UX-UI-Mistaken Identity?

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Steve Jobs has really done his best to explain the vague term ‘design’ that is used more than ever in today’s corporate lingo. The term shoulders a huge range of responsibilities ranging from industrial design (automobile, furniture), print media (news papers, magazines etc.) to technology design like website, mobile apps, product design. And User Interface, User Experience belong to the same genre.

Infact, UI, UX are terms that depict specialties that have been around for years before the introduction of their abbreviated terminology.

Recently, many new companies are focusing on interface designs for better usability and engagement. This has poured in many new design roles with fancy titles like infographic designer, design evangelist and so on but the most confusing of them all are UI and UX.

Let’s attempt to distill the difference between UI-UX. And understand who does what!

If the user can’t find it, it doesn’t exist”

User experience design means how the user feels the product. It does not depend on what the user says about the product but what she does. In a broader perspective, user experience primarily deals with how easy the product is to understand and use.

User Interface refers to the aggregation of approaches and elements that allow the user to interact with a system.”

User Interface design is simpler to understand. It is a something that lets the user enjoy, navigate easily and complete the desired action. It specifically deals with how the product is laid out rather than the feel of the product as a whole!

Let’s try to understand with an example!


If the product is a restaurant, what would the UI and UX be?

User interface design would be all the raw material like furniture, crockery, labor etc. While User Experience would be the quality of food, ambience, service and the overall feel of the restaurant.

However, the digital user interface designer ensures that the UI visually communicates with the user and follows the design laid out by the UX designer. The difference between UI and UX is same as the difference between an engineer and a designer. These days, along with reputation, a concept called ‘brand’ is hyped up which demands consistency of design with respect to language, colour, fonts and appearance. It is a major responsibility of the user interface design to satisfy the branding needs of a product. Interaction design adds value to the brand and separates it from hassles that disturb it.

Besides the word ‘user’ there is very little common in both the terms. UI is a tool that helps us reach the end product, UX. Simplifying it more, UI is what a user interacts with and UX is the feeling she gets while using the product.

In a nutshell, an UI designer will create a working product and an UX designer will add emotions and experience to it!

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