UX vs UI: Design, Differences, and Relationship
When you meet a person, you can see how they look like. You can inspect their appearance by looking at their features, the details of their clothes, and the color combination of the outfit. When you get to know them, you will know their responses—how they talk, how they think, and how approachable they are. Meanwhile, your reactions and your emotions toward meeting that person is a different story. Your level of satisfaction and comfort toward that person creates an experience. This is the same correlation of UX vs UI.
It’s a common phrase to discuss UX vs UI in tech. UX and UI are often juxtaposed to associate their relevance with how they work interactively. Their association with one another is also a way of designing the front-end development of a website. When designing a website, UX and UI are very important factors.
So, what are UX and UI?
UX and UI directly translate to User Experience and User Interface, respectively. Both of these are integral elements to a software project and should work closely with one another. Poor UI design could be detrimental to the UX execution and vice versa. Although they are inseparable, they are also completely different in terms of the development aspect.
User Experience (UX) is associated with the overall experience regarding a person’s emotions, anticipation, and/or reaction when testing a product, system, or service. Although this is measured in various products, this term is mostly used in tech focusing on websites and computer applications. UX defines the ease of use of the software product. To determine the UX quality, there should be a good User Experience Design (UXD).
User Experience Design
User Experience Design deals with the process of enhancing customer satisfaction through usability improvements, ease of product use, and enjoyment in the interaction with the product. It encompasses all possible interactions between a tester, potential user, or customer and the company through a product.
Peter Morville, president of Semantic Solutions, has modeled his UX honeycomb to detail the different aspects to look at when designing a software product.
- Useful— Usefulness refers to your product’s capacity to be of help to the customers in making their activities much easier. It should provide for something they need. Otherwise, your product becomes a novelty as opposed to a necessity.
- Usable—A product’s usability is measured on its ability to achieve what it is made to do. If your product does not perform based on how it is programmed and configured, then it is pretty much just a lost cause.
- Findable—You know it’s findable when you can find what you and want where you thought it should be. A software product containing elements that are hard to find cannot provide a good user experience. If it takes gaps for users to find what they want, your product may not be user-friendly at all.
- Credible—Credibility is also an important aspect of user experience. Your users should trust your product firmly. If you have a website where there is sensitive data (such as personal and credit card information) that need to be processed and it does not have enough security features (such as verification and validation), then your user will find it unsafe to use.
- Accessible—Knowing your audience contributes a great impact to your product as this can determine how you will make your product accessible to them. If you design an app for children, you must make sure that they can access it and have instructions that are easy for them to understand. Additionally, you should consider implementing features that make your product accessible to persons with disabilities. As important as providing what your users can access, you should also define certain limits as to which features they cannot access.
- Desirable—This answers the question “Do you want to use it?” Interest from users is critical for you to sell your product. If it doesn’t correspond to their desires and interests, then there is a viability problem to your product.
- Valuable—If a product does not “spark joy” in your life, there are more chances that you wouldn’t be using it for long. Value refers to how it impacts one’s life positively. It has to address recurring activities in a person’s life to make it much easier to do. Your product must be sensible to your users to increase its value to them.
For you to be able to provide a good User Experience, you need developers that can develop a sensible and valuable UX design. Some considered aspects in the UX design are (1) strategy and content, (2) wireframing and prototyping, and (3) execution and analysis.
- Strategy and Content—UX designers are expected to perform competitive and customer analysis to determine the content and production structure requirements.
- Wireframing and Prototyping—These aspects should not be taken lightly as these are important in catering to customer satisfaction. Designers should prepare the appropriate wireframes and prototypes before development and testing.
- Execution and Analytics—UX designers should coordinate with developers and UI designers to execute the UX design properly. The UX checklist (UX honeycomb) should be completed and achieved. After this, an analysis should be performed to assess the iterations on what could be improved on the design.
As per its dictionary definition, user interface is the means by which the user and a system interact. While this definition remains true, UI broadens its scope not only on the technical medium of which users and systems interact. Websites demand a visual approach in creating a sound user interface. Nowadays, the creativity and genius that go behind a great look-and-feel of an interface are as important. Developers must produce a quality user interface design.
