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UX AND UI

UX AND UI DESIGN: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE

When it comes to creating products, one of the main points to consider is how users will interact with them. UX and UI, or User Experience and User Interface, are the two main drivers of success in this area. Whether you’re creating something tangible or digital, these considerations are an essential part of the development process. To make matters easy, we’ve written this short guide to UX and UI and why they’re essential. 

Let’s dive straight into it!

What is UX design?

Picture a product you use in everyday life – your fridge for example. This item serves certain functionalities that you expect of it – it stores food in a certain temperature to preserve it. However, the simple function of an object is not the only thing that defines your interaction with it. Upon further examination, you see that this product is designed for the exact interactions you will have with it. You store bottles on the inside of the door, have shelves with different heights, and drawers for loose items. Even your eggs have little slots to sit neatly in. In order for us to have these easy-to-use objects, someone needs to sit down and plan each and every aspect of them.

UX AND UI

Picture a product you use in everyday life – your fridge for example. This item serves certain functionalities that you expect of it – it stores food in a certain temperature to preserve it. However, the simple function of an object is not the only thing that defines your interaction with it. Upon further examination, you see that this product is designed for the exact interactions you will have with it. You store bottles on the inside of the door, have shelves with different heights, and drawers for loose items. Even your eggs have little slots to sit neatly in. In order for us to have these easy-to-use objects, someone needs to sit down and plan each and every aspect of them.

UX is our way of interacting with our surroundings

Simply put, this is what UX entails – the interaction and experience we have with the products around us. Let’s leave the fridge example for a bit and think of the digital world. Have you noticed how apps have the buttons you most often use on the lower right-hand side of the screen? That’s because it’s the easiest place on the screen to access! Your right-hand thumb can easily tap the screen with barely any effort. The role of UX design is to create products optimised for easy interaction while incorporating all essential components.

What’s more is, UX determines our journeys through the digital products we use. Starting with a clear goal, a UX designer will map the process we take through an app or a website from start to finish. Above all, this process ensures users are not confused and can achieve a goal with no obstacles in their way.

How does UX design work?

There are multiple steps to the user experience design process. To begin with, a UX designer would use and conduct extensive research into the target audience and its habits. Following this, they would create a detailed strategy based on the product itself, the research they conducted, and behavioural insights they have gathered about the target user. Finally, the UX designer would create a prototype or wireframe of the product to illustrate their idea and serve as a basis for the next step in the process – UI design.

UX AND UI

Wait, so what is UI design?

As opposed to User Experience design, UI or User Interface design focuses on the specific outputs of a product that users directly interact with. Most commonly, we use UX and UI to describe digital products and services rather than objects. However, putting them into a tangible perspective we’re all familiar with can help us understand them better.

Let’s take the fridge example we used to explain UX design. Once its structure has been determined and prototyped, its design needs to be created as well. To understand this better, picture the colour, the shapes and edges of the components, the symbols that mark its functions. Ultimately, UI allows you to efficiently use the features that were developed in the UX process.

UX AND UI

Why do we need UI design?

Coming back to the digital world, UI design is an essential part of how you interact with an app or a website. When computers were first developed, the user interface consisted of lines of code called a Command Line Interface. In order to operate technology, users had to type the commands in manually. This slowed down the experience and complicated it. It wasn’t until the 80s that the first GUI (Graphical User Interface) was introduced and reached the common user. Our point-and-click method of interacting with technology exists thanks to the user interface that facilitates our actions. Moreover, UI design is not limited by visual interaction. AI solutions such as Amazon’s Alexa use a voice-based interface to offer interactivity in an easy to operate and understand manner.

In brief, we need UI design to be able to use the tools and products available to us. When it comes to app development, for example, the UI design can make or break the success of a product. If it’s difficult to understand, see, and use features within the app, or if the design is outdated and unpleasant, users may abandon it in search of a better option. In today’s competitive market, there’s always another app to download if one doesn’t work and look as desired.

What is the purpose of UX and UI design?

Hopefully by now have a better understanding of these types of design and you see how different UX and UI design are. Although their names seem similar and they are often referred to together, they serve different purposes in the development stages. Above all, they ensure products can be interacted with and easily understood by users. Moreover, when the right amount of time and resources are dedicated to them, UX and UI design can give products the competitive edge they need to succeed.

Talk to us about UX and UI design!

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