UX Design is not UI Design — this is not what we should be talking about

Rather, let’s think about the fundamentals behind the word, “Design”


Ever since I started learning about UI/UX/IxD and all those tech buzzwords, I came across a lot of blogs, articles and pictures that illustrates about the difference between UI Design and UX Design. As a fresh new student in this field, I was initially more passionate about UX Design because it looked as if it was more relative to psychology (which I got a Bachelor’s degree in) and less about what was known as GUI (or UI).

I thought UI Design would be far, far from me since I didn’t learn anything about any of those in college. So, I focused more on learning about UX rather than UI and to be honest, I thought UX was more cooler and important than UI. Moreover, it was common to see people around me, raising up their voices about the importance of UX in every little things and how UI can sometimes be less important.

For sure, the meaning of UX and UI are completely different. Even if you search for the terminologies online, the search engines will spit out all the resolved mysteries about these acronyms and how they are different from each other — while UX is about the internal experience that a user has as they are interacting with the products, UI is everything designed into a form which a user may interact with.

However, I want to ask a simple question here in this bloodbath battlefield: what’s so important about distinguishing the different between UX Design and UI Design rather than shifting the gears and thinking that they are both under the umbrella of “design?”

Since when did UI Designers became people who don’t think about the user’s experience when using the products? It seems like ever since UX became a buzzword, UI Designers suddenly became people who only consider only about creating attractive designs with no heart for the experience.

To go even further, some people who call themselves UX Designers (or even UXers) often highlight that it’s unnecessary to learn how to deliver attractive UI designs or even how to use the design tools. To be more specific, they care less about learning the basics of visual design, UI guidelines, human factors in design and more! By learning how to draw squares, lines and circles on wireframes, they suddenly think they know how to “design.”

To be honest, I’ve even heard some UX enthusiasts saying, “Hey man…I try to focus more about UX, not UI. It’s not that I consider less about UI but you know, if I wanted to create some pretty-looking designs, I could’ve learned it in a heart beat and isn’t it pretty standard now? — Psst.. I dare you to go and create a single screen of an app right now. I had to invest a lot of time trying to simply follow what other people have designed online and it.takes.time.

Anyways, back to the point.

What is it that we should talk about instead of drawing a line between UX and UI? I wanted to ask this question especially to the students out there just like me. What are we missing here? What is our genuine misconception about this field? Why is UX suddenly more important than UI? Can UX really exist without a good UI?

“Let’s DESIGN for people as DESIGNERS who care about the whole product. ”

Yes, UX and UI are different and there are job titles, clearing differentiating between the roles, skill sets and knowledge. However, moving forward into the near future, it seems like UX Designers who can deliver attractive UI Design and UI Designer who carefully think about the experience are the ones who will continue to successfully deliver the best products. Looking at the team dynamics also, I believe the overlapping of skills and knowledge — being a T-shaped person will eventually be a valuable asset to the team. Which means, by collaborating and critiquing each other, the products will become better and better.

Like I said, UX and UI are both under the umbrella of design. They both complement each other in order to satisfy the users (ultimately). Stressing about this again but do we really need to start discriminating each other and putting up a fight why one is not equal to another?

Let’s rather focus on learning how any “DESIGNERS” should be able to take maximum necessary knowledge from either anything UX or UI-related to their needs as they are ideating, brainstorming and developing their products made with love. I truly believe that this is a much wiser direction to march on.


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