The Difference Between UI and UX Explained

The abbreviations UI and UX are being used more and more commonly everyday by new and old designers. Due to this, they are being misused in inappropriate situations more regularly, which can be a huge issue for upcoming professionals and job seekers. The need to understand the difference between the two is vital.

Understanding UI

UI (or user interface design) is the front end of the application. Think of it as the core design of the entire application – where the buttons are placed, what each button’s appearance looks like and even down to the simpler things like the colour scheme.

The colour of the paint on your bedroom walls and where your bed is positioned in the room if you will. Its main purpose being to design the elements that the user interacts with to use the product.

However, it is not just to provide the eye candy for the application, its job is to create a platform in which the user can use the product effectively.

Understanding UX

UX on the other hand, is the wires behind the design, the purpose of UX (User Experience) is to design the user journey and overall flow of the application for the user. The most important job for UX design, is assuring the the application functions correctly.

When the UX design is correct, the application will function exactly how it was planned. UX designers have to take the user into account when designing, a common question for example being:

“Would the user want elaborate animation effects or would the user want a fast and to the point application to get the job done?”

Understanding user behaviour and user activity trends is crucial to creating the perfect product.

Whereas both fields have their similarities and differences, one would not function without the other very effectively. Think of UI as everything that the user can see, and think of UX as everything the user requires for the app to function.

UX is the bones behind the application and UI is the skin.

Helga Moreno in her article “The Gap Between UX and UI Design” makes a great statement –

“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.”

Time and effort must be divided equally between the two to be effective.

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