Though often conflated, there are valuable distinctions between UX and UI that web designers can learn from. To start, UX is the broader of the two since it encompasses a user’s whole experience with a product or service, typically a website or app. UI is more focused on intuitive menus, tooltips, and other information-bearing screens. When considering UX, UI is just one of many factors that are accounted for.
Effective UX & UI
First, it helps to find instances where UX and UI have been implemented to great effect. That way, you can see these approaches working in real time.
For UX, pick any popular brand that comes to mind. Chances are that their brand has been carefully crafted by a mix of UX designers and product engineers, with the goal being a distinct and memorable customer experience. This includes the logo and look of their website, though not necessarily how information is conveyed.
For UI, take services that offer a lot of content. iGaming websites can have hundreds of games all presented on one page, so they’re a good example. Large sites like Paddy’s online casino need to present games that have all sorts of colors and themes, ranging from mythical Age of Gods games to mining slots like Diamond Cart. To show all of them off, a window-shopping approach is taken where visitors can drift toward names and artwork that catches their eye, with every game accompanied by information prompt buttons. Most services make great use of both UX and UI principles. UI has a more specific focus on navigability and information-sharing while UX considers the brand as a whole and how it makes customers feel.
The window-shopping technique isn’t just found in iGaming – your favorite streaming services and video-sharing sites all use it too. If these sites used a dry list of hyperlinks for their content instead, it would be confusing from a UI perspective and ugly from a UX perspective.
Elements Of UX Design
So, it’s clear that UX and UI have some overlap. Most UI techniques feed into UX but not all UX design methods can be classified as UI. Generally, UX designers approach projects from a more subjective angle than UI designers.
They’ll have the emotions and feelings of a user in mind, and how they are affected by a product or service. They also take a wider view of user-friendliness, from the start to the end of the business’ sales funnel, explained here by LinkedIn. To UX designers, success is when a customer has a positive interaction/impression of the brand.
With these three guiding principles, you’ll see that UX has a more holistic view that incorporates most aspects of a product/service and relies heavily on self-reported user satisfaction.
Elements Of UI Design
If UX designers think more subjectively, UI designers are more objective. They reach for tried-and-true solutions when it comes to educating new customers, with not as much care for how the user feels but knowing that they are contributing to a positive user experience.
UI designers think more about whether the product/service makes sense to newcomers. They may think about brand typography, image types, and screen-size optimization but with clear aims to direct users to conversion via sales, watch time, etc. To UI designers, success is when a customer is informed and can navigate the brand with ease.
UI designers may flirt with subjective user feelings when anticipating their customers but the usability of a service is clearly tracked through metrics that can’t be denied. Click maps demonstrate how UI influences user behavior.
Since the usage of handheld tech has outpaced desktop usage in many fields, user interface design isn’t just about one interface. Optimizing for mobile is key to many businesses and often, what works for a desktop website arrangement doesn’t work for a smartphone screen, something MakeUseOf explains here.
Through these distinctions, it’s easier to see how and why UX and UI designs differ and why different people are sourced to fulfill these roles. While they have differences, designers need to collaborate a lot to make sure each other’s work is compatible with the brand, and many businesses would be lost without them.