Understanding the Distinction Between User Experience and User Interface Design How to Get Started
The terms user experience and user interface are often used interchangeably. To many people, these two names signify the same thing, yet in reality, they don’t. Where does it leave us?
All of us have seen debates about “UX” and “UI” on the cool streets of tech capitals like San Francisco and New York. Is it some kind of code you’ll never learn? No, these folks aren’t merely employing lingo because they want to seem hip.
Okay, I’d say yes to the last one, but no to the others. Here, you’ll discover how UX and UI relate to one another and how they vary. The following is a list of the topics we’ll be discussing in this post. Read on to find out what the phrases “UX” and “UI” represent, which of the two design fields is more lucrative, and how to become a UX or UI designer.
What is the difference between UX and UI?
First things first: What exactly are the terms “UX” and “UI” used for? UX and UI design have been defined by the IT sector, despite the fact that these professions have existed for decades and in principle for millennia.
While UI stands for “user interface design,” UX design relates to the word “user experience design.” Both components are essential to a product’s success and are intertwined. Even though they have a close working connection, the functions they play are vastly diverse, relating to distinct facets of the product development process and the design field.
Before we go into the distinctions between UX and UI, let’s take a closer look at what each entails.
What is user experience design?
Designing things with the user in mind is known as user experience design (UX). User experience was coined by cognitive scientist and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, Don Norman. The way he puts it is as follows:
This includes all elements of the end-interactions user’s with the firm and its goods, as well as the company’s services.
Cognitive Scientist and User Experience Architect Don Norman
You see what I mean? Despite what I hinted in the opening, the description makes no mention of technology or digital and doesn’t tell us anything about what a UX designer really works. To sum up the procedure in a few words would be difficult, as is true for many professions.
It’s important to remember that Don Norman defined UX Design as “any contact between a prospective or active consumer and a firm,” regardless of the media (and there is a lot of non-digital UX out there!). Everything from street lighting and autos to Ikea shelves might benefit from this scientific procedure.
UX and the digital world
To be sure, it’s a scientific phrase, but its use has been virtually exclusively in the digital realm since its birth, in part because the IT sector was only getting started when it was first coined.
UX design has an interesting history that you can read about here.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a website, a coffee machine, or a trip to the grocery; UX is applicable to all of these things. The term “user experience” refers to the way in which a product or service interacts with the person using it. Thus, user experience design takes into account a wide range of factors that influence the user’s experience.
What is the role of UX design?
User experience (UX) designers focus on the feelings and ease of use that a product will elicit from its intended audience. Observation and task analysis are also part of their work to better understand how users accomplish tasks in a given user flow.
For example, how simple is it to do an online purchase? Is the vegetable peeler simple to hold for you? You should be able to manage your finances with ease using the online banking software you use.
UX design’s ultimate goal is to produce user-friendly, efficient, relevant, and all-around enjoyable experiences.
Asked, “What does a UX designer do?” we’ll address that question. Section four goes into further detail. For the time being, this is all you need to know about user experience design:
Designing a user’s interaction with a company’s many aspects is known as user experience design.
Although user experience design is a non-digital (cognitive science) profession, it is mostly employed and defined by digital industries.
User experience (UX) design is not about the graphics; rather, it focuses on how the complete experience feels.
When it comes to designing a user interface (UI), what exactly is involved?
Despite the fact that user interface design has been around for a long time and is more well-versed, it is still a tough topic to define due to the wide range of misconceptions. A product’s user experience is a collection of duties that concentrate on making it easier and more fun to use, while its user interface design complements this effort.
While UI design is often misunderstood by the sectors that employ UI designers, like UX design, it is frequently misunderstood by the industries that employ UI designers.
Job advertising and job descriptions for user interface designers tend to describe the profession in terms of graphic design, branding design, and even front-end programming.
Even if you look at “professional” definitions of User Interface Design, you will discover descriptions that are at least in part similar to those of User Experience Design.
Which of these is correct? The sad answer is Neither.
The digital world and user interfaces (UI)
So, let’s clear the air once and for all, shall we? User interface design is a digital phrase, unlike user experience design (UX), which is a more general term. It is the point of engagement between the user and a digital device or product, such as the touchscreen on your smartphone or the touchpad you use to pick what kind of coffee you want from the coffee machine.
When it comes to websites and applications, user interface (UI) design takes into account the how the product looks, feels, and interacts with the user. A product’s user interface must be as intuitive as possible, and that entails considering every visual and interactive aspect the user may encounter.
A UI designer thinks about icons and buttons, font and colour schemes, spacing, images, and responsive design while creating a user experience.
What’s involved in UI design?
The position of user interface designer is similarly multifaceted and demanding. As a result, the product’s research, content and style are transformed into an appealing, user-friendly and responsive experience.
In part four, we’ll go through the steps involved in UI design and the kind of jobs that might be expected of a UI designer. For the sake of this discussion, let’s review what user interface design (UI) is all about:
Designing user interfaces is an entirely digital endeavour. Interface design includes everything from buttons to icons to spacing to typography to colour palettes to responsive design.
The purpose of UI design is to let users navigate a product’s interface graphically. It’s all about making the user’s life as simple as possible by eliminating any need for them to think!
UI design ensures that a product’s interface is consistent, cohesive, and visually pleasant by transferring the brand’s strengths and visual assets to the design.
