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A cute dog asking which is better, UX or UI?

Answer: Arf! Better’s like choosing between treats and belly rubs. Both are great! On second thought, sniffed both, prefer the one with more treats. It’s more important. Stick around and keep reading to find out the winner!

➡️ Click to jump to the answer! 

Intro to the Debate: UX vs UI and which is more important?

In an industry where first impressions are pivotal and user satisfaction is paramount, the comparison between UX and UI takes center stage.

It’s a bit like the classic cat versus dog debate – each side has its charm and loyal advocates, but understanding their individual strengths and weaknesses is key. 🐶😺

In this guide, we’ll explore which one (UX or UI) is more important for web design and why. To get started, let’s look at an overview of UX and UI.

Understanding UX (User Experience)

UX is sort of like an invisible leash that gently guides users through a website, ensuring they enjoy the stroll and find everything they need without getting lost.

Just like when you’re on a walk with your best furry friend, UX is all about guiding the experience. It’s also about undergoing a journey, hence why people use the term “User Journey” when referring to UX in web design.

A small dog asking a question about the user journey in web design.

Translation: UX focuses on the overarching experience a user has with a product, service, or feature on a website, particularly in terms of how easy, intuitive, and satisfying it is to use.

UX designers ask questions like: Does this website flow logically? Is information easy to find? Does the user feel accomplished after completing a task?

Ultimate goal: The ultimate goal and focus of a UX designer is to meet the needs of website users.

Elements of UX design include:

  • Conducting research
  • Identifying users’ core needs
  • Creating task flows and prototypes


  • Information Architecture
  • Interaction Design (How a website behaves in response to a user’s actions.)
  • Accessibility
  • Content Strategy
  • Visual Design
  • Prototyping (Creating mockups and prototypes for testing ideas.)
  • User Testing

Understanding UI (User Interface)

In web design, UI is like the ball that catches your dog’s attention (or the laser if you have a cat). UI requires that you blend aesthetics with functionality to really get people interested in what you’re showcasing.

A majestic tiger with a captivating gaze, symbolizing the essence of User Interface - visually stunning and immediately captivating, just like a well-designed UI that catches your attention at first glance.

Translation: While UX is the journey, UI is the vehicle that gets you there. It’s more focused on aesthetics and ensuring that visual elements (buttons, icons, spacing, typography, color schemes, etc.) are appealing and functional.

UI designers are concerned with questions like: Is this button noticeable? Do these color schemes make the text easy to read? Does the visual style reflect the brand’s identity?

Ultimate goal: The ultimate goal and focus of a UI designer is to enhance the cosmetics of a website and its overall experience.

Elements of UI design include:

  • Composing layouts
  • Creating visuals
  • Building mockups


  • Responsiveness
  • Interactivity
  • Brand Consistency
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • User Feedback

UX and UI: A noticeable set of differences, but what’s the biggest of them all?

Humorous cat asking about UX vs UI and what's the main difference between them.
Humorous crown wearing cat wanting to know an answer. This photo is related to UX and UI in web design.

The biggest difference between UX and UI (summarized):

👉 UX is like the loyal service dog who guides you on the path while also ensuring you have fun along the way. In contrast, UI is like the peacock of the web design world, dazzling you with its beautiful feathers and captivating display, ensuring every visual interaction is a feast for the eyes.

An image of a vibrant peacock, symbolizing the dazzling and visually captivating nature of User Interface in web design, akin to the peacock's role in nature as a symbol of beauty and allure.

More differences between UX and UI

👉UX covers a broader range of factors, while UI is generally more focused on aesthetics.

👉UX involves a more analytical and technical approach. UI, on the other hand, tends to be more artistic.

👉The success of UX design is measured by user satisfaction. UI success is typically gauged by visual appeal and the effectiveness of the interactive elements.

👉UX designers are often involved in the project from the early stages of research and ideation, continuing through to post-launch feedback and iteration. UI designers, meanwhile, usually come in once the functional aspects are defined to enhance the product’s visual aspects and interactive experience.

👉UX designers often use tools like wireframing and prototyping, while UI designers often use graphic design software and have a strong background in visual arts. However, both UX and UI designers may use a mix of these tools in their work.

Learn more about UX vs UI

Source: NNgroup

Just a heads up: While UX primarily focuses on a website’s function and user journey, and UI primarily focuses on a website’s appearance, things actually aren’t quite that simple. Many aspects of UX and UI design overlap! 🙀

This can make it difficult to determine which one is more important, but not impossible!

The Interconnection of UX and UI in Web Design

As alluded to above, UX and UI are not totally isolated islands. They’re more like intersecting paths—distinct yet part of the same journey.