User Interface Design
User Interface Design is concerned with the visual scheme of a website—how to make it attractive, assistive, and responsive to users. This includes the development and presentation of an appropriate look-and-feel for a website.
The Usability Post defines eight (8) characteristics for a successful user interface. To do this, designers should consider the following aspects:
- Clear—Clarity is the most important characteristic of a user interface. It justifies the definition of the user interface as a medium of interaction for users and systems with meaning and function. Each element should represent exactly what they are enabling users to perform what function they want.
- Concise—Being clear with your features is good. However, over explaining instructions or descriptions may bore your users. You should be clear with as shorter explanation as possible. If you can use one word instead of two, do it. If you can explain a feature in one sentence instead of four, go for it.
- Familiar—Making an interface intuitive is a challenging part of a UI designer’s job. This deals with the conventions that the target audience is used to. Making a UI intuitive is simply making it familiar. To do this, one should integrate signs, icons, or templates that have been already encountered before. A navigation bar or a search bar is conventionally located at the topmost part of an application page. This is also the same convention that most designers and customers are used to. Changing its placement means risking the familiarity of the users in navigating through your software application. Therefore, this is something that you should avoid.
- Responsive—Responsive can mean two things: fast and interactive. One, your interface has to be fast. Waiting for lagging pages can be frustrating to your users. Having a fast interface will boost the user experience. Two, your interface also has to be interactive. It should be communicating with your users and provide some form of feedback with each action that they make. How do they know when they clicked a button? Is there a loading page that should appear? Should a menu be displayed? Should they navigate to another page? These are things that should be considered.
- Consistent—Old adage says ‘consistency is key’ and it still remains true. There should be a consistent style with how the content is presented: the layout, icons, images, text, etc. Consistent interfaces also allow users to gauge familiarity with your product.
- Attractive—One of the main purposes of UI is its visual aspect. Making the UI attractive is as important as the rest of the characteristics. Your application may suffice in terms of function and efficiency but making it attractive is an extra step to increase user experience satisfaction. This is especially specific for sites or products that have a filtered market in which UI designers can customize the design to make it more appealing to the target audience.
- Efficient—Does it make the user’s life easier? Does the user have to go outside of the app to accomplish some tasks? Are the functions obtained in as little time and as little effort as possible? A good user interface should be efficient enough to answer correctly to these questions. The essence of UI design display functions with minimal clutter that provides efficiency of use.
- Forgiving—There should be a fallback option for your users in instances that they make mistakes. For example, the user accidentally publishes a post. Is there an option to delete the post? Is there an option to edit it? Your interface has to be forgiving and proactive. Don’t go too hard on jargon, too.
User Interface Designers
UI Designers have a great responsibility in product development. User Interface can make or break a product. It is necessary to hire skilled designers that can provide such convenience for users. They should be able to take care of the (1) look and feel and (2) interactivity.
- Look and Feel—This includes customer analysis which helps determine the design of the UI. The style and consistency are also included as this establishes an identity and branding for your product.
- Interactivity—This deals with the implementation of the developer in making the UI design responsive, interactive, and animated.
What do we learn from these?
In summary, UX and UI are two different entities of product development. However, they are as independent in definition as they are codependent in function. User Experience is the user-centered aspect of your product—what the users experience, enjoy, or react to. User Interface is more on the developer side implementations that make the user experience satisfactory.
Evidently, one cannot fully exist without the other. User Experience is measured on how much the customer enjoys interacting with the product through the UI design. User Interface’s main goal is to provide a great user experience. These two entities, however different in implementation, always go hand in hand.
Where can you get UI and UX designers?
User Interface and User Experience market has already expanded along with the growth of software development. Offshore companies also foster UI and UX designers for their clients’ products.
Full Scale rosters a pool of talented UI and UX designers for software applications and products. As one of the leading offshore companies in Cebu City, Philippines, we make sure to provide quality services to our customers. We hire skilled and talented designers who are experienced in the field of UI and UX design. Our Guided Development process allows our clients to input their ideas throughout the development process. This gives them control over the whole project, including the design!
If you are looking for UI and UX designers (or a whole team) for your software product, just give us a call or shoot us a message. Your dream software is just a message away.