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UX and UI: Connected, But Completely Different

March 5, 2019 |
Brand & Identity, Design, UX, Web Design
UX and UI

User Experience, or more commonly known as UX is not a new term for the world of graphics and designing. It has been around for as long as the modern day revamping of the design techniques, ideas, tools and philosophy has evolved; so is the case with User interface or UI. They both do compliment each other and often go hand-in-hand, however, a lot of us think that they are the same thing, which is not true. User interface is, let’s say, a part of user experience. Not clear yet? Let’s clear the smoke and try to understand what are the basic differences between UX and UI designs. Let’s go!

User Experience

It refers to a person’s interactions with a product, application, website, or operating system. Which means, creating a UX design involves defining the way a product operates and how it meets a user’s needs. Some of the obvious benchmarks are that a UX should be clear, comfortable and user-friendly. Moreover, a great UX is cautious and elaborate; you will most probably won’t even notice it while browsing through a website.

A good UX aims at simplifying the user journey. It makes the website navigation simple; simple enough that even a layman finds it a walk in the park. If a user finds it difficult to perform some of the most basic functions on a website, like to sign up, change their password, or get to their shopping cart, then there’s a clear problem with the UX. An effective UX smoothly guides a user through a website or an application.

A UX designer is responsible for all aspects of a user’s interaction, which means a UX designer is not just responsible for the technology behind a product, but they’re responsible for how a user interacts with a company, both online and offline, including customer service and other aspects.

User Interface

While User Experience is the accumulation of tasks specifically focused on the optimization of a product for enjoyable and effective use, User Interface Design is its complement; the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. User interface (UI) is anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. This includes everything from screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights.

A UI designer’s responsibilities are more cosmetic than a UX designer’s. A UI designer is mostly responsible for the presentation of a product. That said, it’s not that a UI designer randomly picks some pictures and logos and use them blindly.

A UI Designer takes care of the Interface design, prototyping design, interaction design, user testing and optimal design. Towards the end of development, a UI designer takes control over the app’s appearance, including on-screen forms, images, buttons, links and icons. Without a user interface designer’s intervention, a design would not appear beautiful and appealing.

Key Differences

UX enhances the usability, UI enriches the visual appeal

The core objective of UX design is to make the product more useful for users. UX designers are responsible for ensuring that the company delivers a product or service that meets the needs of the customer and allows them to seamlessly achieve their desired outcome. On the other hand, UI designers are more inclined towards creating a visually appealing and aesthetically pleasing website design for users. Additionally, UI design must help users navigate through the website by designing buttons in different sizes, to show priority. UI designers take care of minute visual details to make the site look attractive.

UX Design is first, followed by UI

Normally, UX design and research is the first thing that designers dive into when deciding whether to build a product or application. They start with a competitive analysis and market research to come up with insights which improve site functionality. UI design comes much later; once the prototype has gone through several iterations and is almost finalized, all the wireframes are in place, then the UI designer steps in. Here is where the creative spirit of designers is put to test. They work on the visual design and micro-interactions.

UX pertains to products, services and interfaces, but UI only pertains to interfaces


The scope of UX is much broader than UI. UX design is garnering a lot of attention and is becoming more popular day-by-day. It’s no longer restricted to the companies with a web presence, but many others that develop products or provide services are identifying the importance of researching the market, users and validating them before they build. The scope of UI is however restricted only to user interfaces. That said, it doesn’t mean that UI is limited to graphical user interfaces of computers, tablets and mobile devices. A lot of other products also need a touch of UI designing these days, like watches, washing machines, car dashboards, vending machines etc.

UX has a social component, UI has an artistic component

UX is more about people; it has a social component as it deals with market research, analysis, identifying a customer’s pain points and how the product will solve these problems. User personas, journey maps and product user scenarios are accounted through UX research like contextual interviews, focus groups and prototyping, involving people. UI design has an artistic component as it relates to the design and interfaces with the product. It is about the aesthetic value and visuals. It affects what the end-user sees, hears, and feels.

Concluding notes

It is evident that UX and UI are completely two different things and focus on different aspects. But, they both complement each other and go hand-in-hand. It is almost impossible to bail out UI from UX and UX from UI. In a nutshell, UX design helps users accomplish meaningful tasks across platforms and services, while UI design makes compelling and aesthetically pleasing interfaces that connect with humans.

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