Even though every single bit of information nowadays is only a few clicks away, there are still some terms and concepts that continue to cause confusion. In this case, we are talking about UX and UI, which are often mentioned in the same breath. That is not the strange part, because they are inextricably connected, but the fact that they often get confused for one another, or there too much/too little of an overlap between the two. Needless to say, designers need to be familiar with both, since Google looks at UI/UX as one of the ranking factors. Even if you run a small business, you need to invest in your website’s UX.
For example, as much as 88% of users will never visit a website again after a bad user experience. In case the website is poorly designed and not responsive, UI would be to blame, but because poor UI created a poor UX, it hard to tell where the first one ends and the second one begins. According to Google, ¾ of mobile users are more likely to visit a website again if it’s mobile-friendly. As you can see UX and UI are crucial, so in order to help you make the most out of each, let’s take a look at their key differences.
1. Their Focus Is Different
At the very core of every UX effort and solution is your audience. The goal of every solution and every single UX action, such as research and testing, is to provide a more pleasant experience for the user. The thing that makes UX design so challenging is that it’s a journey put together of different user behaviours, as well as emotional reactions. For example, UX designers need to be able to get into the minds of users and figure out what they like or dislike a particular feature inside an app, or why they go through the entire article without clicking the call-to-action button at the very end.
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UI, on the other hand, deals with more palpable, but still virtual elements, such as a layout which guides the users’ eyes in a particular way and causes them to take actions which were envisioned by the UX designer. UI designers decide which elements, such as graphics, formatting, animation, as well as branding, work and how they should combine them to come up with a layout that will work best, whether it’s for an eCommerce business or any other online service website. In other words, they are in charge of turning the somewhat abstract concepts into an actual interface that is eye-catching, functional, intuitive, and last but not least, responsive.
2. The Research Process Is Different
As we have seen in previous paragraphs, UI designers are responsible for finding the best visual language and elements for the application or website they are creating. In other words, they need to be able to figure out what the users want to see when they open a website. For instance, if a UI designer or a team of designers needs to create a website for a writing service, they would need to research some of the relevant websites in the same niche in order to see what has been working for those other services. They would need to look at the twiftnews website and determine the reason for their success from a UI point of view.
UX designers need to research user expectations and fulfill them as a result, which is a big challenge. They need to be aware that every interaction with other similar apps or websites has shaped the experience of their users, as well as expectations to a certain degree. Users, consciously or not, know what to expect from a certain type of website, and how it’s supposed to look and function. UX designers need to figure out those expectations and turn them into something that a user will like.
3. They Use Different Tools
As you’ve probably been able to realize by now, UX and UI designers have different approaches to design, which also means they use different tools for the job. UI designers’ job is very image-oriented and geared toward visuals, which is why they use tools Principle and Flinto, as well as InVision in case they need to collaborate with other members of the team. When it comes to UX design, they use tools like Axure, Mockplus, and Balsamiq, so that they can design prototypes much faster using wireframes.
As you can see, even though UX and UI are two separate things, they have a lot of things in common. Ultimately, they both have the same goal: providing the best possible experience for the user. They just cover different aspects of that journey.