UX versus UI Design?

We often get the question: what is the difference between UX and UI design?
UX design and UI design are two terms that are often lumped together and used interchangeably. Today we’re going to cover the difference between them.

UX stands for User Experience Design
UX design is a human first way of designing products. It’s all about the user’s interaction or experience with a product or service. It asks some questions like,

  • How straightforward is this experience?
  • How easy is it for the user to complete their desired tasks?
  • Is the experience smooth or clunky?
  • UX can cover everything from physical product to digital experiences like online shopping or swiping through an app.

UI stands for User Interface Design
UI is what you use to interact with the product and it focuses on the user’s visual experience. UI design covers all the screens and visual interactive touch points that the user moves through when navigating from A to B.

What Does a UX Designer Do?
They combine,

  • market research
  • product development strategy
  • design to find out what the user wants and needs in a particular context.
  • Then, they use their findings to design a product that puts the user first.

Empathy is absolutely crucial as the UX designer really needs to be able to put themselves in the user’s shoes. The UX designer works out what journey the user is trying to complete and maps out user flows. They then create wireframes and prototypes which are tested and iterated until the final design is ready. Unlike UI design it has nothing to do with visuals or making things look good.

What Does a UI Designer Do?
Illustration of UI, user interface. Unlike UX design, user interface design focuses specifically on the user’s visual interactive experience.

How does the user interact with the product interface?

How do they get from one screen to another and what happens when they click this button or tap that image?
UI designers, design every single screen an interactive touch point that the user encounters.

They consider the layout of each page and the spacing between every element. They design buttons, scroll bars and slides working with color palettes and typography.

Just like UX designers, UI designers will create mock-ups and prototypes to see how the final product will look. In a nutshell, UI design is all about the presentation look and feel of the product. Of course, the UI of a product has a huge impact on the user’s overall experience. However, UI is much more closely related to visual communication and graphic design.

Essentially the UI designer takes the bare-bones blueprint from the UX designer and turns it into something aesthetically pleasing and interactively seamless.

Having explored both UX and UI in more detail we can see that they’re very different.