The terms user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are referred to interchangeably, but the two types of design are distinct. In big tech businesses, UI and UX designers work together, but their jobs are different. If you’re starting a website or online business (even a mobile app), you should know the difference. This will help you choose the right employee for each job description. The best choice is to hire two people for the job, but you can sometimes find both talents in the same application.
What is UI?
The term UI has been around longer than UX. UX popped up after mobile apps, because mobile apps development requires exception UX and UI design. UI is the core interface. It’s the buttons, menus and dropdowns that users interface with. UI are basically the components that interface between users and your applications.
For instance, you probably have a form somewhere on your website or app. It doesn’t matter what kind of form. Let’s just say you have an account creation form. What do you need to take input from the user? You need form fields such as user name, password and first and last name. Then, the user clicks a button that submits this information to your web server and database. After the user clicks the button to submit to your database, you then have a login menu item where the user can log in and interface with permission-based components.
All of these components are part of your UI. The UI is also aesthetically pleasing to the user. Most UI designers come up with some kind of color combinations. There are several rules to designing a UI and choosing a color. For instance, designers are urged to keep typography similar across the page. You shouldn’t have five different fonts scattered on your page. This type of design destroys your UI and makes the page hard to read for the user.
UI requires consistency across the page. This means that your users should easily distinguish a button from a link on all pages just not one page. It also includes the ability for users to navigate the site without landing on a “dead end” page. A dead end page can be a page that doesn’t include a navigation menu or throws an error where the user can’t escape from the page. Your UI should always include a way for the user to move away from the current page.
The user should also be able to cancel out of pages. For instance, using the form example, if the user decides he doesn’t want to submit the form, there should be a cancel button to move away from the page and cancel the signup process.
Your menus are also a part of your UI. Users should be able to quickly find menu items, but for UI, it should be obvious what the user is navigating to. For instance, if you have a menu item named “Account,” you should display a profile option, an edit profile option and the option to log out.
What is UX?
UX or user experience is a more subtle art. UX has to do with the intuitive design. Take for instance the user submission form. UX ties in with the user’s emotions and intuitive reaction to that form. “Emotions” sound like a strong word for interacting with a web page, but this design theory greatly affects the number of people who will actually submit the form versus those who decide to bounce from your site.
UX is usually more difficult for a site owner and even an experienced designer to grasp. It might even take some experimentation, data samples and feedback before deciding on a specific UX and UI. UI ties in closely with UX, because while UI is about the physical components, the UX is about working with those components to make them intuitive and user-friendly.
For instance, when a user lands on your home page, you want the user to interact with your pages instead of bounce. UX deals with the layout and how easy it is for the user to find your menus, the attractiveness of your content to grab the reader’s attention and the number of times a user clicks into a specific level of pages before bouncing from the page.
UX should also match the subject matter. For instance, a hospital website should use soft colors. A hospital website shouldn’t use a black background with red text such as that found on a gaming website. This type of UX works with the user’s emotions and expectations on the website. You also wouldn’t use small, hard-to-read font if your target audience is older, but a game website can get away with smaller, white-on-black background fonts.
The Difference between UX and UI
UX and UI (often referred to as UI/UX) are closely related, and your UI and UX guy will need to work with each other. These two designers work together to create a website that engages uses, creates an attractive looking landing page and builds trust with users to fill out forms and turn from a random website visitor to a converted customer. This can be by signing up on a web form for a newsletter or buying products.
The UI and UX developer also work with your back-end coders. The back-end coders are usually the ones who place the code for your design, but the UI and UX developers set up the layout. The UI designer creates the buttons and images, and the UI designer tells the coders where to place them.
The UX designer also works closely with user feedback data. For instance, you might have a page with a call-to-action button at the top on one test page and to the left on another test page. The UX designer would then look at data to understand if users submit forms or buy products with one layout versus the other.
Together, the UI and UX designer affect sales and success of the website. Very rarely are both talents in one person, so it’s better to separate the two and have them work together to enhance a website’s design.