There are really quite a few steps that go into a well designed site beginning with the functional design of the site, the visual style and appearance of the site, and then the underlying code that pulls it all together. I’m very good at the last piece of the puzzle, but I have never taken the time to refine my design skills. As much as it hurts to admit, I’ve never bothered with thinking about UI design up until recently.

As I’ve started to spend more and more time reading about design and functional user interface designs I wonder what most people consider more important, the visual style and appearance of a site or the UI design?

If you aren’t clear what the difference is, the visual style is merely how the site looks (colors, buttons, etc). The UI design is what governs how the site really works; where buttons are located, what functionality they provide, and what the user can actually do with the site. In reality it should really be called the User Experience Design because a functional but ugly site can still be incredibly useful but a pretty site with terrible UI design can be clunky, cumbersome and even drive away users.

So with the internet expanding at an exponential rate, what is more important? Design or UI? I’ve already made it clear what I consider to be more important, but what do you think and why?