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The differences between UX & UI design

Henry Foster
UX/ UI Designer

This article will outline the differences between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. I will begin by outlining each of the disciplines before describing their differences.

UX and UI design are closely related and work hand in hand, but they are two separate disciplines in product design. Both play essential roles in creating successful digital products.

 

What is user experience (UX) design?

User experience design is a multidisciplinary approach focused on enhancing users’ overall experience when interacting with a product, service or system. It involves creating engaging, easy-to-understand and often inspirational experiences to ensure a product or service meets the user’s needs, goals and expectations.

 

What is user interface (UI) design?

UI design is the process of creating visually appealing and intuitive interfaces for digital products, services or systems, specifically dealing with the visual and interactive elements users interact with. The primary goal of UI design is to enhance the usability and aesthetics of a digital interface.

 

What are the differences?

The end-to-end journey of a digital product design lifecycle includes both UX and UI design. It begins with the UX design process and involves research, definition and design. Once the core structure and content of designs are approved, then begins UI design. This involves bringing the designs to life through colour, typography, iconography and images.

 

Comparison graphic with differences between UI and UX

The core elements of UX design

Enhance user satisfaction

UX designers strive to create products that users find enjoyable, efficient, and easy to use. They focus on understanding user needs and preferences and removing pain points or blockers to provide a positive and fulfilling experience.

Research-driven

A data-first and research-driven approach. All design decisions are based on in-depth research. Research methods can include competitive and comparative research, user interviews, personas and user journeys. Using research to ensure the product meets the user’s needs.

Defining the layout and structure

UX designers focus on the structure, layout and content of designs. These often take the form of low to mid-fidelity wireframes. Card sorting and tree testing are two methods that can help define the information architecture of a website or platform. The previously undertaken research informs page proportions, layouts and content.

Accessibility

Accessibility is becoming an ever more important factor in the world of UX. Designers must ensure that digital products are accessible to users of all abilities. Designers consider factors like readability, colour contrast, and assistive technologies to ensure that people with disabilities can use the product effectively.

 

The core elements of UI design

Visual components and elements

Visual design involves creating and designing elements and components such as buttons, colour palettes, imagery, iconography and typography. These elements must reflect and capture the brand DNA.

Layout

Layouts must be organised and created clearly and logically, allowing users to easily find what they are looking for and navigate through the interface. These are to be informed by the information architecture and industry consistency and standards.

Animation and interaction design

Creating moving and dynamic visual design elements can help create fun and engaging user experiences. Motion is most often appropriate as a form of subtle feedback for micro-interactions. This can include how buttons respond to clicks, how menus expand, and how transitions and animations guide users through the experience.

Consistency

Maintaining consistency throughout the interface ensures that users can quickly learn and understand how to use the product, as elements and interactions behave predictably across different screens.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, UX design focuses on understanding and improving the overall user experience, while UI design focuses on creating visually appealing and user-friendly interfaces. Simply put, UX is the beginning of the product design lifecycle and focuses on answering the users’ wants, needs, and frustrations. While UI design concerns the aesthetics and overall feel of an interface. Both disciples are essential for creating exceptional user experiences.

 

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