Consumerism has taken a digital shape in today's world. People want to sell products and services, most of which are done digitally. Hence, there's a stronger need for digital experiences that are faster, more responsive, and hassle-free. UI/UX is a part of this requirement. It's a technical skill to push beyond conventional boundaries to understand what the user wants and how one can give them exactly what they are asking for.
A lot of people use UI/UX as interchangeable terms. This blog profoundly delves into the basics of UI/UX, what they mean, the differences and intersectional similarities between the two, and the responsibilities of UI/UX designers. After reading this blog, you will understand the following:
-What UI/UX are
-How they differ
-How they can work together to give the best business results.
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What are UI and UX?
To understand the philosophy behind a concept, you must first understand the basic definition. The same goes for terms like UI and UX. Let's begin with the definitions to understand what is UI/UX used for.
User Interface or UI
UI stands for user interface. It refers to how a product looks rather than how it functions. It is the best manifestation of a virtual product, like a website or an app. UI mainly focuses on the aesthetic appeal of the product. It focuses on the design, layout, colour theme, icons, buttons, fonts, brandings, banners, etc.
User Experience or UX
UX stands for user experience. It mainly refers to the user's experience with the product or service. It includes customer interactions regarding the company or products. The focus of UX is on how the customer likes using the product. Overall, it includes design AND function.
The goal of UX is to analyse the customer's needs and to refine the product accordingly. It aims at providing the highest customer satisfaction possible.
Let's understand now how UI and UX transform into concepts like "UI/UX design.
What is UI and UX Design?
While UI/UX are the concepts used, UI/UX design is the action that uses these concepts.
Let's understand one by one what they mean.
UI design is also called 'interface design'. The process defines the design of an aesthetic product. In other words, UI design is the skill of creating elements that appeal to the targeted audience the most. The best UI designs are known to develop exceptionally excellent displays that instantly catch attention.
Responsibilities of a UI designer
-Analyse the look and feel of the product
-Analyse target audience
-Research design and various design concepts
-Graphic element design
-Provide user guides
-Build product storylines
-Implement animation and interactivity
UX design is related to how customers feel when they interact with a product or service. In many ways, UX design goes beyond products available only virtually. The same concept applies to physical products. The skill requires a thorough understanding of what the customer would want and how to implement the perception in the best ways possible.
UX design mainly focuses on these aspects:
-How to make the product more accessible?
-How to make the product more credible?
-Is the product useful to the audience?
-Is the product successful in fulfilling customer requirements?
-How is the product performing as compared to competitor products?
-Is the product easy to use?
-Is the product providing customer satisfaction?
These are some of the major aspects UX design looks into.
Responsibilities of a UX designer
-User target research and analysis
-Product structure strategy
-Testing and iterations
-Prototyping and product development
5 Important Elements of User Interfaces
Notice how the latest digital trends work. Based on these trends, UI design moulds specific characteristics. Currently, these are the 5 main elements every UI designer should keep in mind:
#1. Navigation familiarity
For every website or app, it's best to keep things familiar. Even if your product concept is new, keep things recognisable based on trends. For instance:
Where to place certain icons
Where to add social media icons or links to handles
Where to place a drop-down menu
In doing so, the user will automatically understand how to navigate to understand the product.
#2. Minimised effort
A good UI designer knows the user is lazy and would want to put the least effort into navigating. Hence, it is essential to provide the user with the information or product/service they want with the least effort.
Not having a product display theme can create chaos. This isn't a good-in-a-magical sort of chaos we are talking about. This is chaos in an unpleasant way. Your colours don't match, the elements used are random, and everything from terminologies and menus to page layouts is a big mess.
#4. Clear expression
The UI design must communicate with the user with clarity. The function of a UI design is to provide transparent information about what the product/service does. The website should not be difficult to understand. It should have clear language, flow, visual elements, and hierarchy.
