What is UX Design?
The term ‘UX’ or User Experience, is a broad term that can be used to describe how individuals experience a product or a service, however in this case I am referring specifically to digital User Experiences. UX design therefore is all about shaping the aspects that encapsulate the user experience. A UX designers’ role is to optimise the experience, they troubleshoot limitations with the software and make changes to ensure the product is simple in its effectiveness and the experience is simple in its application.
What is UI Design?
User Interface, or UI for short, is a way of describing the aspects of a software that a user can interact with. The touch screen on your phone, or a self-service checkout, are examples of a User Interface. Therefore, UI design encapsulates how to optimise the product from a graphic and functional point of view. UX designers must be skilled in aesthetics, knowing what is appropriate to suit the purpose and personality of the product.
What are the differences between UI/UX Design?
A UX Designer will identify the issues a user may face in using a product and create a roadmap for the user journey with a piece of software. You could consider the UX the structure of the product, and the designer’s job is to improve the structure. A UI Designer will take the work done by a UX designer and enhance its visual potential, essentially, they take the structure and give it a makeover so it’s nice to look at. A UX designer will be more analytical in their thinking and approach, a UI designer must be creative and have an artistic mind.
So, while UX is highly analytical and rooted in psychology and cognitive behaviour – about problem solving and grasping how the user ticks, UI is much more concentrated on the visuals, on whether it is aesthetically or interactively gratifying. UX focuses on the users’ journey to solve a problem while UI focuses on how a product surfaces look at function. (Lamprecht, 2021). It is important to distinguish the two as UX and UI are very different.
How do UX/UI Design work together?
While UX and UI design are different jobs, they work together as a collective process, and a piece of digital software isn’t anywhere near as effective when either the UX or UI design is lacking. For instance, designer Helaga Moreno stated in her article:
“Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI” .
To offer up an example, in designing a website, it is decided that a webchat function is needed to be added to the page, this requires a change to homepage layout. The UX designer would work out how best to fit the chat function, while the UI designer will adapt their page design to include the new layout and chat function. However, what would happen if the chat function looked great but was difficult to locate? For a truly impactful experience when using a digital product, the UX/UI design must work together seamlessly.
To understand this further, below is a quick video created by Saibah Khan, part of the Execview team, which explains the basics and the fundamentals of UX Design.