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UX vs. UI: Know the Difference

Talking, and trying to explain UX and UI can be frustrating at times because the two are often used interchangeably. And it doesn’t help that both of these job roles are often times, listed under other job descriptions.

Main Difference between UX and UI Design

UX (User Experience) design basically means the process in which methods of improving user accessibility and usability are implemented in a website’s design. The job of a UX designer is to provide the customer with the best experience possible. Most UX takes place behind the scenes, and it is usually not noticed unless it is done poorly. This normally happens once a visitor to a website asks themselves, “What do I have to do next to complete this task?” In short, UX focuses more on the scientific methods or creating the best user experience by using industry best practices, customer research and even usability studies to find out what users want and look forward to in a website.

On the other hand, UI (User Interface) is primarily concerned with how a product or website is laid out. It is up to the UI designer to make the website beautiful and fun to use by playing around with colors, fonts, button styles, animation, graphics, widgets, and just about all design elements of a website that could be made more visually appealing to the visitor. In other words, it is the UI designer’s job to enhance the cosmetics or presentation of the website, how it impacts the senses and to anticipate the user’s reaction.

The Importance of UX and UI

So, what we’ve learnt so far is that UI makes the interface beautiful, while UX makes the interface useful. The responsibilities of a UX designers begins by carrying out competitive analysis and then developing personas based on those findings. In short, a product that will be of value to your customer. The methods and techniques that are implemented is then continuously validated through testing that is carried out throughout the life cycle of the product or website.

Once the wireframes and user flows are tested, it is up to the UI designer to make it aesthetically pleasing. This involves choosing a color scheme that goes with the theme of the website and brand image. But, these interactions are not based on the UI designer’s personal preferences, but on the personas that have been developed by the UX designer. With the reasons that have been articulated by the UX, the UI designer will then implement a visual hierarchy that serves as a guide to the user, which lets them know what they have to do and when they have to do it to meet the desired objectives.

So, which One Comes First?
This is the obvious next question that you would ask. Usually, UX design and research is the first step when it comes to designing a website. The UX designer will handle much of the research that is going to lead towards the initial ideas for the website, and will be used as a guide for the development of the product. Once the prototype of the framework has been largely finalized, the UI designer steps in to start work on the visual direction of the website. While the tasks of the UX designer comes first, but that depends on who is handling the UX and UI design of your website.

Which one is more important?

UX and UI are both important features of a website’s design since either one when done poorly can have a negative impact on a website. There are many websites out there that focus on one and not the other, and then there are those brands that give the same amount of importance to both factors, which ultimately results in an exemplary design and user friendly interface.

Ending Note

It is important to note that while UI only deals with the interfaces, UX is employed across, interfaces, services and products. UX is a broad field, and is growing in popularity, not only by businesses in need of a website, but for the development of their products as well. On the other hand, UI is used solely for interfaces. But, that doesn’t mean that it is limited to graphical interfaces used in computers, Smartphones or other handheld devices. The use of UI is also spilling on to other products such as washing machines, vending machines, watches and ticked kiosks.

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