The everyday website or online portal user may talk about their satisfaction or frustration with the product’s design. Are their comments made toward the UI or the UX design? Many people tend to use these terms interchangeably, even though these acronyms stand for different things. So while these design terms are related and the goals of UI and UX designers can seem to overlap, the objectives of UI and UX design are different and, therefore, should not be confused as the same thing. To further note, UI and UX design can be applied to product development beyond digital projects, but in this discussion, we will focus on products consumers end up using on screens. Let’s explore the difference between UI and UX and see the value of bringing these design aspects together.
Defining UI Design and UX Design
“UI” stands for “user interface.” The focus of UI design considers the visual design elements the end-user will interact with when navigating the product interface. Designers will consider how buttons, spacing, color scheme, typography, and more will intuitively guide a user through the product. Ultimately, they ensure the design is consistent and aesthetically pleasing.
“UX” stands for “user experience.” User experience focuses on a broader sense of interaction, and the impression end users have of using a product. UX designers consider how easy or difficult it is for the consumer to use the product for its designated purposes. One could say UX is concerned with the functionality of the product and focuses on the feel of the user’s experience when interacting with the product. The UX design process does not focus on visual aspects, but instead on prototyping and wireframing.
Why Know the Difference?
While UI and UX design teams work closely together, they approach the design from two very different understandings. Any business or organization looking to improve their web portal may need to hire a UI and UX designer to ensure a polished and optimized final product. Someone with experience working with UI elements, like graphic design and interactivity, will not have the same knowledge of someone with UX design experiences, such as customer analysis and navigation structure.
How UI and UX Work Together
Now that you are more aware of their differences, you can better understand how these aspects come together when UI and UX designers develop a product. Both elements are crucial when developing a product. User experience confirms a product is usable and can accessibly help the consumer solve their problem. User interface design ensures the product is visually appealing while enhancing the functionality of the website. These design aspects complement each other, and bad UI can ruin a product with otherwise great UX, and vice versa.
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