There’s a lot of confusion between UI and UX design. Some of us consider them to be one and the same. Nothing can be further from the truth because both are different as chalk and cheese.
Though they work closely with each other, they are two different disciplines altogether. While UX design is part technical and part analytical, UI design is more about graphic design.
Let’s dissect these two terms to clear the confusion about them:
UI Design in brief
UI means User Interface. It deals with the graphical layout of an application that a user interacts with. And this includes buttons that users click on, texts they read, image sliders, text entry fields, among many other things. It also includes screen layouts, interface animations, etc.
Put simply, all types of visual element, animation, or interaction are part of UI design. Even color schemes, button shapes, text font used, and more are part of UI.
In short, the look and feel of an application rest on the shoulders of UI designer. Being graphic designers, they are more concerned with the aesthetics part. More importantly, they must see that the application is interactive enough and is in keeping with the objective and personality of the app.
Plus, they need to make sure that every single visual element gels with the whole, both aesthetically, and in keeping with the app’s objective.
UX Design in brief
UX means user experience. A users’ experience depends on how easy or difficult the app is to interact with. If it’s smooth and intuitive, that means your app has a good UX design. On the other hand, if it’s confusing and leaving the users frustrated, which mean the apps’ UX has to be reworked.
User experience boils down to how users are interacting with UI elements.
So, in one sense, UX designers are mainly concerned with the UI, and this is why they find it difficult to separate the two. While UI designers are responsible for the look and feel of the UI, UX designers are in charge of seeing how the UI operates. In other words, the flow of the app is what UX is all about.
They help arrive at the structure of the interface and the functionality. How it’s to be put together and how one part of the UI should seamlessly flow into the other. To cut to the point, they decide how the interface works. If it works seamlessly, then users will have a pleasant experience. On the contrary, if the navigation proves complicated or unintuitive, then you are offering a lousy user experience.
Harmony between UX and UI
UI is more about the interface looks, while UX is how the interface works. Given that both teams work on UI, it’s crucial for them to work in harmony. Given that UX team works on the flow of the app, and that whether interface serves the info that users’ need, the UI, on the other hand, singularly focuses on how the interface elements appear on the screen. For instance, if a few more buttons need to be added to the app, UX team will rack their heads on the layout part of the buttons, while the UI team has to see how to change their design to accommodate the new layout.
The crux of it: UI design and UX design are two completely different things, but they do run into each other and are an integral part of your app’s success story. While UI is about the looks, UX is about UI interactions.