#5. Space for mistakes
One of UI design's most innovative elements is making the user feel that it's okay to make mistakes. A good interface allows the user to work smoothly. An excellent interface allows the user to work smoothly AND undo mistakes. For instance, returning to the previous page to change details or provide alternatives if their search shows zero results.
These are the elements of UI design. Now let's understand the same about UX design.
5 Important Elements of User Experience
Unlike UI design that follows the trends, UX design elements are based on trends and 'permanent' user requirements. Let's check out these elements one by one.
Ask yourself questions like:
-Is the product usable for the audience?
-How would they use it?
Ask yourself questions like:
-To whom is the product accessible?
-Is it specific to a region?
-How much would the customer spend on it?
Ask yourself questions like:
-Why should the customer trust you?
-What's your most trustworthy selling point?
-How can you make the user trust your product?
-Ask yourself questions like:
-Would it be of value to the customer?
-Does it serve a short-term or long-term purpose?
Ask yourself questions like:
-Would users want your product?
-Would they find it exciting and attractive?
These questions would derive the functions of UX design.
Now let's understand the most significant part of this blog: the main differences between UI and UX.
UI design VS UX design: Top 3 Differences
UI and UX. You know much about these terms to understand the differences. But, let's straightaway point out the three most significant differences between UI and UX design.
1. UI design means creating aesthetic, intuitive, and interactive interfaces. UX design means creating a product that solves user problems and provides an optimum experience.
2. UX design is the first stage of any product development stage. This is followed by UI design. Basically, UI design is the skeleton of any product. It decides the shape. UI design is the skin of the product.
3. UX applies to any product or service, physical or digital. UI is specific to digital products and experiences.
The picture below mentions the differences clearly.
The intersection between UI and UX design
So far, you know the differences between UI and UX. Now, let's understand how these two terminologies can work together. More importantly, is one more significant than the other? Certainly not. UI and UX have different functions that are important in their respective ways.
However, we can call UI the icing on UX. Why? Because it decides how you attract the 'viewers'. In this digital era, what matters is how well you can attract someone with appearances. Imagine you have a fantastic idea in store that could potentially change trends for the better. But, you have displayed the idea poorly, which leaves the product misunderstood and underestimated.
See, a UX designer will always tell you the kind of product your audience is looking for. Or, they can tell you the kind of audience your product will appeal to. Based on that, the journey will be mapped out.
But, when they download the product, they find that it doesn't look impressive enough. The information provided is stale, the font is too large or too small, and the navigation is confusing. Even the buttons are placed too close to each other, which makes it difficult to hit the right option. In such cases, your product will face more backlash and, eventually, get cancelled.
Now, notice the top apps most people use these days. Take Netflix, for instance. The app is simple yet sorted. You find a neatly placed menu, and the red and black colour scheme is on point. The app must have taken a lot of effort, yet it seems like an effortless display. That's a classic example of excellent UI implementation.
So, when it comes to any product design, UI and UX design come together to provide a wholesome experience. The market is exclusively competitive. This is why UI and UX must be given equal attention. Moreover, because these two concepts complement each other, they produce better results. Check out various UI and UX software, design skills, and more to get a thorough perspective.
Want more examples of UI/UX design? Check out this video by Suzam UI Design.
Talking about the intersection between UI and UX, let's address another critical aspect. Why do companies ask for UI/UX design skills in a single job post? Let's discuss this in the next section.
Why are UI/UX job roles advertised as one?
UI and UX are two different skills. But, the skills share some similarities as well. The picture below explains the similarities between UI and UX.
But are these similarities enough to combine these different skills in a single job post? The corporate world seems to think so, and here's why.
In the grand scheme of things, UI and UX work the best when put together. These are relatively new concepts that are extremely specific to the tech industry. And most companies put the two skills together to explore the best results. The business value is added to the design concept in both skills.
While some recruiters consider both to be similar skills, most companies understand the differences and still opt for versatile designers. Moreover, UI and UX focus on shared skills, like:
-Wireframe and prototyping
-User research and analysis
Even if you don't have both skills at once, you must have the basic understanding to be a UI/UX developer.
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