Website Design vs Web App Design

When we think of the internet and we think of design, we generally use the term "Web Design".

I'd like to explain how there are actually two very different realms of web design.

Website Design

Website design exists in the category of the internet that is more informational and to an extend more marketing focused. Website design only aims to accomplish the following...

  • Capture and hold the user's attention
  • Convey specific information to the user
  • Possibly convince the user to do something, aka the Call to Action

Web App Design

Web app design exists in the category of the internet that is more goal based. This differs from the informational base by 1 key difference... Users coming to a web app have a reason to go to the web app.

For example, when logging onto Facebook, the user has a clear reason to go to Facebook. They either want to.

  • Share an update on their profile
  • View updates on someone else's profile
  • Be barraged with hundreds of advertisements

The key difference

A website is trying to sell you something, a web app is trying to help you accomplish something.


User interaction and user experience can differ greatly between the two realms of design, and they should.

There are are a few tradition paradigms of website designs such as the F-layout and then there are more experimental approaches to website design; a good place to find more experimental designs is Awwwards

Websites tend to be a place where designers are more free to show off and experiment, whereas web apps generally don't have the affordance to be as crazy.

In conclusion

It is okay for there to be differences between website and web app design, in fact there should definitely be differences between the two.