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UX and UI are terms that many people use interchangeably. There is a lot of confusion around the real differences between the two. Yet, one is about the experience - the other is about the means to get the experience.
We asked a professional web design company to tell us which is more important between UX vs. UI designs. Here is what we were able to take away from the conversation.
There have been many analogies to explain the difference between UX and UI designs.
• Think about a UX designer, much like you would an architect. He is all about blueprints and wireframes.
• In a typical restaurant setting, you'll find plates, furniture, glasses, and utensils. All these components refer to the UI. Anything that improves the experience, including music, lights, good food, and service, is the UX.
• On a typical website, anything that helps you navigate the site comfortably refers to the UI. The excellent experience, easy and quick navigation refers to the UX.
• If you like horses, the feeling you get when riding one is the UX. The stirrups, saddle, and reins are the UI.
We could go on and on in trying to explain the difference between the two. However, what stands out is one is about functionality. The other is the feeling you get from using a product or service.
UX or user experience is a term that is attributable to Donald Norman. While working for Apple in the early 90s, he adopted the use of the word User Experience Architect. Initially, his title was User Interface Architect. UX does not focus too much on how. Rather, it is about evoking a particular feeling or reaction from users.
A pleasant dinner at a restaurant with the right ambiance evokes feelings of happiness and satisfaction. When you go to a website, and the pages are fast loading, and the navigation is easy, it results in a pleasant user experience. If the reverse happens, you will experience frustration. It is unlikely that you will stay on that page very long. You could describe the user experience as unpleasant.
UI or User Interface refers to everything that goes towards establishing a good UX. It is about the visual aspects, pages, and screens. When you use your mobile phone to browse the internet, you use a lot of UI elements.
The ability to scroll, click on buttons or links is all because of the UI. Even the color, typography, and layout are because of the UI design.
To understand the interplay between the two, we will use the example of product creation.
The role of the UX team would be:
The role of the UI team would be:
You may have noticed that a pattern is starting to emerge. Both UX and UI work very closely together. They depend on each other to deliver the Ultimate experience to the end-user.
The significant difference, perhaps, would be that the UI design team focuses on the digital space. UX is everywhere, from an in-store brick-and-mortar experience to the online space.
Let's go back to the analogy of the restaurant. You have the right ambiance, music, good food, and excellent service. You, however, have no plates, chairs, or tables. How would that work? What if you have invested in the best furniture, but the food and service are lousy. Would you honestly expect to make a killing in the restaurant business?
We may be simplifying things a little bit by using this example. But perhaps the simplicity provides the perfect way to understand the close relationship between UX and UI.
Take a situation where the UX team does not conduct market research to understand market needs. The UI team will develop products that do not provide a solution to any existing issues. It may have the best design but will give no value to anyone.
Assigning greater importance to either one of them would be difficult. However, if you look at it from the end-user perspective, the UX may be more important than UI. Think about it this way. The end-user is not even slightly concerned about what goes on in the background. For them, it is all about the final experience.
Even with a weak UI design, you could still give your customers an excellent UX. It may require you to get a bit creative. You could, for example, have a standby team. They will help solve issues if the website is having issues. The take out for the customer may still be satisfied because you managed to fulfill their needs.
UX is not bound to the digital space. It is about delighting customers at a point of their need. You can use whatever method to allow them to engage with the products or services.
However, the argument above does not diminish the importance of UI in any way. It has a large role to play in keeping customers happy. If we go back to the analogy of the horse, it is possible to ride bareback. Depending on your skill and coordination, you could still enjoy the experience. But how comfortable will it be for you if you have to stay on for a long time?
Until next time, Be creative! - Pix'sTory made by Daniel M