What Is User Experience and User Interface?
- UX design encompasses all and any interaction between a customer and a company. A UX designer thinks about how a person will feel when they’re using the service.
- UI design focuses on the look, feel and interactivity of the page. It focuses on ensuring that the page is as intuitive as possible, guiding users to the product or service they require.
- UX and UI design go hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other. However, there are distinct differences between the two processes.
- To understand how users experience your website, you will need to conduct a series of tests to determine how user friendly your site is.
- Invest in both UX and UI design to ensure an enjoyable, reliable and relevant user experience is granted to all and you will see customer return on that investment.
Effective marketing should, at its core, focus on creating a holistic, useful and exciting user experience. When it comes to designing and driving the success of user experience, we turn to our designers and developers to make the magic happen. The design process and development is broken down in to two core areas – user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). So, what’s the difference between UX and UI?
As a full-service digital agency, we encourage clients to invest in improving their websites user experience to see an increase in customer acquisition, retention and productivity. Our experienced team provide an analytical approach and create ROI-focused designs to boost conversions across all device. To find out more about how it works, get in touch on 0800 088 600 today.
Table of Contents
What is UX?
Simply put, UX is a human-first way of designing products. UX design encompasses all and any interaction between a customer and a company.
UX is anything that can be experienced, from online digital sites to everyday pieces of technology – a website, app or coffee machine all incorporate a user experience design process. The main aim for UX design is to create an easy, effective, relevant and enjoyable experience for the end user.
Although the look of the page is very important, UX design is not all about the visuals; it focuses on the overall feel of the experience and how to achieve this result.
A UX designer thinks about how a person will feel when they’re using the service. They will ask themselves key questions to understand the purpose behind the product design, ensuring that every step is geared towards the users’ experience. Some initial questions might be:
- How easy is it for people to navigate this site?
- What will a user gain from this page?
- How easy is the online checkout process?
- Does this app make it easier for people to access the brand?
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What is UI?
User Interface Design (UI) is primarily focused on the look, presentation and interactivity of a product.
Yes, this does sound very similar to UX design, and often the two overlap. However, unlike UX design, UI is a strictly digital term. A user interface is the point of interaction between a digital device or product and its user – for example, the touch screen on your smartphone.
For websites, UI design focuses on the look, feel and interactivity of the page. It focuses on ensuring that the page is as intuitive as possible, guiding users to the product or service they require. This means considering the visual and interactive elements on the page, such as icons and buttons, typography and imagery to create a stimulating webpage.
Both UX design and UI design are multi-faceted in their design processes and product aims to create an attractive, responsive and useful experience for all users.
What are the Main Differences between UX and UI?
UX and UI design go hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other. However, there are distinct differences between the two processes. The crucial understanding behind the different user design processes is that UX design is the overall feel of the experience, and UI design focuses on how the product interfaces looks and functions.
UX Designers will map out the users’ journey across a website or product, considering how it Is structured, organised and what kind of features would be useful. This will lead to the creation of wirefames, which set out the basic blue-print of the product.
A UI Designer will then focus on all the details which make this journey possible and bring the page to life. They will focus on the visual aspects of the page, how a user will click through to the page and all the functions the page will need to process – scrolling, clicking links, using page buttons – the UI designer makes this happen.
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How to UX Design and UI Design Work Together?
Both UX and UI design are crucial for developing a fully useable and interactive product.
You don’t want bad UI to interfere with an innovative product. For example, say you develop an app which fills a clear gap in your industry market – it’s relevant and useful and people are keen to download and use it. A UX designer will conduct user research and create the features your app should have and map out the user journey. However, if when users download they app, they struggle to access the benefits of it because the buttons are too close together and they can’t click the right one, or the colours are jarring and prevent good readability – this is a major issue.
This is where UI design adds the crucial finishing touches to your website or product, to ensure that the overall usability and value of the product is not lost. It’s a simple but crucial step in the development and design process – ultimately, you want people to enjoy the product you make and not see your heard work and business development go down the drain because the site is not user friendly.
Alternatively, you can have a stunning website with gorgeous colour schemes and imagery which is a complete nightmare to use as the technical foundations are not in place. Yes, good UI can never make up for bad UX. This would be the equivalent of picking a beautiful cake from a bakery but it tasting awful when you bite into it. Style cannot make up for poor substance.
So, the two go together, UX and UI are equally important to achieving an enjoyable and useable website which improves your overall brand.
How do UX and UI Design Processes Differ?
At a glance, here are the key elements of both the UX and UI Design Processes:
UX Design Process
Strategy and content:
- Competitor analysis
- Customer analysis and user research
- Product structure and strategy
- Content development
Wireframing and prototyping:
- Testing and iteration
- Development planning
Execution and analytics
- Coordination with UI designer(s)
- Coordination with developer(s)
- Tracking goals and Integration
- Analysis and iteration
UI Design Process
The look and feel of the product:
- Customer analysis
- Design research
- Branding and graphic development
- User guides and storylines
Responsiveness and interactivity:
- UI prototyping
- Interactivity and animation
- Adaptation to all device screen sizes
- Implementation with developer
Thankfully, as a business looking to develop their user experience, you can leave the technical processes to a dedicated user experience design team. However, it’s still useful for understanding the differences between UX and UI to see the different design strategies. Ultimately, these processes go back to the core understanding that UX is about the functionality of the website or product, whereas UI is about the interactive and stylistic elements of the website.
Test How Users Experience Your Website
To understand how users experience your website, you will need to conduct a series of tests to determine how user friendly your site is. The main aim of these tests it to understand what you think users do compared to what users actually do when they are interacting with your webpage.
Some key ways of tracking your user experience involve:
- Tracking the amount of time users spend filling out a form
- Identifying how users navigate and interact with your website
- Collating feedback from your customers
- Monitoring frequent customer questions
- Identifying how many user’s complete checkout
- Checking the loading speed of your site
- Conducting usability testing
By conducting these tests, you can identify which areas of your website need revaluating. Improving these areas will boost your website’s overall user experience and increase your customer confidence rates. Once implemented, you will hopefully see an increase in sales and conversions as potential customers will be able to easily use your website and have an enjoyable experience while doing so.
Implementing User Focused Design
Now that you’re familiar with both UX and UI design, it is important to pause and reflect on the ways in which you can implement user centred design in your business. The key take home message is, if you have a business or brand website you need to review its usability.
In our world of instant gratification, web users are extremely fickle, and will leave your website without a second thought if they are not able to use it properly. We know that you don’t want to lose potential custom, so invest in both UX and UI design to ensure an enjoyable, reliable and relevant user experience is granted to all and you will see customer return on that investment. Remember, your website is your shop window to the world – cease the opportunity!
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For more information about improving your sites user experience, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000 today.