User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are two terms that are quite confusing even to industries that employ designers. The truth of the matter is that these two are very important in web designing but way different from each other. By definition, UX focuses on the optimization of the product to make it effective and enjoyable. UI on the other hand is basically the look and feel of the product. It is the way the product has been presented to allow for easy interactivity by the users. Other than the definition, here are other major differences between the two:
UX’s main focus is on the journey to solve a user’s problems while the UI is mainly focused on how the surface of the product looks and functions. Many people visit websites because they have a problem that they would like to solve. In that case, a UX design will focus mainly on anything that might affect the user’s journey to solve that problem. This could either be positive or negative, and both on-screen and off-screen. UI on the other hand will pay attention to how the users will find the surface and function of that product.
UX designers mainly focus on the problem that is already present in the market in order to design a product that is useful, and is able to meet the needs that are not being met in the market. Their work entails analyzing the market in detail to find out the gaps that exist and to create a product that will be valuable to its intended users. Once the decisions have been made and the wireframes as well as user flows and prototypes are created and tested, UI designers come into play in order to make the product aesthetically beautiful. UI designers are responsible for choosing the colors scheme, the typography and anything that will be both attractive and user friend for the end user. The choices they make in this case are not determined by their own preferences but by the specific reasons the UX designers had in the designing of the product.
UI designers basically come up with the visual hierarchy that works as a guide to the end users. With this, users should be able to know what to do and when to do it at any given point, in order to meet their objectives. It is therefore correct to say that both UI and UX designers work together in the designing of a product that will meet user’s needs fully.
There is always a good reason why people visit the websites that they do. Some could come to your website to conduct research about something they are interested in, while others come to get a solution to the problems they are already facing. This means that everyone using the internet always has a goal in mind. UX designers try to put themselves in the shoes of these internet users in order to try to find out what might be important to them. Their main intention is to find out what needs people are facing and what do they value the most as far as that problem is concerned. Once all this is determined and a website structure is designed, UI designers come into play to try to give the website a good visual hierarchy that will guide those users into meeting their objectives.
A good UI will be able to bring out at least one objective per page in order to make it clear and easy for the user whenever they visit the site. This way, users will be able to get what they are looking for with ease. This can be achieved through use of patterns that users are already familiar with, so as to give the user a clue on how to get to where they want to go on the website.
During the design process, both UI and UX will work together but UX will always come first. It all starts with the research, then the UX design in order to come up with a useful product or application. UX designers are mainly the brains behind the actual product design. These are the ideas that will guide the entire design process. Once this is finalized, UI designers take over in order to come up with the visual design and other micro interactions that will make it easy for the users to interact with the product. This however does not always happen like a linear process. It depends on the designers working on the project, and whether or not it is the same person or a team.
UX is a very broad field, whose popularity is increasing every day. Today, having a website is not the only important thing. Businesses with a web presence are working towards understanding their users and using that knowledge when building their website. That is why UX is important for everything that pertains to a website. UI is on the other hand is only about the interface. It works to ensure that people are accessing the website easily on any device they are using. UI designers not only concentrate on the graphical interfaces like tablets, computers and mobile devices but also all other products that are connected to the internet these days like watches, vending machines, car dashboards among others.
It is impossible to separate UX and UI even when they are so different from each other. What is important is that both of them are key in the development of a user friendly website.