life, communication is the key to the success of this relationship.

The earlier a UX designer sounds out his ideas with the web development team, the more prepared they are for the work they’ve got coming up, and can predict any technical hurdles or problems the UX designer might not have thought of.

Similarly, a web developer cannot begin building a website without first speaking in-depth with the UX designer. If they fail to do so, the website is unlikely to meet the needs of the users and therefore fail to meet the business goals too.

4. UX design and web development: Which one are you?

Although there are many traits common to both successful web developers and UX designers, these skillsets are still different enough that they not only attract different personality types, the roles themselves are more enjoyable and well-suited to different types of people.

First let’s have a look at which traits are common to both successful UX designers and web developers:

  • Interest in problem-solving
  • Great communication skills

Traits more specific to successful web developers are:

  • Persistance
  • Patience
  • Knowledge-sharing
  • Team player
  • Motivated
  • Diligent
  • Has logical thought-process
  • A passion for continued learning and building on existing knowledge

Traits more likely found in successful UX designers are:

  • People-oriented
  • Curious
  • Interested in human behaviour
  • Empathetic
  • Great verbal and written communication skills
  • Loves asking questions
  • Always interested in the “why”

5. Final thoughts

Think you know which one you are? Then check out our Web Development Program or our UX Design program to find out more about these careers and find a cure for that broken heart.

If you still haven’t worked out which one is best for you, a great option is trying out a UX design short course or a free web development one.

Alternatively, you can read some more about the different subject areas. Here are a few articles to start you off:

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