The Difference between UX and UI Design

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The Difference between UX and UI Design

UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. Both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. But despite their professional relationship, the roles themselves are quite different, referring to very different parts of the process and the design discipline. Where UX Design is a more analytical and technical field, UI Design is closer to what we refer to as graphic design, though the responsibilities are somewhat more complex.

What is User Experience Design?

User experience design is a human-first way of designing products. You can learn more about how we’re promoting human-first design across all industries.
As is found on Wikipedia:

• User experience design (UXD or UED) is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.
Clear, right? Well you might note immediately that despite what I implied in the introduction, the definition has no reference to tech, no mention of digital, and vague at best. But like all professions, it’s impossible to distill the process from just a few words.
Some confusion in the definition of the term itself is due to its youth. Don Norman, a cognitive scientist and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, is credited with inventing the term in the late 1990’s declaring that“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
This implies that regardless of its medium , UX Design encompasses any and all interactions between a potential or active customer and a company. As a scientific process it could be applied to anything, street lamps, cars, Ikea shelving and so on.
However! Despite being a scientific term, its use since inception has been almost entirely within digital fields; one arguable reason for this being that the industry started blowing up around the time of the term’s invention. Another arguable reason being that it was just a fancy way of rewording a practice that has already existed for hundreds of years known as “Market Research”; and boy do designers love fancy.
But don’t let me confuse you, User Experience Design is not a market research job.
Though it does utilize many of the same techniques to achieve a complex end goal: The structure, analysis and optimization of a customer’s experience with a company and its products.
If you’ve never seen User Experience work in practice, never even used the term at work, it’s still difficult to imagine what User Experience Designers actually do.

What is UI Design?

Despite it being an older and more practiced field, the question of “ What is user interface design? ” is difficult to answer by its ranging variety of misinterpretations. While User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use; User Interface Design is its compliment, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. But like UX, it is easily and often confused by the industries that employ UI Designers. To the extent that different job posts will often refer to the profession as completely different things.

If you look at job posts for User Interface Design, you will mostly find interpretations of the profession that are akin to graphic design. Sometimes extending also to branding design, and even front end development.



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