You may have heard of ‘UI’ or ‘UX’ referring to a website or digital product. Most people would assume it is just referring to the look and feel of the product but in reality, UX and UI design goes much deeper than what you’d realise. It may be cool to spout out these terms but UX and UI design encomposses everything we interact with on the web. It’s crucial to know the meaning behind these terms and how they affect our lives without our knowledge!
What’s this UI and UX? Tell me about it!
UX and UI Design has been around for decades and only just recently has the tech industry really focused and extrapolated these terms to the public. In reality, they refer to two different professions that work closely together.
UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, whilst UI Design refers to User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial and both work closely together to deliver a final coherent product. Despite the similarities in profession, the roles themselves are different in regards to the process and the design discipline. UX Design is considered the more analytical and technical field, UI Design is what we are more commonly familiar with; that is the graphic design and the ‘look’ of the product.
Simply put, UI can be considered as the visual appeal of the product and UX is considered the interaction between the user and the product (like the ‘experience’ of using the product).
User Experience Design (UX)
User Experience Design can be summarised as the process or analysis of enhancing user satisfaction and loyalty by improving usability, ease of use in the interaction between the user and the product. This can apply in many different industry professions but for web design it is important how the user will interact with the website.
A UX Designer’s job can be targeted at digital developments but the theory and practise can be categorised into three main procedures: strategy and content analysis, wireframe and prototyping (which also includes testing and development planning), execution and analytics (coordination with designers and developers as well as project planning and management). In more simpler terms, the UX role is part marketer, part designer, part project manager. Ultimately, the aim is to connect the business’ goals with its end users in a way that satisfies both parties.
User Interface Design (UI)
Whilst UX Design focuses on the interaction between product and consumer, User Interface Design focuses on the look and feel of the product. In some sense, UI Design shares some similarities with UX Design but both professions offer completely different things.
Like User Experience Design, User Interface Design is also a multi-faceted and challenging role. It is responsible for transposing a website’s development and content/layout into an attractive and responsive experience for users. A UI Designer’s responsibilities include design and branding research to promote the ‘look and feel’ of the website and also to ensure the website is responsive to all different sizes whilst maintaining fluid transition and interactivity between the user and the website.
Mashing it all together
You cannot have UX without UI and vice versa; they are both equally important to the success of your website. Think of UI like the skin or case (visual representation) of your smartphone and UX is the interaction between you and your device (e.g. the clicks of the buttons, the feel of the case etc…), they are both crucial to your website. If your website looks great but users find it very hard to navigate or the content is misplaced or unresponsive, it would give them a negative experience and they will unlikely return to your site. Vice versa, if your site functions well but lacks in visual appeal, it might also turn off visitors as well.
In conclusion, UI and UX can’t be separated and both are equally important for website design. The next time you visit a well structured and designed website, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the UI and UX designers who spent a huge amount of time and energy making your experience a positive one!
Fireworks’ team of talented and experienced website designers and developers (while not technically titled UX and UI designers) are dedicated to building you a beautiful and functional website that meets your business needs.