User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are popular and commonly used terms in the digital technology industry. But if you had to explain what these terms mean and then point out the differences between them, would you be able to do so? If not – it’s high time to change it. Here’s a quick guide for you to learn everything you need to know about UX and UI in practice.
What is User Experience (UX)?
As the name suggests, the term “user experience” describes everything the user experiences when interacting with a company’s product or service. The pioneer of this term is Don Norman, who first began to use it in the 90s while working at Apple. According to him: “User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products”.
UX design focuses on researching user needs and behaviour and then creating intuitive products that are goal-oriented. The key goal here is to create a product that is logical and easy to use. What’s more, when creating a UX design, one must pay close attention to business goals and building products that align with a company’s vision and mission. UX best practices can improve user interactions and positively impact the image and perception of a company’s products and services.
What is User Interface (UI)?
User Interface is the basic element of human-computer interaction. Its purpose is to enable efficient operation and free control of the computer by the person who uses it.
UI consists of several so-called interaction layers that appeal to human senses, such as sight, touch and hearing. They include both input devices, such as a keyboard, mouse or microphone, and output devices, such as monitors, speakers and printers. Devices that interact with multiple senses are called “multimedia user interfaces”. An everyday user interface (UI) often uses a combination of both tactile input (keyboard and mouse) and visual and audio output (monitor and speakers).
What does a UX Designer do?
A UX Designer’s main responsibility is to ensure that products and technologies are usable, enjoyable and user-friendly. People working in this role are usually part of a larger product team, being an intermediary between the user, development team and key business stakeholders. Whether designing an entirely new product, creating a new feature or just making changes to an existing product or service, they must always consider what is best for the user and their overall experience.
A UX Designer’s responsibilities differ depending on the organisation, the structure of the company, and the product they are working on. The most important activities of this position include designing interactions and mockups and researching and testing solutions with the end-users of a product. The UX Designer works closely with the business department, as well as the graphic designers and programmers who implement their design.
What does a UI Designer do?
In contrast to UX Designers who are concerned with the overall user experience of a product, a UI Designers pay special attention to the layout of individual parts, primarily visual elements. They are responsible for designing each screen or page that the user interacts with, ensuring that the UI visually communicates the UX Designer’s path. A UI Designer is usually also responsible for creating a consistent style guide for a product.
The UI Designer’s main tasks include determining how users interact with products, designing the UI from a visual styling standpoint. These are: selection and placement of icons on the page, font size and colour, button design, menu style and more. The choices he makes determine whether people understand how to easly use certain elements on a page, in an application, or a program.
UX and UI in practice — key differences
We already know the meaning behind UX and UI and what people responsible for these areas do. UX and UI designers’ responsibilities often overlap. That’s why we created a summary of the most important ones to illustrate the differences better. What is the meaning of UX and UI in practice?
- focuses on the user and his/her experience with the product
takes responsibility for the usage and functionality of the product
- pays special attention to how each element of the product looks and works
- has a social dimension – is concerned with market research and communication with users to understand their needs better
- focuses on project management and analysis throughout the entire process of product creation – from the idea, through development, to delivery
- focuses on the product
- analyses user interactions with the product
- concentrates on project management and analysis through the whole process of product creation – from the idea, through development, to delivery
- has an artistic dimension, as it relates to the design and interface of the product
- it is a more technical concept – it aims to create design components for a product
Both User Experience and User Interface are essential aspects of every digital product that significantly impact its success. That is why more and more companies decide to hire people who specialise in these fields. This way, they can create solutions that can fully meet the needs and expectations of users.
If you’re interested in this topic – a few weeks ago, we published a comprehensive summary of top UX and UI trends for 2021. Check out this article if you want to be up-to-date with user experience and user interface best practices!