UX vs UI Design; Website Breakdow

UI or UX? What’s best for my business? Why is UI design so important? What does UX even mean? If you can relate to any of those questions above; then this blog is just about right for you! As soon as you are done reading this whole blog, you will be able to analyze and properly understand what UX and UI exactly is. You also be able to identify if you really need UI more than UX or vice-versa…

UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different; referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. UX Design is a more analytical and technical field; whereas UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design. Though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

User experience design is a human-first way of designing products; or (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction; customer loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use.

Clear, right? Well you might note immediately that despite what I implied in the introduction; the definition has no reference to tech, no mention of digital, and vague at best. But like all professions, it’s impossible to distill the process from just a few words.

Some confusion in the definition of the term itself is due to its youth. UX Design encompasses any and all interactions between a potential or active customer and a company. As a scientific process it could be applied to anything, street lamps, cars, Ikea shelving and so on.

However! Despite being a scientific term, its use since inception has been almost entirely within digital fields; one arguable reason for this being that the industry started blowing up around the time of the term’s invention. Another arguable reason being that it was just a fancy way of rewarding a practice; that has already existed for hundreds of years known as “Market Research”.

But don’t get confused, User Experience Design is not a market research job.

Though it does utilize many of the same techniques to achieve a complex end goal. The structure, analysis and optimization of a customer’s experience with a company and its products.

If you’ve never seen User Experience work in practice, never even used the term at work; it’s still difficult to imagine what User Experience Designers actually do. Here is a cliff notes example of a UX Designer’s responsibilities. It is targeted at development of digital products, but the theory and process can be applied to anything:

Strategy and Content:

  • Competitor Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Product Structure/Strategy
  • Content Development

Wireframing and Prototyping:

  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing/Iteration
  • Development Planning

Execution and Analytics

  • Coordination with UI Designer(s)
  • Coordination with Developer(s)
  • Tracking Goals and Integration
  • Analysis and Iteration

So part marketer, part designer, part project manager; the UX role is complex, challenging and multi-faced. You see that iteration of the product, as connected to analysis or testing is indeed mentioned twice. But in reality you would put it in between every other item on the list. Ultimately the aim is to connect business goals to user’s needs; through a process of testing and refinement to that which satisfies both sides of the relationship.

So In Conclusion:

    • User Experience Design is the process of development and improvement of quality interaction.
    • User Experience Design is responsible for being hands on with the process of research; testing, development, content, and prototyping to test for quality results.
    • User Experience Design is in theory a non-digital (cognitive science) practice; but used and defined predominantly by digital industries.

The lesson to be learned here, is that if you’re interested in sociology, in cognitive science; in people and in great products, User Experience is a good place to be; but if you understand those principles and are more visually inclined, you might look at its brother-in-arms: User Interface Design.