The Difference Between UX and UI Design

UX and UI design? We know it can seem confusing or even intimidating for those entering the world of digital product design to gander at all these abbreviations and tech jargon while scratching their heads.

But don’t let any of it get to you; it’s all quite straightforward. Even though UX and UI are often seen as the same thing or closely related, there is a difference, and we’re here to walk you through it. By the end, we promise you’ll be like the rest of the extraordinary ‘techies,’ casually dropping UX and UI into the conversation at work to impress your colleagues.

What is UX design?

So let’s separate the two and talk about them individually first. UX design or ‘user experience design is the design process to create products that offer a smooth and comfortable experience for the user. It involves all parts of the user’s interaction with a product and its services.

So, to be clear, UX design encompasses all interactions with the user and the product in digital and physical forms. For example, how you drive a car or use a vending machine requires UX design. In the digital world, UX design would be how you use an app, a website, and so on.

What is UI design?

UI design or ‘user interface design relates more to the look and appearance of things. This includes the buttons users click on, the images, slides, and text they read. In addition, it also provides screen layout, transitions, etc. Think of UI design as how a car looks and how you look driving, whereas UX design is how the vehicle functions.

They both compliment each other and are necessary for a successful product. While highly important for digital products, UX and UI design are equally as crucial for physical products.

So just what exactly is the difference?

Phew, ok, so we defined each of them, and now we have a better idea of what this is all about. Now let’s clearly explain the differences. If my car analogy wasn’t enough for you, I got another one that might help. Imagine any animal’s body — the internal organs, bones, and all internal structure — that’s UX design. Now the outside of the animal — how it looks, its eyes, fur, and appearance to others — that’s UI design.

So although they have different roles, they work together towards the same goal and are closely interlocked. This closeness causes the general confusion and misinterpretation of the two terms. So just remember UX is the feel of a product, whereas UI is the interface’s appearance and function.

Which path is better?

Now for the big question, should you strive to be a UI designer, a UX designer, or both? Well, having knowledge and experience in both don’t hurt, especially if you are looking for more job opportunities.

But in reality, you don’t need to know them both. It just depends on what your personal preferences are. If you are a ‘one-man show’ and plan on creating and designing a product from scratch, then knowledge of UI and UX would be required, but if you’d instead work for a company or team, then you’d be able to just focus on one category.

Lastly, just keep in mind that if you lean towards being artistic and creative, maybe pursuing a career in UI design is more for you. But if you’re more analytical, perhaps UX is your thing.

Final Thoughts

Both are exciting and dynamic positions that offer many opportunities to be innovative and will surely keep you on your toes. There’s something for everyone in this new digital world that’s constantly expanding, so access the vast pools of information and tutorials online to start your career in UX and UI design!