The Difference Between UI and UX Design

UI and UX are two things that cannot be separated from the design world. Moreover, the two are interconnected even though they have different ‘functions’. Then, what is the difference between the two? Check out the following article.

What is UX (User Experience) Design?

It was first created in the 90s by Don Norman, a cognitive psychologist and author of The Design of Everyday Things:

The ‘user experience’ covers all aspects of the end user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

On the one hand, the term is self-explanatory: UX considers how users think and feel about a product or service, and aims to design solutions that fit their unique needs. A product with a good UX design will create a pleasant experience for users when using your product. Users become easy and comfortable when using the product.

Meanwhile, this UX component includes how the features are provided on the product, design structure, product usage navigation, visual design aspects, and all aspects of interaction with users. UX also includes how you define branding, content, and copywriting that fits your target audience.

While there are many design methodologies, UX is user-focused, covering topics such as:

  • Usability: is it easy and efficient to use?
  • Function: can you reach your desired goal?
  • Value: does it carry enough importance, value, or usefulness?
  • Impression: is it fun to use?

In order to get answers (and solutions) to these usability questions, UX designers will often conduct user research through testing sessions and interviews to determine the best way forward.

The generic term “UX design” addresses specific touchpoints of the user experience (such as individual menu links not working) and the overall flow of interaction.

What Does a UX Designer Do?

The role of a UX designer includes everything from research and data collection to product interface mockup design.

This may mean that certain UX tasks may include:

  • User testing & research
  • Information architecture, so the most important pieces of information are seen first
  • Create flowcharts to illustrate how users move through the product
  • Designing wireframes, to ensure that all-important elements are accounted for on a particular page or screen
  • Write text for the app interface to help users understand what they can expect to achieve in any action.

What Soft Skills Does a UX Designer Need?

While many soft skills are important in good UX design, there is one important and overarching soft skill that is mandatory: empathy.

A UX designer can be described as an advocate for users. Their main goal is to create a product that fits their ideal customer, is fun to use, and supports the user’s mission (whatever that may be).

The only way to achieve this is to listen and pay attention to what users say and do, and use this information to direct your work.

In addition to empathy, the general set of soft skills for a UX designer should include:

  • Curiosity, or desire to dive deeper when understanding the user
  • Think critically, to solve usability problems efficiently and effectively
  • Growth mindset, to stay on trend and maintain a receptive mind
  • Collaboration, to work well with others who may not fully understand the user-centred design approach.

What is UI (User Interface) Design?

UI stands for User Interface. Unlike UX which can talk about both physical and digital products, UI is a term that is only used in the digital world. UI is part of UX in the form of a visual display of the design of a system. These views allow users to connect and interact with a product.

In addition to functioning as a liaison, the UI also functions to beautify the appearance so that it can increase user satisfaction.

UI design focuses on creating interfaces that are easy and pleasant to use, reducing cognitive load, and establishing consistency in the visual elements of the product. Some of the UI components include button components, typographic icons, themes, layouts, animations that appear on products, and other interactive visuals. All of these UI components are designed with a focus on beauty and ease of use. So, users can enjoy your product.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

UI design is essentially a marriage of graphic, visual, and web design skills, as well as in-depth knowledge of how humans interact with their digital devices.

Throughout the workday, UI-specific tasks can include:

  • Choose a color scheme that aligns with the brand and takes into account visibility requirements
  • Establish or update the design system to improve consistency
  • Design a complete mockup of a website and design a responsive mobile app
  • Ensures typography is easy to read and reflects the information hierarchy on the page
  • Collaborate with the UX designer and development team to ensure your mockup meets all requirements.

What Soft Skills Does a UI Designer Need?

In many environments, UI designers are intermediaries between ideas, strategies, and code-laden product development processes. This requires a strong set of communication skills.

A UI designer considers various conflicting opinions, then produces several iterations to arrive at the solution that is best suited for end-users and team capabilities.

Soft skills that are important for UI designers include:

  • Creativity, to think outside the box when designing interfaces
  • Attention to detail, to create pixel-perfect, high-fidelity mockups
  • Acceptance of feedback, to produce effective design iterations
  • An eye for design, to produce works that are both aesthetic and functional.

We briefly summarize the points that are the difference between UI and UX, including:

1. Design Goals

The basic thing about the difference between UI and UX is the purpose of the design. The focus of creating UI and UX designs is very different. UI design on a product aims to beautify the appearance of the product. While the UX design is designed to provide a pleasant experience when using the product.

The focus of UI design is the beauty of the appearance, while the focus of UX design is the satisfaction of using the product.

2. Design Process

Because it focuses on user experience, the UX design process is based on user research so as to produce products that are liked and needed by target users. The process also goes through many stages and requires the role of many parties, one of which is a UX researcher. After doing research, the designer designs a design sketch with a wireframe and prototype.

Meanwhile, UI design also requires research. However, the research carried out is design research to create an attractive design in accordance with the concept. Here, UI designers also need to design a design model by making a mockup first.

3. Design Components

The components that make up the UI Design focus on the beauty of the production look. These UI components include colors, animated images and videos, typography, buttons, and other visual interactions.

Meanwhile, the UX design component covers almost all components of a product such as features, design structure, and navigation. This includes interface display, copywriting, to branding, so team collaboration is needed to produce good product designs.

4. Tools Used

Different manufacturing processes require different tools. For UI designers, the beauty of images is very important. So they need an application that supports the creation of a detailed interface design.

There are many UI design apps available like Flinto, Principle, Frames X, Adobe Illustrator, etc. The application is equipped with several tools to support UI designers such as tools to add unique interaction icons, easy transitions, UI assets, kits, etc.

Meanwhile, UX designers need more design prototyping applications to easily get feedback from users. Some design prototyping applications that support UX designers are Sketch, InVision, Figma, Adobe XD, Axure, etc.

How Are UI and UX Different?

Then how about a simple understanding of the difference between the two?

Have you ever visited a truly beautiful website, full of striking illustrations and the perfect balance of typography? All of those first impressions—colors, images, and buttons—are UI.

Now, let’s say you shop for gift cards on this amazing website. It’s time to check out and you ship your order. The dial turns, and your cart disappears without a trace. There is no confirmation message, nothing to indicate that the order was placed successfully. You try two more times to complete your order before giving up… only to find three separate receipts waiting for you in your inbox. That’s bad UX.

From the explanation above, we can conclude that UI is part of UX. Both are important elements that need each other in the development of a website or application. both should have a good design so that your product is liked by the users as a whole. That way the benefits of the product can also be felt by users.

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