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Probably, you have heard the terms UX and UI before, and these might appear to you as some monikers associated with designing. These represent two abbreviated terminologies, namely User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). Both happen to be the most vital attributes of designing. These two terms altogether help ensure a surefire application or website design. However, some designers and other professionals often consider the two terms (UX and UI) either as a same thing or they often lump the two attributes as one and thus use them unsuitably. This confusion is majorly impacting the industry in various ways and thus, it becomes more than imperative to precisely and clearly segregate them, simply for the fact that they are paramount to the design trends – present and future ones.
This article will reveal the two terms appropriately and help you determine which one of the two is currently ruling the ground.
One can't deny that UX and UI have several points of commonalities, similar skill-sets being one. However, while observing the two more closely, it can be said that the UI design is very much related to the graphic design whereas the UX design somehow belongs to a technical and analytical field. Hence, by and large the visions and objectives of either field are different from the other.
Good user interface contributes to a great overall user experience with the product and thus, helps ensure the product success.
Let's throw some light on the User Experience Design and look how it differs from the User Interface design.
The UX design is the designing discipline that basically deals with the process of establishing the consumer satisfaction and their loyalty towards the product. This can be done by boosting the product usability and interaction between the product and the user.
This is not associated with any individual attribute, but it involves the overall experience of the user with the product, and it includes accessibility, usability, offerings – essentially all the aspects of the interaction with the end users. The UX design thus considers the interaction between a user and the multiple facets associated with the product.
The user interface (UI) is basically a front line tool that facilitates user interactions with the product. It is a vitally important and robust tool that can help establish a great user experience. And that is probably the reason why diametrically the two different fields (UX and UI) are often thought of as one.
The UI design helps enhance the user experience by making the visual assets and the strength of the brand optimally transferable to the interface. The more interactive and intuitive the interface will be, the better the product will be able to garner the improved user experience. It thus, visually guide users through their experience while browsing a product.
It is hard to catch up with the ever-fluctuating web trends, but to ensure the success of products (like apps or websites), it is essential to integrate the updated UI elements. They play a great role in attracting and engaging potential customers, which will ultimately benefit your business. Currently, flat and minimalist designs are in trend, the simple and easily accessible UI elements allow users to conveniently access the product, which greatly contribute to an outstanding user experience.
An ill-fitted application of the two concepts can lead to disastrous results like product failure and can even adversely affect your business. However, companies find it impractical to hire professionals working separately on UI and UX. Since, both the fields are the elements of design, it would serve you well to give your designers a clear-eyed view of your individual goals, with respect to UI and UX.
As comprehended in the above paragraphs, both go hand in hand to create a successful product. A product with great usability and a poor visual appeal is an example of bad UI design and great UX design. On the contrary, a product with terrible usability and a marvelous visual appeal exemplifies a tremendous UI design and poor UX design. What you need is a clever mix of the two.
You can easily distinguish the UX and UI by intellectually thinking upon the two terminologies and considering their staggering ramifications. This will ultimately guide you to deliver better outcomes with perfect interaction, design and user experience.
I often say, UI/UX is like driving a car. Everybody thinks they're good at it because they've driven one. Ask any professional driver how good the average driver is though, and they'll tell you it's a miracle the highway isn't a wasteland of smoking BMWs.
A Problem Solver by Nature, A UX Guru by Aspiration. 18+ Years of UX Experience.
You are absolutely right Tim.
20+ years of UI development work at every kind of company and every kind of project you can imagine, and I have determined these two points to be absolute truths beyond any debate: - You will be readily abandoned (and widely panned...believe me I know...) for a great looking site that isn't usable, either due to bugs, or that disregards function in favor of form. This effort will fail. - You will be readily forgiven for a site that is almost entirely lacking in anything other than basic design, if it works well and is highly usable. This effort will succeed (if the project actually does something useful). One perfect example; the trend of taking the entire top of the fold (or almost all of it) for that one big picture that "really makes our point". This is THE WAY. I hear designers, sponsors, you name it, saying that it is IMPORTANT. All this fancy scrolling stuff, Web 2.0 > HTML5 > Responsive > Modern = "What Users Expect" = PROFIT. But...the user must scroll. To find ANYTHING. And when they do scroll, things don't scroll uniformly. And, other things pop up, and disappear, when they do scroll... 99% of the time I encounter sites like this, if I use it more than once, I'll say, "I wish they'd get rid of that ridiculously large graphic, and make other things scroll uniformly and predictably". I practiced what I preached. I am building a side project that I got fancy on; all the latest and greatest "must haves". Everybody who used the site said the same thing...can I just turn all the fancy off, so I can get to doing what I came to do in a predictable, clear way? Notice I don't say "intuitive". There's a reason you can move the Apple dock to the top, left, or right. Because I intuit it (and set it) on the left. I don't want it on the bottom, it's in the way. A lot of people don't like it, they say it's not "intuitive". Predictable is less subjective. Anyway, I made the changes. I went basic. The reaction was unanimous: "much better." So I would have to say, yes, the nirvana is great design, great UX, and great programming (that often gets pushed aside, it's just as important, coding is a skill AND an art). But if you must cut the budget in one area, there is no doubt in my mind, and I speak from experience...cut design. Go basic. White backgrounds, simple Bootstrap buttons and grids, that sort of thing. And yes, everybody should be involved from the ground floor, I heartily agree. But no matter what, FUNCTION TRUMPS FORM EVERY TIME. If the design must change to enhance UX and/or make the app run more efficiently, the choice is a no brainer. Do I say design is unimportant? No. There is a reason Apple iPhones and laptops rule the roost; they even look good on camera. But while an Alienware laptop looks cooler, the ultimately simple, clean, virtually invisible design of Apple products is a big part of the reason people will throw themselves onto the train tracks to save them. But I guarantee you, no Apple designer said, "it must look exactly like this, pixel perfect, so any engineering problems or usability constraints are your problem to deal with."
Principal at 43,000 Feet
Great article. One thing I would add (speaking as a writer) is that whoever is developing or managing website content should be involved from the ground floor. The most beautiful, intuitive website in the world won't deliver a good user experience if if doesn't make messaging and content easy to access and understand. In our experience, bringing the writers in early streamlines the whole process. Have you found the same thing?
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