or What is UI to a customer?
On the internet is an abnormous number of UI and UX definitions and guides, especially when it comes to differences between UI design and UX design. So, if the main point of design is to make things understandable, then let’s do the same with UI’s definition.
Everything will be a lot more understandable when we explain what these two letters, U and I, mean. UI is an acronym for the User Interface, so the space where communication between people and computers (or other devices) takes place.
It could be the visual part of a website or app, a computer’s desktop, a smart assistant like Siri or Alexa, but could also be as simple as the TV’s remote control. The steering wheel in a car or the cockpit in an Antonov An-124 are also user interfaces, yet in a totally different context.
UI design from the user perspective
UI design is about creating the perfect place for conversation between a human and the tool he or she needs to interact with. Just imagine that you are sitting in a bar at a broken, dirty table, cigarette smoke stinging your eyes, the music is just terrible and so loud that you have to shout to your conversation partner.
You can have a conversation in this environment, but it will be exhausting and you won’t want to spend a lot of time on it. A UI designer is like a good manager, one who takes care of all the works and makes sure that the atmosphere is conducive to conversations, so it is nice to sit down and customers keep on coming back.
UI vs UX – the differences
UI design and UX design are words that nearly always appear together. They are like brothers (but for sure not twins) so it’s hard to think about only one of them. These two brothers have different looks, characters, and also professions.
Above, we’ve explained what UI design is, so to compare these we should also give a short definition of UX design. UX (User eXperience) design is a theory that puts customers and their feelings in first place so, in practice, UX design is about all the things that have to be done to create the best experience. UX designers have a lot of tasks to do before the customer’s experience will be great, but let’s just mention few of them:
- Understand customer needs
- Find user pain points
- Analyze client activities
- Discover how they use the site, app or product
- Create a user journey map
- Design wireframes
- Test and challenge their own ideas
To continue the metaphor of our imaginary bar, we can think of the UX designer as an architect who decides on the shape of the bar. He works on the location of the walls to make the bar’s space as useful as possible, organizes the tables in such a way that every client feels comfortable (that they have enough space and aren’t too close to the speakers or the doors), and he also predicts and tries to remedy problems such as long lines to the toilet, but he doesn’t think about whether or not the tables are kept clean or if the music is just right – that is the manager’s job.
So what is the difference between UI and UX? The easiest way to explain it – a little too simplistic, but still the easiest – is that UX design is NOT about visuals and UI design is.
UX design vs UI design – a few more differences:
- UX is more about the product’s functionality; UI is about the quality of interaction between the user and a product
- The UX process include more user research and analytics tasks; in the UI design process, the designer has to create more artistic components
- UX design is about solving user problems; UI is about creating an intuitive, nice looking interface that is consistent with the brand
In the end, it’s not important what the differences are between UI and UX. The only thing that really matters is that both – user interface and user experience design – are essential to creating an excellent product. As Rahul Varshney, co-creator of Foster.fm said:
“User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto a canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”
How designers work with UX and UI to create product design?
As was written in the previous paragraph, UX and UI can’t work solo, they are meant to cooperate. Literally, because the UX professional team and UI specialist team have to work together very closely. UX design is first, then designers create the user interface design, but this process of product design shouldn’t be isolated. Both teams of specialists should work together on it – sharing ideas and experience but also call into question set designs and solutions.
In many companies, especially the smallest ones, UX designers and UI designers are the same individuals – this shows just how close the work between these two fields is and should be.
Benefits of UI design
A well designed user interface of an app or a website can bring multiple benefits to your business. How is it possible? The explanation is easy – you create and develop your product for your customers – they and their activities are the measure of success and the measure of goal achievements.
According to Forrester Research – a well designed user interface can raise the conversion rate by up to 200%! It is such because a good UI design means customers can navigate the website better, searching is made easier, and the most important things are clearly visible, etc.
A good looking and well working user interface also improves user confidence in your brand. According to Stanford research, 75% of users judge a company’s credibility based on their website’s design. The dependence between these two things is very simple – people like pretty things which make them happy, or at least don’t make them angry or confused. And when a customer sees a well designed interface where everything is consistent and works smoothly, it is easy for him or her to trust the brand and the product.
At the end of this article let’s emphasize how important it is to treat the user interface design of your product seriously. Adobe, in a “State of Content Report”, informed us about how dangerous it is for a business to have poor UI design. As we can read in this report – 38% of consumers stop engaging in content if it is unattractive in its layout or imagery!
Don’t allow your customers to stop engaging with your brand – strive to be an ideal bar manager who builds the perfect place to hold a pleasant conversation.
Read more our UX and UI-related content:
- What is UX design and what does the design process look like?
- A quick step-by-step guide to remote UX research