One of the biggest debates in the design world is the difference between user experience design and user interface design. But if you are new to design or if you are interviewing for design positions, having a general understanding of how and when to use these terms is crucial. Let us see together what the difference between UX and UI is.
What is UX design?
User experience (UX) design is the process of creating products that provide a meaningful and relevant experience to users. This involves designing the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product. UX design covers a vast array of other areas, too. A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product. That also includes branding, design, usability and function.
UX designers do not just focus on creating products that are usable. They also concentrate on other aspects of the user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency and fun, too. Consequently, there is no single definition of a good user experience. Instead, a good user experience is one that meets a particular user’s needs in the specific context where they use the product.
What is UI design?
Simply put, user interface (UI) design is anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. This includes everything from screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights. UI design in itself is about using typography, images and other visual design elements to turn a basic interface into something digestible and usable.
A UI designer’s job begins where a UX designer’s job ends - at the prototyping stage. They take the wireframes and add visual design to make them more usable, aesthetically appealing and optimised for different screen sizes. In short, a UI designer focus on how the colours, typography and images of a design connect to the brand of a product.
The meanings of UX and UI design imply that they are related design disciplines, yet they are very different in nature. The UI design is more concerned with the visual properties of design as well as the overall feel it conveys. But without great UX, even the most beautifully designed UI will cause a bad user experience.
Both roles require the designer to be focused on creating a better overall product for the end-user. Secondly, the designer also has to be able to quantify and analyse data so that they can make improvements. And finally, designers working in both user experience and user interface use a similar set of tools during their process.
The difference between UX and UI design is that UX is about the experience a user has with a product or a service while UI refers to the aesthetic elements by which people interact with a product. Let us put it like this - imagine you are designing a house. UX design would be the foundation and UI design would be the paint and furniture.
In essence, the UX designer has the user’s basic needs at the forefront of their solutions. The UI designer has the user’s interaction needs at the forefront of their solutions.
Hopefully, by now you understand the nuanced difference between UX and UI design. Yes, they go hand-in-hand, but they are also very different. UX design is more analytical. It is rooted in cognitive behaviour and human psychology. UI design is much more focused on visuals - whether a product is aesthetically pleasing.
Study UX design at PFH
We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog post on the difference between UX and UI design. If you are thinking about studying abroad and pursuing a career in UX design, take a look at our Master’s degree in User Experience Management & Design.
We have designed this program to help you apply the skills you have acquired with your first university degree in the fields of management, psychology and computer science. Additionally, you will acquire new and interdisciplinary competencies from the fields of psychology, business informatics and business administration, which are necessary later in the field of digital product and service development.
At PFH we make sure you receive a high-quality education while making the most out of your study abroad experience!