User experience design (UX) and user interface design (UI) – Are they two sides of the same coin, or completely independent processes? Join us on a deep dive to uncover the differences.
Fact #1: They are not the same thing
First things first, we have to clarify that yes, there is a difference between UX and UI and that the two are not the same. The focus for UX is the overall end-to-end design and optimisation of a product for effective use. This in turns enhances the interaction between the user and the product and/or service that you are providing. Simply put, the UX designer maps out the journey that the user takes, and makes sure it is a pleasant one.
UI supports this process by emphasising the visual appeal, presentation, responsiveness, interactivity and the ‘look and feel’ of your product. A UI designer projects the brand onto the visual collaterals that users come in contact with, which is a pretty important job in the digital age. To design a user interface, your focus will be on the product’s surfaces and more tangible elements.
Fact #2: The designers have different responsibilities
A quick search of job listings for UX and UI designers will give you some insight on what is expected from both fields. The UX designer is pitched as the person who champions user-first thinking and design with a focus on human centered design usability. The skillset of a UX designer includes market analysis, strategising the content, wire framing and prototyping and even execution and analytics.
As opposed to the much broader perspective that a UX designer has, the UI designer’s responsibility is more focused on the translation of business objectives and digital strategy into conceptual and visual solutions. The responsibility of a UI designer includes branding and graphic development, UI prototyping and user guides.
Fact #3: The two aspects focus on different timeframes
As a UX designer, the focus is on the big picture and the path that the user takes to arrive at a solution. In some cases, this might not even involve the screen and is driven, instead, by the complete and holistic experience. The UX designer stretches the scope beyond just digital touch points, although the visual aspects can be a subset of this experience.
We couldn’t say it better, so we’ll let Scott Jensen, Google’s Product Strategist, say it: ‘I see the UI as focusing on the product, a series of snapshots in time’. The UI designer zooms into the singular moments and the user’s interactions with visual material at any one point. The timeframe that both the UX and UI designers are concerned with are vastly different.
Fact #4: They both need each other
Now that we’ve gone through the differences, let’s talk about what bonds UI and UX together – the interdependent relationship. While typically, UX design is mapped out before UI design, both processes are dependent on each other to create a worthwhile product. While UX acts as the beams, poles and walls of your building, UI is the paint that you splash on those walls. The two processes are intricately linked, and a well-designed site excels in both areas.
At Krome, we specialise in website design services as well as user interface websites. If you or your client are interested in creating a site, it’s time to tell us about your project or have a chat about what we can do. You can contact us here.