A lot of newbie designers misunderstand the terms UI and UX to mean the same thing and often use the two words interchangeably. The first step to creating life-changing user experiences using digital products is to understand the difference between these two terms. So let’s dive right in!
User Experience (UX)
At the crux of every product in the world is the ability to satisfy its users. Regardless of how great your solution is, if your end consumers are dissatisfied with your product, then it will go down the drain. This is the philosophy behind user experience.
UX or user experience is the process of crafting seamless user experiences to improve user satisfaction with your digital product – could be your app or website. This is achieved by boosting the accessibility, usability, and performance of the solution. Overall, users must be pleased when interacting with your product.
Exemplary UX is having a user-centred design. Each product design decision must be made after considering the wants and needs of the users. It is noteworthy to mention that UX is not limited to the user’s experience with the product. Instead, it includes the customer’s perception prior to, during, and after the use of the digital solution. This involves crafting a compelling overview of the product, the download process (in the case of an app), and the actual usage, and post-usage with the brand.
For example, in the case of an e-commerce website, the user experience will involve the branding efforts of the business, the ease of navigating the site from scrolling through the products to placing an order, and the reviews and push notifications, and emails the brand sends.
User Interface (UI)
The user interface revolves around the usability of the solution. A product with a great UI will be one that is highly user-friendly and features an efficient interface.
A common misconception about UI is that it is only about the development of navigation menus and buttons. However, in reality, it is more complex than this.
User Interface includes all interactions between the product and the user. It is about the look and functionality of the product.
Continuing with the above example, when making a decision on where to place the cart option on the e-commerce website, developers must consider what position would be optimum for their users. They must also decide the colour scheme to use to help consumers in detecting the presence of the cart.
What is more, the developer should ensure that the overall flow of the website makes sense. Having the consumer journey mapped out simplifies the interface design process.
Main Difference Between UI & UX
While UI consists of the technical elements that allow users to interact with the solution, UX involves the overall perception of the user takes away from the experience with the app.
Taking Google for example, the user interface of the platform is simplistic. It is designed to enable users to get information quickly. If the search engine featured a high load time, hampering the users’ ability to access information, the user experience would be compromised.
Besides the basic difference, here are other ways UX and UX differ from one another:
- UI focuses on product performance while UX focuses on the entire user journey.
- UI determines how the app will look, while UX determines what problem it will solve in the users’ life.
- UI revolves around visually directing the users around the app/website interface while UX includes researching, testing, developing, and prototyping the product.
- While UI is limited to the screen, UX transcends it and includes all interactions and touchpoints of the user.
The reason why many people consider UX and UI to be synonymous is that quality apps/websites must include both. Without proper UX, UI is guaranteed to be compromised.
When interacting with a digital product, users require the platform to be user-friendly and efficient to call the experience smooth and convenient. Therefore, usability plays a crucial role in attaining optimum user experiences.
It is imperative to understand that UX is above and beyond the product’s performance – and UI is more than the buttons added. A proper understanding of the synergy between the two is the key to creating winning solutions.
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Connect with the author of this post on Linkedin: Cecilia Akinyi.