UX vs. UI — Abbreviations That Everybody Should Know These Days
Have you ever thought about what UI and UX actually means? Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand the current vocabulary. Let’s be honest, not only that. The time has progressed and technology has become part of our everyday life. Now, we have to adapt to new conditions, with which expressions like UI and UX come, at a rapid pace. Maybe you’ve heard it before and maybe their use on social networks or job offers leaves you a bit confused. Either way, know that these expressions create a part of your everyday life as well. Would you like to finally take the high road when these weird abbreviations attack you? Maybe you’ll find the following three points useful. We will try to clarify what you deal with as simply as possible.
Don’t Confuse Concepts (UX) with Impressions (UI)
You’ve probably understood that we will speak about designers of digital products, such as websites and applications. Try to imagine yourself as an user of a certain product, which will be, for now, your new bicycle. Like every bicycle, yours also has nice handlebar grips, powerful pedals and a comfortable seat. All these “expressions” represent UI (User Interface). When you try all these attractive “expressions” yourself (sit on the bicycle and enjoy the ride), you get your UX (User Experience). That means, they are two different expressions that can be defined as follows:
UID (User Interface Design) is a process of creating interfaces in software or computer equipment with focus on appearance or style. Designers try to create a layout that will be easy to use and pleasing to the eye of the users.
UXD (User Experience Design) is a process of increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty through improving usability and satisfaction provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.
What is User Experience?
Even the most modern and best looking product is worthless if it’s causing you trouble instead of making your life simpler. That’s why we consider UX as an inseparable part of new digital products or strategies designing. The ideal example for explaining this problem is the following picture that proves that even the best design is nothing if it doesn’t take user experience into account.
There is a Long Way Leading to Perfect Experience
And how does this all work in practice? Now that we know that every successful digital product is created by honest work of UI and UX designers, we can compare the whole process to one big glacier made of five parts.
1) Strategy Is Important
Strategic thinking about a project is our priority even before we start working on any project. At this point, it’s important to clarify all the investments (finance, time, energy and so on) that we need for the final product creation. This phase requires research of its target users, their needs and motivation.
2) What Do We Actually Need?
At this point, it’s important to know the group we want to target and how to get to it. That’s why we need to define the necessary resources that will help us reach it. Currently, social networks help us the most in this regard, because using them, we are able to reach thousands or even millions of people of different age, gender, hobbies etc.
3) Structure Is Crucial
When creating a project structure, we primarily focus on defining user interface, as well as what the user sees.
4) We Begin with Layouts
At this point, our UX designers try to design a layout that shows the exact deployment of given elements whether on the web or in the application.
5) Final Visuals
Here, a UI designer steps into the game. They will put all the UX design documents together in a way, so that the visual corresponds with the users’ needs as much as possible and therefore, offers a perfect user experience.
And What do Practitioners Think?
A very interesting and inspiring opinion on the given problematics was given by Clayton Yan, a popular designer that explains the whole problem using the example of a house construction project:
“There’s a lot of confusion around what UI and UX are, what the main differences are, or if there are any differences at all. They are definitely different things, but they must go hand in hand to create a beautiful and intuitive experience.
The way that I’ve always explained it is to think about building a house. When you’re building a house, you need to think of the broad structure and layout.
Do you need 2 or 3 bedrooms?
Do those bedrooms each have their own bathroom?
Is the living room the first thing you walk into after entering the door?
Is it a one-story or two-story home?
To me, UX is the overall experience of your house (or product). Do things make sense? How does it make your user feel?
The next level of the user’s journey is the interface they actually interact with. Continuing with the house example, the UI is the visual theme throughout the house. What type of wallpaper will you use? Do you have the same flower vases around the house? Or different ones?
The UI is, like its name implies, the things the user will actually interact with and see. This includes buttons, forms, pictures, etc.
UX without UI means you’ve got a frame and structure to your house, but it’s not beautiful and cohesive. UI without UX is like splashing awesome colors and details throughout the house, but having your front door lead straight into a bathroom. You need both to create an awesome end to end experience.
Typically, UX design goes ahead of UI design, because you want to do research, broad sketches, and general workflows first. Then once you’ve got the broad strokes nailed down, you work on the UI design to bring it all together so it feels like a beautiful, well-designed product.”
Now that you know how it all works, you can make use of this knowledge when improving the professional impression, bragging in front of friends or as a basis for further study. And if it’s not enough for you, feel free to contact us. We will love to share our experience with you.
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Naum studio deals with visual communication and design of brands, identities, institutions, publications, but also UI/UX design of online projects and smartphone applications. Through analysis, strategy and design, we create strong brands aiming for a greater market value. We put emphasis on personal approach with our customers and progressive, distinctive design. We’re trying to look for a meaning in every single project and reflect its value without the use of words.