UI design and UX design is arguably the most confused and concocted term in web and app design that seems to be describing the same thing. It’s often hard to segregate the description of the two to understand the basic philosophy that concerns both. Let’s dive in to understand the basic difference between the two.
What is UI Design?
The “UI” in UI design stands for “user interface.” It concerns primarily with how a user navigates through a digital product. It basically consists of the buttons that the user clicks on, the text they read, animations, visual elements, moreover creating the look and feel of an application’s user interface. In layman’s language UI designers are, in general, graphic designers concerned with the basic aesthetics to make the application’s interface attractive and visually stimulating to maintain the consistency and flexibility of the brand.
What is UX Design?
“UX” stands for “user experience.” This user experience is determined by how easy and comfortable it is for the end user to use or interact with the app that the UI designers have created. How the audience feels when they interact with the digital product, maybe a website or an app. Do they create an optimal experience for the user making the overall experience a great one? If the navigation is logical and seamless, the user will have a good experience, but if it is complicated and arbitrary then the user will certainly have a lousy experience.
The user experience design process is a continuous process of understanding requirements and improving the design in each stage. Each stage involves relevant stakeholders who take part in the subsequent process to make products highly efficient and logical for users.
Difference in creating UI Design and UX Design:
Step 1: Briefing
UI Design can involve from anything to everything. Every small detail that you want to know from creating a website or a mobile application to developing just interface design, it can involve:
- brief product description: idea, goals, expectations,
- target geographical location,
- the target audience of a final digital product,
- client’s style vision or corporate identity introduction,
- technical requirements (e.g., Android/iOS/cross-platform, CMS, etc.),
- type of an application (e.g., e-commerce or corporate website),
- application components (pages, categories, social media integration, etc.),
- additional requirements (tablet support, API server, etc.),
- delivery time.
The more detailed information you get, the better the final look of user interface design will be.
Whereas in a UX Design, understanding and analysing the problem leads to solving the problem efficiently and effectively. Understanding the problem involves conducting brainstorming sessions along with the design team, business managers, product managers, etc to analyse requirements and clarify them.
Step 2: Research and Analytics
- For a UI Design, important areas to be covered are:
- Problem investigation- Goal of an application, user’s objective etc.
- Market competitors- Recent trends and demands, Competitor’s market offerings
- Decisions research- What are the best digital practices in the field? What are unsuccessful examples?
In a UX Design, research may involve a question about the users. Who are they, what are the designs they generally like? Apart from this learning about the competitors, their ideas, their design principles, the latest UI trends, etc may help to understand the market effectively to meet the desired experience.
Step 3: Wireframing
In a UI Design we create a basic layout content and functionality. Basically, the idea here is to build the logic of an application’s usage understandable for a user and show the interaction between interface elements.
For a UX Design, we prepare a sketch which involves building initial mock-ups and sharing them with the stakeholders to get their valuable inputs. It also involves generating ideas and reworking the sketches from the technical perspective to achieve end-user satisfaction. Once the design layout and flow of the interface are finalized, the next step is to work on the final graphics. Preparing and sharing the design specification (principles, guidelines, colors, typography, iconography) with the development team is an integral part of this stage.
Step 4: Prototyping & Creation
In a UI centric design, we make a final representation of the detailed structure that imitates a real interaction between a user and an application. Once the prototype version is approved by the client, a designer starts creating user interface design using typography and colours to highlight the composition of interface elements.
The implementation phase, in a UX centric Design, starts while the design phase is in progress. The design team helps in the development while implementation so that minor changes are taken care of. Overall, a complete UI with complete functionality and experience is developed. Now the final project is finalized, produced, and launched. The end product is also evaluated in this final stage related to its ease of functionality and flexibility for the end-users.
We explored different dimensions of UI and UX; now let’s take a look at how they work together. It’s understood that both are not the same concepts; however, they are to be combined for better results and for a greater purpose- to interest the user in the product or to convey certain information. So, when you are looking for a product design, UI and UX complement each other- and in today’s competitive market scenario, getting both aspects right is an absolute must. Whether you choose to become a UI designer or a UX designer, it’s better to have an understanding of both to have a seamless experience and learning.