As internet penetration and technology grow, more and more people are taking an interest in web design. Two terms you must have heard from a web designer are user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). These two terms are commonly mistaken as the same, however, they are not. While UI and UX are interdependent, they are two different concepts.
Today, we will clear your confusion about the two concepts and how they work together.
Understanding UI Design
“UI design” stands for user interface design. User Interface is concerned with the graphic layout of a website or application. It deals with the visual elements of a website that users interact with; these include images, texts, click buttons, etc. The main determinants of the user interface include transitions, screen layout, interface animations and any other type of interacting feature.
According to research 75% of people form their opinion of a website based on its aesthetics (Source: Digital Apeel). Hence, UI is important for your online reputation.
The job of designing a website or apps user interface belongs to a UI designer who determines what the website or app will look like. They are responsible for choosing the button shapes, color schemes, typography, etc. UI designers create a detailed graphic design of the site and focus on the aesthetics rather than the technicalities of website development. They make sure all the visual elements work in harmony and complement the website.
Hence, making a website or application appropriately themed, attractive and visually stimulating according to the website persona is referred to as UI design – What is a website persona you ask?
Website persona is the overall feel of your website and how it resonates with the visitors. To understand this concept in-depth, check out this article.
Understanding UX Design
The “UX” in UX design refers to user experience. The user experience of a website or app depends upon how the users interact with it. Hence, interaction design forms an important part of a website’s UI and determines users’ online experience. UX deals with the performance of a website – Is the website working smoothly? Is the text readable? Can users locate the products easily? Is the website navigation logical and intuitive? …and so on.
The user experience is what determines whether your website is performing efficiently when users interact with it. In simple terms, user experience is how easy or difficult it is to interact with the components of a website. These components are the user-interface elements of your website.
For example, the readability (how readable the text is) of a website is an element of user experience whereas determinants of readability (font, size, color, line spacing – typography) are concerned with the user interface.
As you know, UI designers create the interface itself while the UX designers determine how the interface will interact and function to maximize the website performance. It is the job of UX designers to build a website that is well-organized and smoothly constructed. UX designers also deal with iterative analysis and create wireframe rendering to get user feedback.
In short, UX designers think from a user’s perspective to make the website or app as user-friendly as possible.
Main Differences between UI and UX
UI and UX overlap and play an equally important role in the success of a website. Let’s take a look at the main differences between the two concepts:
The UI focuses on elaborate design details whereas UX focuses on keeping things simple to enhance the overall performance of a website.
UI is designed using tools like Principle or Flinto to create detailed high-quality images. While UX is designed using wireframe as it is simpler and more efficient.
The purpose of UX is to improve the functionality of a website whereas UI enhances the interaction.
Art vs. Science
UI has a more artistic approach because it relates to visual designing whereas UX is more scientific, IT deals with social components for user flow, user research, market analysis, etc.
When it comes to UI, the designers work on the responsiveness, interactivity and look and feel of the website. While for UX, the designers are concerned with content and strategy, prototyping and wireframing and analytics and execution of the website.
Now that you know what the two terms mean and how they differentiate, let us move on and find out how UX and UI work together.
UX and UI Work Together
There are many misconceptions when it comes to the roles of UI and UX. While one may seem more important than the other, the truth is that they are both crucial for a successful website. UI and UX form an important part of the design process of a website so they both go hand in hand.
To understand how the user interface and user-experience work together to improve the quality of a website, consider the below-mentioned scenarios:
You have got a million-dollar idea and want to make a website for it; you do your user research and gather all the material. Next, you go to an online website maker and get to work. Your website is complete and available for the visitors to explore. However, they find out that the website is barely legible (for example, poor color scheme). Moreover, the categories are very close together and you keep selecting the wrong one! This is a classic case of the poor user interface, ruining the user experience (UX).
Since, 94% of all first impressions on a website are design-related (Source: Invision), poor UI will leave a bad impression on the visitors.
On the other hand, you have created a very beautiful and visually appealing website. However, behind the amazing aesthetics and elegant typography, it is a hassle to navigate through the pages – cherry on top: the website is clunky and slow. This is like getting a hot cheesy pizza which looks yummy but tastes horrible.
Hence, poor UX will ultimately lead to disappointed visitors, low conversion rates, a bad online reputation, and poor ROI.
Therefore, we conclude that both UX and UI are crucial for a good website and work in harmony to please the users.
UX and UI may be codependent but they are two different terms which require a different thought process, elements, and strengths. The user experience (UX) focuses on the website user’s needs, however, the user interface (UI) attracts the user to explore the website. UX includes research, prototypes, and wireframes, while UI includes sketches, mockups, graphics, and layouts. In short, UI is an art while UX is a science – combine the two to create a perfect website.
In case you already have a website with poor UI or UX (or both) then revamp your website and add the features of UI and UX in your website redesign.
We hope this article was informative and helpful in removing your misconceptions about User experience (UX) and user interface (UI).