To further understand the distinctions between UX and UI, let’s have a look at their definitions.
User experience (UX) design differs from user interface (UI) design.
I prefer to use the following example to explain the many components of a (digital) product:
A product’s bones symbolise the code that gives it structure if you think of it as a human body. The organs are a metaphor for UX design: analysing and optimising for life-sustaining functions. A person’s appearance is reflected in the way a user interface (UI) is designed.
If you’re still unsure, don’t worry! It’s not just you, either!
The co-creator of Foster.fm, Rahul Varshney, sums it up thusly:
Some of the most misunderstood and abused terminology in our business are User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). To put it another way, without user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), you’d be like an artist who just throws paint on a canvas without any consideration. UX and UI are the foundations of a great product experience. For the product’s success, both are necessary.”
When it comes to the link between UX and UI design, Dain Miller has the right analogy:
User Interface (UI) is a saddle, stirrups, and reins. User experience (UX) is the sensation of being able to ride a horse.”
the web developer dain miller
It’s critical to realise that user experience and user interface are inextricably linked. However, you don’t need to have UI design abilities to be a UX designer, and vice versa—UX and UI are independent positions with separate processes and responsibilities!
UX design focuses on the user’s entire experience, while UI design focuses on the product’s user interfaces and how they work.
The user’s route to solving an issue is considered by a UX designer; what are the stages they take? What are their responsibilities? How easy is it to use the product?
Many of their efforts are devoted to determining what sorts of issues and pain points people have, and how a particular product might help alleviate these issues. They’ll do a lot of user research to figure out who their ideal customers are and what they’re looking for in a product. This is followed by a user path map, which takes into account factors like information architecture (i.e. how the material is arranged and labelled throughout a product) and the sorts of functionality the user may want. They’ll eventually generate wireframes that outline the product’s bare-bones plans.
With the skeleton of the product drawn out, the UI designer goes in to bring it to life. The UI designer analyses all the visual parts of the user’s journey, including all the different screens and touchpoints that the user can experience; imagine touching a button, scrolling down a page or swiping through an image gallery.
While the UX designer lays out the trip, the UI designer takes care of all the little things that make it possible. That’s not to suggest that UI design is just about appearances; UI designers have a major effect on whether or not a product is accessible and inclusive. They’ll pose questions like “How can various colour combinations be employed to increase contrast and boost readability?” or “What colour pairings cater to colour blindness?” You may learn more about UI design for accessibility in our guide.
UX and UI design are two distinct disciplines, and maybe you can see that now. To put it succinctly:
For UI design, it is all about designing visually beautiful, intuitive, and engaging interfaces that are easy for users to use.
In the product development process, user experience (UX) design often occurs first, followed by user interface (UI) design. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers work hand-in-hand to create a user experience that is both intuitive and engaging for the user.
A product, service, or experience may have both UX and UI; however, digital products and experiences have UI.
2. What is the relationship between UI and UX design?
After looking at the distinctions between UX and UI, let’s see how they interact. There’s a good chance you’re thinking whether one is more critical than the other. In her post The Gap Between UX And UI Design, Helga Moreno, a designer and specialist, said it best:
Fantastic UI and bad UX may be shown in a product that appears great but is difficult to use.” UX and UI are not mutually exclusive concepts, but it is possible to have a fantastic UX and a horrible UI at the same time.
There are many instances of fantastic goods that had one or the other but not the other, but think how much more successful they would have been if they had both.
UX design is the cherry on top of UI design. Assume you come up with a brilliant concept for an app that fills a glaring need in the market and has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of people. In order to determine what features your app should have and how the full user experience should be designed, you engage a UX designer. When users download your app, they discover that the text on each screen is hardly readable, despite the fact that your programme provides a valuable service to their requirements and desires (think yellow text on a white background). Adding insult to injury, the buttons are so close together that they’re always pressing the incorrect one. When it comes to user experience, this is a typical instance of poor design killing excellent design.
Is there a gorgeous website you’ve ever visited only to discover that, despite its stunning visual design and flawless colour scheme, it’s a genuine hassle to use? It’s like picking up a beautifully designed cake that really tastes lousy when you bite into it; it’s impossible to make up for a poor user experience.
This means that UX and UI are interdependent when it comes to product design, and this is critical in today’s competitive market. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a UX or a UI designer; you’ll have to collaborate with each other on a regular basis. Then, we’ll go on to the following portion.
What is the difference between user experience design and user interface design, and which route is best for you?
You don’t need to be a master of both UX and UI design, but they do go hand-in-hand. UX vs. UI: Which route is better for you? Watch my video below to learn more about whether or not you’re better suited for UX or UI design. These traits will help you succeed in each of the areas I discuss. Keep reading to find out more about the work that UX and UI designers conduct on a daily basis!
User experience (UX) vs. user interface (UI) designers have different responsibilities and skillsets.
UX vs. UI designers have quite different skill sets and day-to-day responsibilities, so it’s crucial to know which route is best for you before making a decision. We’ve outlined the most important hard, soft, and transferrable talents for both UX and UI designers in the accompanying infographic. Next up, we’ll look at the most important duties and obligations.
UX designers are responsible for creating a better user experience.
The function of the UX designer has now been defined in abstract terms, but how does this transfer into day-to-day tasks? An example of a normal day in the life of a UX designer, condensed into a few bullet points. This tutorial goes into further depth on the UX design process.