Understanding the Difference between UX and UI Can Help You Make the Most of Attracting + Retaining Users

May 30th, 2017
Understanding the Difference between UX and UI Can Help You Make the Most of Attracting + Retaining Users

If you’ve worked in any field related to web or app design in the past few years, chances are you’ve heard the term UX (User Experience Design) and UI (User Interface Design) being flung around with monotonous regularity. Truth is, they are very important for this industry. They’ve marked a considerable shift in the way people interact with services online. But they are not new concepts.

What exactly are UX and UI and what do they do?

Well, in the words of Julie Andrews, “Let’s start at the beginning…”

When the first personal computer graphical user interface was designed by Xerox in the early 80s, the computing industry changed. When online businesses made the shift from static websites to interactive apps, the internet industry changed. The proliferation of online sales in the past decade has created the need for businesses to rethink the way they conduct themselves online. This is where the role of UX and UI designers has become so imperative.

Decoding the UX from the UI

UX or User Experience Design is concerned with a person’s overall experience with a site or app.

What does the user want? What’s solution is your product/ service/ interface going to offer and how do we know for sure that we will be successful in delivering value to them? That comes down to a complicated multi-layered process that delves into every step of the user’s experience. Take, for instance, the steps needed to complete a form on your app. It will require researching, understanding, testing and developing a solution that enables the user to access, complete and successfully send the form. The result? If the product/ service/ interface does what it says it will and is it easy to use, then it will attract those in need of it.

How that interface looks and how pleasing it is to use is a subset of the UX. It's what’s referred to as UI or User Interface Design. Basically, it’s concerned with the interface alone – what the user actually sees. It’s the cleverly constructed hook – those amazing details that engage the user, and keeps them logged on. The combination of visual design, branding, and interactivity that enhance the user’s experience.

So UX includes UI.

UX is everything the user experiences; and UI is an element of UX, albeit a very important one. Today, the terms have become so prolific that they are very often confused. Both disciplines are increasingly important to our service oriented online world. Experts at Disrupt Studio explain the need for a ‘user-centric approach because effective strategies aren’t created by flipping a coin or taking a wild guess, they’re created by compiling research, data and user insight. These capabilities assure their tech startup clients get the ultimate experience for their users based on their goals, motivations, and desires. Not to mention it’ll be pretty darn attractive too’.

So before thinking you map out your next best product, keep in mind the benefits of UX and UI. Do you really want a product that delivers value but is harsh to look at? Do you want a pretty application that falls short of delivering its intended use? Probably not, so take note. The upshot is that successful interactive systems not only capture the attention of users but encourage them to stay engaged with your application, demonstrating usefulness and appeal.