Interaction Designer Vs. Web Designer

Working with digital media platforms, these professions have much in common in the way they design websites, but their focuses, salaries, degree requirements, and career outlooks are divergent.

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Comparing Interaction Designers to Web Designers

Though both are involved in technology and media, the overall focus and daily tasks of these careers are very different. Interaction designers attempt to make websites and applications more attractive and logically organized, while web designers deal with the overall look and content of a website.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Interaction Designers Bachelor's Degree $79,459 5% (Graphic Designers)
Web Designers Associate's Degree $48,523 13% (Web Developers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Interaction Designers vs. Web Designers

Companies, organizations, and even some individuals rely on websites and phone applications to connect with customers and audiences. Interaction designers and web designers are charged with the task of developing these media platforms, though the first career focuses more on the aesthetic appeal and maneuverability. The second focuses on content and supplying the necessary elements to make the website function. Importantly, interaction designers deal with both websites and phone and tablet applications. Web designers, however, focus solely on webpages.

Interaction Designers

To develop a website that allows visitors to respond to a survey or a phone and tablet application that allows users to sell their items, interaction designers use layout software to create all the visual elements. This includes the colors, images, and the size and style of the font. All of these elements are decided on based on user feedback, stakeholder input, and the needs and characteristics of the users. Interaction designers attempt to anticipate how users will naturally move through a website or application. Doing this ensures that they make interactions with the media, such as clicking a button or filling in a form, as intuitive as possible.

Job responsibilities of an interaction designer include:

  • Creating and presenting prototypes and concepts to clients and managers
  • Implementing any suggestions that clients have, ensuring the product fits their specifications
  • Controlling the movement through websites and applications to keep it user-friendly
  • Researching trends in technology, including elements that competing applications and websites may have

Web Designers

Beginning with a meeting, these professionals determine what a company or client will require of their website. After the meeting, they may complete tests and prototypes to ensure the project is feasible in regards to complexity and budget. Whether the project is a site for selling goods and services, providing news, or entertaining users, web designers create nearly every aspect. Experts at writing computer code, they use HTML or XML to design the look and organization of the site. The site's layout, any applications that it may have (for example, payment-processing), and the graphics and audio that appear are all determined by these creative techs.

Job responsibilities of a web designer include:

  • Updating the information and company branding that appears on a website
  • Responding to issues with broken links from the website to other areas of the Internet
  • Testing design elements on multiple browsers to ensure the site remains functional
  • Bringing new webpages together to make the whole site uniform

Related Careers

Those curious about a career as an interaction designer could consider a job as an art director, since both design with consumers in mind. Additionally, anyone looking into a career as a web designer could also find a job as a computer programmer interesting, as both have deep knowledge of computer language and coding.

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