Know the difference between UI and UX

When talking about web and mobile app design users often get confused between UI and UX. Although UI and UX are often used interchangeably they are actually two different terms. UI stands for User Interface design and UX stands for User Experience and both are crucial for the success of a product. This article defines each of these terms and briefs the differences between them.

What is UI?

The term User Interface is derived from User Interaction. The term user interface relates to how a user interacts with an application. The Interface is the graphical layout which includes screen layout, animation, buttons, text fields, color scheme, and sliders. All these interactive elements should guide the user through the application interface. The UI designer should ensure that the design is coherent and appealing to the user.

What is UX?

UX refers to the user’s experience with the interface. The aim of UX is to give relevant experience to the user while interacting with the application. User experience is directly proportional to user retention and can result in customer satisfaction.

Differences between UI and UX

UI refers to how the interface functions whereas UX refers to the feel of the interface. UI is applicable only to software products whereas UX is applicable to any kind of product or service.

During product development, UX comes before UI design. UX designer conducts research about the product features and user journey and develops a prototype. The UI designer then develops the application considering these factors.

It is the responsibility of the UI designer to translate the research into an attractive experience for the users. The UI designer creates a responsive design that is compatible across all screen sizes.

Elements of UX

To achieve a holistic user experience, the following design aspects should be considered.

  • User Research – The UX designer should analyze the product and do research about the end-user and their needs as interaction design is focused on user behavior.
  • Design Strategy – Do study about the device on which the application will run as the device poses challenges in terms of layout and smaller display.
  • Design Structure – Usefulness of the website depends on the user-friendly architecture. The content should be organized allowing users to find the information they are looking for.
  • Usability – Usability is an essential component of UX as it increases user engagement. User testing and performance testing can help evaluate usability.
  • Prototyping – The UX designers should build a prototype and evaluate them to understand how the application will respond to real-time inputs. There are many prototyping tools available to speed up the process.
  • Visual Design – The designer aims to improve the user experience by considering visual aspects of the application like colors, layout, illustrations.

Elements of Great UI

The following components are essential for designing a good user interface

  • Clarity – An effective UI should allow users to understand the design and how to use it. The screens should be clutter-free.
  • Intuitive – Designer should keep the interface intuitive by making it familiar for the users to understand how the application behaves.
  • Consistency – The UI should have consistent design elements, typography, buttons, icons, and color schemes throughout the application for easy interaction.
  • Easy Navigation  – Provide an easy to navigate interface. Good UI should have page titles and highlights to help users understand the interface. Navigation should be simple and self-explanatory.
  • Progressive disclosure – Adopt progressive disclosure to show only the necessary information on the screen.
  • Forgiving – The interface should be flexible allowing users to delete or undo their mistakes.

To summarize, both UI and UX are essential for a successful product. UI and UX designers work closely with each other to build a functional and delightful software product.