“Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.” - Helga Moreno
The discussions focussed on UI vs UX design are common in the popular tech capitals of the world. In many instances both the terms are used interchangeably as they have been around for decades but the fact is that the UX stands for the term User Experience Design while the UI refers to User Interface Design. Designers who possess a working knowledge of both UI and UX tools have an obvious employability edge as many businesses are looking for individuals who are skilled at both of these.
Central Difference Between UI and UX Design
UI and UX design are vital for any product and they always work in close coordination. But despite the professional proximity they cater to completely different roles as UX Design is more technical and an analytical field while UI Design is nearer to graphic design. A great product is often the result of UX which is followed by UI each playing a vital role. It can be said that UX stands to add usability to the User Interface while UI stands to make the same beautiful to look at.
What Does a UI and UX Designer Do?
The work of the UX designer begins with conducting a proper competitive analysis, development of personas and also developing a bare product which is viable or valuable to meet the user needs which are not met by the market. The product so designed is then comprehensively tested throughout the life-cycle of the product. It is only after the prototyping and testing of user flows and wire-frames, the role of the UI designer comes into play who will make the product more aesthetic and appealing. UI designers will pick colors and typography based on the personas which are developed by UX designers. A visual hierarchy is thus designed by the former.
A Deeper Look: UI vs UX Design
A well-known designer Nick Babich has said, “The best products do two things well: features and details. Features are what draw people to your product. Details are what keep them there.”
Let us delve into some of the apparent differences between the UI and UX design:
- Focus: UI and UX designers use different prototyping which goes to form the most vital difference between UI and UX design. A UX designer is more concerned with logic as the aim is to develop a product which addresses a particular need of the customer and makes their journey smooth. Thus, in UX design the conceptual parts of the product design are addressed. An effective UX design has been summed up wonderfully by Peter Moreville, in the form of a honeycomb.
All the things mentioned in the honeycomb are focused on maximum product-optimization. The honeycomb has emerged as the base of best practices in UX. A UI designer, on the other hand, is more concerned about the front end.
- Colour Schemes: As UI is more concerned with the aesthetics and the front end interface, the UI designers design their prototypes in full range of colors in stark contrast to UX designers who only work with three colors namely: black, white and grey. It is usually seen that the UI designers spend a lot of time to make the prototype increasingly realistic.
- Scale: The difference between UI and UX design, can also be gauged from the point of scalability. UX designing is a relatively broad field which is gaining popularity with time. It is being increasingly adopted by the businesses who are into product development or services. Thus, UX is used across products, services, and interfaces. UI, on the other hand, is only focussed on the interfaces which include graphical user interfaces of various devices like computers, smartphones, etc. Even interfaces of other products like watches, washing machines, vending machines, etc. are also included.
- Design Tools: Due to the difference in roles of UI and UX designers, it is apparent that there is also a difference in the tools which they employ. UX designers make use of wireframes as it is highly efficient and saves time. There are many prototyping tools which come with unique features for the benefit of UX designers, like Mockplus, Balsamiq, Axure, etc. Tools for UI designers are different as they are primarily involved with designing visuals. They use tools like Sketch, Figma, Flinto etc.
- Basic Aims: UX is aimed at improving user experience by improvement in terms of usability, ease of use and all the interaction of the user with your business, its products, and even the services via wireframing, prototyping, testing, and refinement. All this is done after thorough competitor analysis.
Contrastingly, UI is aimed at the look and presentation of the product. It employs UI prototyping, animation, interactivity and also the adjustment of the look to every screen size. All this makes UI vital for every digital interface.
Both UI and UX are important for holistic product development as UX design is instrumental in accomplishing meaningful tasks across different platforms while UI is involved in designing highly attractive and aesthetically sound interfaces which are able to connect with users.
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