User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) have different implications and different approaches. Yet, these terms are often used interchangeably and incorrectly.
At the most basic level, UI is about how things look while UX is about how things work.
While UX design has more to do with the process, UI design focuses more on the deliverables.
If you’ve ever been confused between the two terms, then let us help you. In this post, we’ll dig deeper into UI and UX design to get a better understanding of the differences between them. We’ll cover the top seven differences between UI and UX design in this article.
But first, let’s talk about the importance of UI and UX.
Why is UI and UX important?
User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) design play an important role in improving customer experience, leading to increased growth of any business. The UI/UX design of your application or website can improve customer satisfaction and ultimately increase the number of users. It’s all about grabbing the attention of users in a short span of time.
Some key benefits of UI/UX design include –
- It can improve customer satisfaction and, hence, improve ROI
- It helps build your brand value
- It saves time and money
- It can lead to faster sales conversions
- It builds customer loyalty
As per Forbes, an investment of $1 on user experience design can bring $100 in return, ultimately giving an amazing ROI of 9900%. Moreover, research has shown that the majority of customers are willing to pay more for better UI/UX.
Top Differences between UI and UX Design
Let’s now get to understand the difference between UI and UX design.
Difference in prototyping approach
UI and UX designers have a different focus when it comes to prototyping. While UI designers put their focus on creating high-fidelity prototypes, a UX designer cares more about the logic when creating a prototype. Fidelity is an afterthought for UX designers.
The prototype created by a user experience designer will be based on critical thinking and creative thinking. The prototype created by a UI designer will be based on creative thinking and convergent thinking.
Simply put, UI designers pay more attention to the interface while UX designers pay more attention to the back end.
Difference in research methodology
For a UI designer, it is important to make sure the visual language fits well with the application they are creating. The focus is on predicting user expectations. For example, if a UI designer is working on a news app, then it is important for them to research how other news apps have been developed in the past. They try to figure out what lessons can be learned from those and how the current app can be designed better. The designers can choose the aesthetics they want but they usually follow the rules to conform to some basic user expectations without taking too big risks while creating a design. Although UI designers make their interface stand out, they take up a balanced approach to make sure the end-users recognize the purpose of the elements placed on the screen.
For a UX designer, the research process is especially focused on user experience. The aim is to avoid designing an interface that feels different from a commonly accepted convention. If they decide to do something different, they need to have a very good reason for it. The research process of a UX designer includes competitive analysis, persona development, and creating a prototype or minimum valuable product.
Difference in tools used
The tools used by UI and UX designers are quite different. For a UI designer, the most important aspect is to design images. That is why they work with tools like Sketch, Flinto, Principle, or InVision.
UX designers, on the other hand, put more focus on wireframes than images because wireframes can be more efficient in showing functionality. That is why UX designers use wireframe tools like Balsamiq, Axure, Figma, or Proto, etc.
Difference in end products
The end goals for UI and UX design are widely different. While user experience design aims to achieve useful interfaces, UI focuses on making those interfaces aesthetically pleasing.
A UX designer tries to create a useful product that meets the needs that are not already met in the market. A UX designer creates a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a prototype. Once the prototype is tested and finalized, the UI designer works on making it aesthetically beautiful.
Difference in roles
The roles of UI and UX designers differ in the following ways –
Role of UI designers:
- Take care of the visual designs
- Take care of branding and graphic design
- Translate the brand into visuals
- Get involved in UI prototyping
- Create interactive features and animations
- Create responsive screens
Role of UX designers:
- Do user research to create an ideal customer experience
- Perform competitor analysis
- Create wireframing and prototyping
- Get involved in testing, iteration, and development plans
- Coordinate with UI designers and software developers
- Track goals and analyze product performance
Difference in employability
UX is employed across products, interfaces, and services. Whereas UI is only employed across interfaces.
UX is comparatively a broader area while UI design is specifically for user interfaces. Simply put, all UI is UX, but not all UX is UI.
Difference in sequence
In most cases, UX design is preceded by UI design. Usually, UX design and research become the first step while building a product.
UX designers are involved in conducting much of the initial research that validates initial product ideas. Only after a prototype is finalized, the UI designer steps in and works on the visual design.
Although UI and UX are markedly different from each other, they remain inseparable for creating a valuable product. UI and UX complement each other very well and usually go hand-in-hand to create products that enable customer satisfaction.