The interconnection of UX and UI is fundamental to creating a cohesive and effective web experience. In fact, the magic really happens when UX and UI combine.

Chart of areas where UX and UI interconnect

A chart that shows how UX and UI interconnect. It covers multiple points of convergence between UX and UI in web design.

Quirk and quirky summary of areas where UX and UI interconnect

🐿️ 🐈 Navigation Design: Like a squirrel finding acorns under an oak tree, the website is easy to navigate (UX). Meanwhile, the menus and buttons are as addicting as a cat’s laser pointer (UI).

🦎🦓 Responsiveness: As adaptable as a chameleon across devices (UX) while keeping the visuals as stylish as a zebra’s stripes (UI).

🐕‍🦺🦚Feedback Mechanisms: Feedback as helpful as a service dog’s bark (UX), presented with the flair of peacock feathers. (UI).

🌲🦩Accessibility: Content as reachable as a low-hanging branch for all (UX), with color choices and elements as bright as a flamingo’s feathers (UI).

🐧🦁Branding Consistency: Brand essence as consistent as a penguin’s waddle (UX), with visuals as bold as a lion’s mane (UI).

🐆🪶Loading Experience: Speedy page loading like a cheetah’s sprint (UX), with loading animations as mesmerizing as a hummingbird’s flight (UI).

🐢🐦Error Handling: Handles errors with the patience of a tortoise (UX) and provides error messages as clear as a cardinal’s song (UI).

So, with all this in mind, what’s the verdict? Which one is more important, UX or UI? See the answer below.

In web design, which of these is more important: UX or UI?

Verdict and conclusion: UX wins, but only by a small margin!

In our opinion, the scale tips a bit more towards UX because it serves as the foundation upon which UI is built.

It’s worth noting, however, that some designers fiercely defend the significance of UI, such as our furry friend below:

A smiling dog with a happy expression, symbolizing a preference for UI over UX, highlighting the visual allure and immediate impact of User Interface in web design.

The Nuts and Bolts of UX: Functionality Over Presentation

Imagine if you had an absolutely beautiful website (we’re talking one in a million), but unfortunately, it was painfully slow and about as dysfunctional as a gorilla trying to learn computer programming. Would you use it? Probably not.

Well, that’s exactly what can happen when UI is emphasized over UX.

UX covers many technical components that meet the core interests of users. These include:

  • User-Centered Design (UCD) Methodology
  • Information Architecture (IA)
  • Interaction Design (IxD)
  • Usability Testing
  • Load Time Optimization
  • Cognitive Load Management
  • More!
Funny and grumpy gorilla crossing his arms as he makes an inside joke about a comment in a UX and UI web design blog post.

Can a website with great UI but poor UX be successful?

A website with great UI can initially attract users, but without a solid UX, it’s unlikely to retain them. Good UX is essential for user satisfaction and long-term success.

Is UI irrelevant in the face of UX?

No, UI is not irrelevant. It plays a significant role in offering visual appeal and creating an emotional connection with users. However, it needs to be supported by strong UX to be truly effective.

A super short summary of why UX is a bit more important than UI

Big Picture (UX) vs. Pretty Picture (UI)
The Wizard (UX) vs. The Wand (UI)
Substance (UX) vs. Style (UI)

Enhancing User Experience Example: The Airbnb Case Study

If you want to know just how powerful UX is in web design, consider the UX design case study involving Airbnb, during which Airbnb focused on enhancing the UX by simplifying their room booking process.

This required user research to understand users’ preferences and pain points, with the outcome being a significantly improved user interface.

You can delve deeper into the case study here: Airbnb Booking UX Process Improvement.

Amusing photo of a small dog wearing oversized glasses and trying to hold up the glasses with his own tongue, evoking a sense of humor and wit in a light-hearted blog post about UX vs UI in web design.

UX Aligning with Business Goals – Beyond Aesthetics:

The importance of User Experience (UX) extends well beyond UI aesthetics when it starts impacting business relationships with clients. This can either be smooth sailing or like a dog chasing its own tail.

On the positive end, a good UX design equals a reduced need on the part of the client (the website owner) to handhold their customers through easy tasks or provide repeated clarifications on points that could be streamlined to reduce confusion.

Top-level web designers are experts at creating amazing User Experiences that leave clients saying, “THANK YOU!”

This is the final reason why we conclude that UX is more important than UI in web design.

Contact Sage Digital Agency for UX and UI Web Design

Ready to unleash the possibilities of exceptional UX and UI web design? Don’t settle for a digital dinosaur or tear yourself up with sub-par designs! Pounce on the opportunity and contact Sage Digital Agency today – where we make your dream website a reality!

Scott Hall

Born in Texas, Scott is Sage Digital Agency's Head of Content and professional word wrangler.