Differences Between UX and UI Design

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In today’s application designing world we often come across terms like “UX Design”, “UI Design”, and “UX/ UI”.

But do we have a full understanding of these? What do these terms mean? Can these terms be used interchangeably? Are they performed by the same person?

How vital are they for a quality design? To get an answer to such questions and have a clear understanding of “UX” and “UI” we have charted out the following article; by the end of this blog we will be able to distinguish between “UX” and “UI” and also attain overview knowledge of how these work in the digital design industry. 

But the best way to gain essential knowledge, as well as skills, joining the best UI & UX Design course from a renowned instituteis highly recommended.

What is UX?

UX stands for USER EXPERIENCE, and as the name states it defines a user’s experience of a product or a service or a company and the user’s impression of this contact or use.

In the Digital world, UX is in relation to the use of an App, Website or Software; UX decides how a website or application works and feels.

What is UX Design?

To define UX Design we can say that it is basically a process of generating the products which are usable, precise, functional and relevant to provide the essential user experience.

It is a process of creating products while keeping in mind how a user would perceive it, making sure the functionalities achieve all goals and are easy to use.

It encompasses many steps like

  • User and Market Research
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Requirement identification
  • Content structuring and Information Architecture
  • Flow design
  • Creating Wireframes, mock-ups etc

Get some tips for Adding Personality in UX Design

What is UI?

UI stands for USER INTERFACE; it is a point of human-computer interaction with the help of input devices or gestures.

What is UI Design?

UI Design is the process of creating interfaces for the user’s interaction with the computer or a device while maximizing UX and keeping the interaction as easy as possible.

This process creates the “LOOK n FEEL” of the product being designed.

UI Design aims at providing an efficient product while pertaining to the design specifications provided by the UX designer. 

Tasks involved here are:

  • Visual Design / Front End Design
  • Graphics
  • Typography
  • Colour schemes
  • Illustrations
  • Branding

Understanding UX Design and UI Design with an Example

Let’s consider a simple example of a scenario where a company is designing a mobile phone and its underlying operating system. Here the UX Designer is responsible for creating a design that provides maximum user satisfaction by providing features that are easy to use and reduces human effort.

The UX Designer will perform research on which features should be added by identifying pain-points and also referring to what the market already has, and then he will create a mockup/wireframe of the functionalities and will decide the structuring of the content. He will then pass this design to the UI Designer.

From here the UI designer will follow the design constraints provided and will create interfaces for interaction while beautifying the look and feel. He will decide the color scheming, typography etc and make the interface seamless.

Referring to the image above, once the UX Designer has completed research he will create a wireframe mentioning details that the model would contain for e.g.

  • A top-notch having the speaker and front camera
  • Apps will be displayed in a grid style
  • Paging will be displayed at the end of apps
  • The number of apps to be displayed on one page
  • There will be an onscreen overlay navigation
  • The functions of the buttons on this overlay navigation bar
  • The gestures to access functionalities etc.

After the UI Designer has been provided with these specifications, he will start creating the elements following the design constraints For E.g.

  • Giving smooth edges to the app icons to be displayed
  • Indenting and aligning apps in the grid
  • Making sure paging is displayed only when per page limit has exceeded
  • Choosing typography for the apps and color scheme to make the UI presentable etc.

How is UX Design Different from UI Design?

Difference Between UI and UX

Now we will see the factors that distinguish UX Design from UI design. We will see these points keeping in mind digital design products likes websites, apps etc. Many times the two terms “UX” and “UI” are used interchangeably, but these two are individual aspects of design and sometimes “UI” can also be considered a subset of “UX”.

1. What and how

UX Design: begins with asking a question “what is to be achieved?”

When a company decides to build a web project they begin by making use of their UX Designer. Does the designer first begin by identifying what needs to be implemented? Who is the target audience? What are the issues being faced currently and what are the pain points? After having done adequate research and analysis he prepares an information bank also called the “Information Architecture”.

UI Design: begins with asking a question “how the product should look?”

Once the UX Designer passes on wireframes, UI Designers decides the look and feel of the application and develops a working prototype. It includes the product’s appearance including forms, buttons, links etc

Example: In an online shopping website the UX team decides that there would be a banner in the main landing page displaying the latest fashion attires and also a call to action (CTA) button would be placed on this banner that leads to purchase of these articles. It will be the job of the UI Designer to present a high-quality banner image with elegant fonts and a sleek CTA Button.

2. Deliverables

UX Design: provides “Wireframes

UX is a process, it accumulates multiple tasks and a way of representing the results is in the form of wireframes. A Wireframe specifies the content layout and features. It displays the functional components of the site and depicts the flow of use.

UI Design: provides the “end product

UI delivers the end product for a use which accomplishes all the features and functionalities that are expected of a design. The UI designer translates the wireframe into an actual interface.

Example: In the online shopping website suppose the wireframe depicts the sign-up form and its features. It specifies giving a ‘forgot password’ link and states that the sign-up functionality should be achieved by mobile number or email login. Now the UI Designer implements these specifications of the sign-up form and develops an actual interface that can be tested.

3. Design Approach

UX Design: follows “analytical thinking”

UX requires analysis of various aspects to achieve ease of use and higher retention. This involves data analytics of the market trends, competitors, target audience, core functionalities etc.

The decision making on the basis of analyzed factors has to be done from time to time to improve the user experience. Thus, I can say that a UX Designer can also be a Business analyst since both the profile requires analytical thinking.

UI Design: follows “creative thinking”

UI requires the designer to be creative in his way of thinking for producing pleasant designs. The look and feel of the application affect user engagement. This involves innovation and imagination to create applications of value. UI Designers can be web developers, front ends designers.

Example: In an online shopping website suppose a UX team analyzes their traffic, their demographic locations, the age groups etc. On the basis of the results, they decide to show a ‘popular’ or ‘trending now’ category on the landing page.

Now the UI team will focus on engaging browsers by creatively displaying what is popular now using appealing fonts, pictures, buttons etc.

Summary

UX Design and UI Design are both vital in creating an application for achieving optimized user satisfaction.

An application which is good to look at but has a poor user experience or an app that looks ugly but usable cannot be categorized under a good “UX/UI”.

For an application to be successful it needs to be usable as well as presentable. Both UX Designers and UI Designers work hand in hand to achieve the targets and objectives of an application. Thus, attaining advanced training with UI UX training courses can provide you right career path and can help you to build up your personality as an expert UI & UX designer.

UX design continues even after an application is in use, it continuously improves features on the basis of analytics in future versions of the application.

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