UI vs. UX Design: Key Similarities and Differences

Technology enthusiasts probably have a basic understanding of the key concepts that make up web design; when designing a website, there are two key concepts that need to be taken into consideration, namely the site’s User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) Design. It is sometimes incorrectly assumed that these two concepts are one and the same. In actuality, they are different.

UI vs. UX Design: The General Differences

The difference lies in their respective functionalities: UI Design concerns itself with the interface of the machine that is being designed, or a website. In other words, regarding the UI Design of a website, it deals with the appearance of a website or app that is being designed.

Generally, UI designers are responsible for the layout of the website/app, concerning themselves with images, buttons and color shades. UX Designers, on the other hand, are involved with the process of improving the usability and functionality of the website/application, which is usually with the end goal of improving user satisfaction. A good UX design should not leave the user confused as to how to navigate the site or app. This means it should be well structured, and easy to navigate from page to page.

Human-Computer Interaction

It should be apparent now that the two are different in “How” they function. However, both UI and UX Design share a common basis in regards to “Why” they function:  they are both involved in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This process is involved in how humans interact for technology: using a mouse, keyboard or smartphone. The more sophisticated the technology is the more advanced and easier the interaction capabilities will be when people use the technology.  An example of this would be the smartphone that assists the user though voice generated assistance. To increase the usability between humans and any sort of digital means, computers must utilize user-friendly designs. Such is the role that UI and UX Design takes on.

UI and UX Design: Purpose and Implementation

UI Design utilizes methods of Visualization; its main purpose is presenting an interface with a consistent scheme, and an aesthetically pleasing one to interact with, in term of the colors and fonts used.

Meanwhile, the main purpose of implementing a UX Design is to facilitate the website or app’s ease of use. It is essentially the “bridge” which allows UI Design to function within the mechanics of the website’s system. In this regard, the UX designer needs to ensure that every page of the website is clearly accessible and logical. Therefore, a good understanding of user behavior is required.

Because of its purpose, UX Design encompasses a scope that tends to be broader than that of UI Design. Preferably, UX Design begins with an examination of the website’s target audience. Then, the behavior patterns of that audience are then manifested within the overarching design theme. But UX Design provides the “reason” that the UI Design chooses certain designs for the interface.

For example, through the website’s interface, a blue sign up button is located on the left side of the page. The button is placed within a surrounding image with an optimum level of background to highlight it with contrasting colors. The coloring and aesthetic value of this button can be the “make or break” factor when a user decides to click or not. If the user decides in the affirmative, then this means that the UX Design has successfully adjusted the mindset to the user’s behavior.

Therefore, listed here are some of the fundamental differences between UI and UX Design. It is important to note that, overall, UI and UX Design are two separate entities working together for the same goal: providing a user friendly and eajoyable experience for a website’s users.

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