You most often see the acronym UI put together with UX and often wonder if there are any differences.
To make things complicated, web development companies and businesses alike are using these two terms interchangeably and it seems like they carry the same meaning. This post will clear your doubts and answer all the queries you might be having concerning UI and UX.
UX stands for user experience
UI stands for the user interface. (Keep this in mind while we delve deeper into the meaning and differences.)
What is UX
Simply put, user experience is the experience that a user of a product has while interacting with the product. It is the attitude, emotions, and feelings a person has while using a product, service website or computer application.
It defines how easy, delightful and pleasing to use and the main aim is to meet the needs of the users without bothering, fuss or problem.
UX designer’s main responsibility is to ensure a company delivers a product that meets the end-users needs without hassle. The designers must first have an in-depth understanding of user’s needs desires, values, and abilities. Then, they analyze the company goals and objectives and how the users’ needs can be met.
A great UX is smooth, desirable and accessible, you might not even notice it when interacting with a website. This is because it is not about visuals, it is the overall experience and functionality of a product.
What is a user interface
The user interface has been around for a longer time and yet there are still some misinterpretations. The user interface is the means in which interactions between humans and software occur. This includes the display screen on your cellphone. The buttons or icons you pressed when you went to place an order for a meal. The texts you read, the images and videos you streams and everything you interact with. It also decides what happens if a user drag/click /enter/drop a button.
UI designers do not just decide on colors and fonts and then collates it together. There is a lot that goes into it. The designer will not only think about color schemes, fonts, spacing, and the overall look, the interaction with the visual element has to be natural and intuitive. This means the user already understands the site without having to think too much. If your product cannot achieve this, something is wrong with the UI
Moreover, the overall looks and feels must be pleasing to the eyes without sacrificing the brand’s identity and goals. The Ui is the visual representation of a product. The UI is what the user first comes in contact with. The first thing that determines whether a user will stay on the website or leave.
Difference between UI and UX
Let’s explore further the difference between UI and UX with examples.
UI is the tour guide that directs users on where they want to go. UX, on the other hand, is the experience you have when you get there.
Whether users want to take advantage of the summer sales to buy clothes or signing up for a newsletter. People find are definitely on your website to find or do something.
The Ui designs and interactions of a product will answer: If I click the checkout button where does it take me. Where is the sign-in button? How easy is it to navigate?
The UX is the functionality and the overall experience when users interact with your site. If a user can’t figure out how to check out or change password. Or it takes more than 20 seconds for the page to load. Or a user find a page confusing and they find it difficult finding their way around, the UX is to be blame
Then, the website is not giving users the sense that they are achieving the task they wish to achieve. The site is not meeting their needs. It seems rather complicated and confusing. They are likely going to press the exit button. The user experience is what determines whether the users will stay glued on your site for long.
Think UX as the skeletal framework, think of UI as the skin
The whole process starts with the UX designers and UX designs are done first. The UX designer together with the research team conducts research to identify the needs of the users, the company’s objectives and analysis of the competitors’ apps. This will stand as the basis of the overall work and serve as a guide throughout the development.
Then, the skeletal framework will be done and the whole body of the product will be mapped out. This includes wireframes, testing, creation of mockups before being passed to the UI designers.
The UI designers add flesh to what has been done by the UX designers and they put in their creative skills to bring it to life. They work on the visuals, the appearance, and feel of the products and the interaction to ensure users enjoy using the products.
UI is the first thing users comes in contact with, therefore, it must be beautiful, UX is what determines if the user will stay, therefore, it must be useful.
UI focuses on the presentation, and how the product will look. Therefore it must be pleasing, simple and intuitive. The color choices, typography and all are based on the guidelines given by the UX designers. This means the whole presentation has to meet the needs of the end-users while it is still pleasing to the eyes. They determine how the user interface will look and feel and it must make some emotional connections.
The UX designers focus on how the user interface will operate and its usefulness. It must serve the purpose in which the application is being made and ensure users have a delightful experience that will get them coming back.
However, one thing is certain, both UI/UX designer skills are required to make it happen and generate the desired results.
UX and UI designer works for hand and in hand and their responsibilities are closely knit. After all, if your website is aesthetically pleasing but could not meet the user’s needs what benefits does it serve? And if your website has a great idea that is clearly mapped out, if it doesn’t evoke a pleasing feeling and it is difficult and confusing to find your way around, no one is going to use it.