The Difference Between UX and UI Designers

Many people tend to use the terms User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) interchangeably, though they are actually quite distinct. In this blog, we will explain what UX and UI are and highlight some of the differences between the two. 

What are UX and UI?

User Experience (UX), and User Interface (UI), are well-known terms in today’s technology parlance. Often, the two are uttered incorrectly, as both serve two very different but linked purposes. In both UX and UI, the ultimate goal is to create the perfect journey for users of a website, application or technology. Together, they strive to make a user interface to perform in a matter that makes life easy, enjoyable, and usable by an end-user. Let’s look at the meaning of both. 

What is UX? 

UX is all about understanding the journey that a front end user will take on an app or a web page. It is about the experience that the end-user has with your interface. A good UX designer will learn all about how an end-user uses their product and will strive to make the overall user journey through that product as easy and as enjoyable as possible. 

What is UI?

UI is all about making what the UX designer has learned into the most user-friendly interface possible. They take the learnings that a UX designer has gathered and act on that accordingly to make the front end visually compelling and user-friendly. 

What is the difference between UI and UX developers?

While both roles are inextricably linked, there is a distinct difference between the two. A UI designer takes over from where a UX designer leaves off. A UX designer thinks about how the journey should feel for an end-user. He or she maps out the perfect journey through their application and passes that information to the UI designer. The UI designer’s job is to make that information gathered by the UX designer look and feel really good for the end-user.

Which is better UX or UI?

As already explained, UX and UI are two different things, and they both work best when they work together. Understanding a user experience is vitally important – especially in an age where so much business is now done online. For example, understanding what works best to convince a customer to spend money with your business is incredibly important. This is where your UX designer comes in, but then to put all of that into usable action is why the UI designer is so important. They will turn that seamless journey into a reality. They will create the perfect journey based on the feedback and research from the UX designer. So, which is better? Neither. Both are imperative. 

Understanding the difference – Example.

One way to think of the difference between the two is by using the analogy of something familiar, such as building a house.

A UX Designer Is The Architect

Let’s say you decide to have a house built for you and your family. There are many things to consider in making this house an enjoyable and usable place to live. You have to consider the square footage of the home, how many bedrooms you need, the number of stories, etc.

Now you need to hire people to make this dream home a reality. First, you will need an architect to design the home. The architect is responsible for taking what you want to create a house that fits your concept of a usable space that will bring joy to you and your family’s life.

The architect’s job is like that of a UX designer. Determining the layout of the house, figuring out the inner workings such as the pipes for the plumbing, and any other structural things that need to be included to make it user-friendly, comfortable, and a joy to live in is the job of the architect. And everything that goes into making a website or product user-friendly and workable is the job of the User Experience designer.

A UI Designer Is The Interior Designer

There is another important aspect of your dream home that you must consider. Your home can have the correct number of bedrooms, the open kitchen concept that you love, and a large walk-in shower. But what if the kitchen cabinets look outdated, the walls are painted a drab brown, and the living room furniture is poorly arranged? Are you going to enjoy living there? Are you going to want to invite friends over for dinner parties? Probably not.

This is where an interior designer would be needed. They would know what colours would work best on the walls to make the rooms bright and cheery, the best choice for kitchen cabinets, and what style of fixtures to install in the bathrooms. The interior designer’s job is to make sure that what you visualise in the home is pleasant to look at and nicely arranged. They’re concerned with colours, the layout of the furniture, the material used for the kitchen countertops, etc.

Just as the visual design of the home is the job of an interior designer, the visual design of a website or product is the job of a User Interface designer. UI designers are in charge of designing the website pages a user interacts with and are responsible for creating a consistent style and design across the product. The UI designer ensures that the user interface – what you see –  visually communicates the path that the UX designer (the architect) created.

What return does a business get from UI and UX? 

The best practice is to work on UI and UX at th beginning of a project. Yes, it takes investment, however, if done correctly, it is one that will return through: 

  • Positive reactions from your users
  • More sales
  • Better conversions
  • An established brand with added authority
  • Increased traffic

UX and UI – perfect together

Even though the UX designer and the UI designer are involved in different aspects of a product, they must work in tandem to develop a successful product. A home that is usable and works, but is ugly to look at, is an example of good UX and bad UI. And a home that looks like it should be on a magazine cover, but has leaky plumbing and small rooms, represents good UI and bad UX.

Sometimes it takes two. Both UX and UI designers are equally important in creating a finished product that is pleasant and engaging to use.

Free Coding Challenge

To enter the world of UX and UI, it is extremely advantageous to understand how to code. Code Institute’s free 5 Day Coding Challenge will teach you the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. After just one hour a day, over five days, you will have built your first web page. Register now through the form below. 

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