UX vs UI

UI and UX are two interdependent terms. UI stands for user interface while UX stands for user experience. The former deals with the interaction between computer systems and users. The latter is about a user’s overall experience with a business, brand or product.

The two terms are often confused with each other. That’s why you will see many blog posts about UX vs UI. It is important to clarify the difference between the two. The UI or user interface has to do more with the tools, features, and characteristics of a device, such as its buttons, its screen, its scrolling abilities, and its sound. A user experience or UX with the device would be more general, from the beginning of the user’s interaction with the device or platform until the end.

UX and UI are indeed closely connected. The user interface of a website, device, app, or platform is a major component of the user experience with it. UI is that part of a tool that the user interacts with the most, and thus it has a great impact on the UX.

To understand this clearly, we can use the metaphor of restaurants to put UX vs UI. If the device or application is a restaurant, its UI would be the plates, napkins, pots, glasses, and silverware, while the UX would be the lighting, seating, customer service, music, and other things that facilitate your dining experience at the restaurant.

top dishes served at a restaurant table on a website built on Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Suppose you plan to pursue a career or business in web design, web development, app development, software management, or any other similar field. In that case, you need to be clear about the meanings and differences between UX and UI. Each of these terms represents and requires a different skill set.

In this post, we will define what these terms mean, how they are connected, and how they are different. In other words, this post is to elaborate on UX vs UI.

What is UX?

When someone interacts with a product, application, website, platform, or device, their overall experience is defined as UX. Businesses that design their products with user experience in mind often win over those that do not give it much importance. This is because the UX of a product strongly impacts the emotional experience and impression on the customer. Although it is determined by the practical usage of the product, the emotional factor also almost always kicks in.

To develop a product that provides a good user experience, businesses need to be aware of their target customers’ emotional tendencies, goals, struggles, and preferences. That’s why it is always recommended that a business do thorough market research before coming up with the beta or trial version of a new product. If the business makes technical products, then the research needs to be even more detailed.

The term UX is most commonly used in the digital space, where it refers to the user-friendliness and ease of use of the product at hand. Users are always looking for an end goal to achieve when they use a technical or digital product. If they can achieve it easily, they will have a positive user experience. If they face hurdles, errors, delays, confusion or frustration during the process, the product will be said to have bad UX.

a website promoting an app

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Let’s say there is an ecommerce website. Is it easy to navigate? Are the site visitors easily able to search and find the items they are looking for? Is the product description on the items clear enough? Is the buying process too long and redundant? These factors would determine whether or not a customer has a good user experience with the eCommerce site.

simple store section of a Strikingly website

Image taken from Strikingly

To understand UX vs UI, let’s take an in-depth look into UI as well.

What is UI?

UI is a more technical term than UX. It’s goal is to optimize the interaction between humans and computer systems. Businesses rely on their anticipation of the needs of their target customers to develop a good user interface. They struggle to develop specific inputs in their product, so that the user can achieve what they want to do with the product.

UI involves all elements of the designing interfaces of a product or application, which include the interaction design, the information architecture, and the visual design. The designer is responsible for making the visual elements, icons, buttons, color palettes, and architecture as simple to understand and use as possible. The goal is to make user interaction with the product as intuitive as they can.

visual elements on a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

When we talk about UX vs UI, technically, UI is a component of UX. All the design elements involved in developing the user interface contribute to any user’s overall experience with the product. Businesses that follow UI best practices keep things simple, updated, and consistent.

Similarities of UX and UI

When we compare UX vs UI, both are actually about developing systems that keep users in mind. One focuses on how a user feels when they interact with the system, while the other focuses on how they interact with the system to begin with.

One major connection between the two is that there is an overlap between UX and UI in the sense that UI is part of UX. Another connection is that a UX designer usually uncovers insights that a UI designer uses to build the interface.

But UX is much broader than UI, and has more to do with creating a brand image. A positive UX can allow a product to outsmart the competition and monopolize the brand. An example of this would be Amazon Prime. The ease of super fast delivery within a day or two has made the user experience of shopping with Amazon highly attractive.

Let’s analyze UX vs UI for Amazon Prime. The UI in this case is the Amazon website layout and design, its search feature, and clarity of product description on its product pages. The UI designers could be said to be responsible for making the call-to-action buttons more prominent to, for instance, encourage users to make a one-click checkout. The UX designers could research whether or not customers are able to easily find the items that they want to buy. UX will also include whether or not the items are delivered on time.

visual elements on a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

As you see, UX vs UI is interrelated processes. They are not exactly the same but have overlapping definitions or roles.

Difference Between UX and UI

Here are a few differences in UX vs UI.

  1. UI deals explicitly with features of digital devices and users’ ability to interact with them. User experience deals with interaction with a business, brand, product or service in a broader sense.
  2. UI is more about how a product or app looks, while UX is about how it makes you feel. For example, a website may look awesome but difficult to navigate. That means the website has a great UI but poor UX. Hence the UX vs UI wouldn’t go hand in hand in this case.
  3. UX designers need to possess different skills than those required by UI designers. Their work is at various stages of a project or product development. UX usually comes first because UX designers have to conduct research on user preferences and goals. They map out the entire user journey and figure out ways to improve it. They use wireframes to demonstrate the user journey that they identify. Then the role of a UI designer comes in, where they take the UX recommendations into consideration and develop the product or website accordingly.
  4. Another UX vs UI difference is that UI designers create a user interface and UX designers test it.

If you are not in the web design, app development, or related field, it is not your job to learn more about UX vs UI. The information given in this post would suffice for you to continue with your respective professions. Nowadays, the fields of UX and UI designers have become further specialized. For example, UI designers, instead of developing web designs for each individual website, create website templates that serve as ready-to-use web designs for numerous websites.

This eases the method of building a website for users, as they can use these templates to create a website on their own. By creating a website on a website building platform, they can avoid having to hire a web developer, and still get a professional, attractive and responsive website to promote their business.

Strikingly provides you with fantastic web features and an excellent user interface to build your website on your own. We have website templates available for different types of sites, such as a simple site to showcase your services, an online store, a portfolio website, a blog, and other categories.

If you are running a business and just want a website to market it without getting into the nitty-gritty of UX vs UI or coding skills, check out our tools at Strikingly that we are sure would fully serve your purpose.