What Is UX and UI Design

Reading time7 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

Do you know what is UX and UI Design? If you work with marketing, design, or developing websites and apps, you probably have already heard of those terms. Short for user experience and user interface, respectively, there is a reason they are so popular. 

It's essential to understand and take into consideration how the user will interact with web pages and different types of software. UI and UX design can make the real difference in whether software as a service (SaaS), a product or a website will be a success and hit its goals or not. Check out the article to know more about it.

What Is UX Design?

The image shows a person in front of a laptop, on the table there is a notebook and a smartphone too.

UX design refers to the term user experience design. It's closely related to how a user interacts with the services and products of a company, which can be physical or digital. UX design is applied to create the design of a chair, for example, and also to make the homepage of a website. 

It's a broad area, but one thing remains the same: the user is at the center of the whole design process. A UX designer, for instance, will search for ways to solve customer pain points and offer them a seamless experience. 

A website that applies the UX design principles will be built considering how the user will feel when navigating through the web pages, and how easy it's for them to do what they want. The same happens with software, not only do the features offered matter but also designing each section to make them intuitive. This way, the user will find it easy to use the software and not choose to buy another one, for example. 

Different from what many people may think UX design can't be reduced to how a product looks, the aesthetic is just a part of it. The user's feelings and actions toward the product also matter a lot. 

Therefore, UX design includes knowing your target audience. It's necessary to research their behavior and test different things to find the best design for the product you are developing. A user researcher will have to create a user persona that represents as closely as possible who the target audience is, and what their main frustrations and desires are. 

The term user experience isn't a new one. It was a cognitive scientist at Apple, Don Norman, who used it for the first time in the 90s. And one of the things that made Apple products stand out was their design. 

What Is UI Design?

The image shows several sketches on a table and a people looking and pointing to them.

UI design refers to user interface design, and it's a term that is related only to the digital sector. It analyzes how a user interacts with the interface of websites, social media platforms, and software.

UI design has the purpose of developing digital products and services in order to be easy to use and intuitive. It considers every visual element and how it impacts interactions, for example, the typography, color palette, images, and much more. 

UI design focuses on the appearance of the layouts, so they can be visually appealing and easily comprehended by the target audience. When UI design is applied, the digital product is developed not only to be functional but to attract the customer as they look or hear it since UI design is also used to create voice-controlled interfaces, like Siri and Alexa. 

What's the difference between UX and UI Design?

When it comes to what is UX and UI design, it isn't rare for people to find it difficult to distinguish both terms. Because they are concepts related to the same topics and complement each other. However, it's necessary to understand their differences to know how to use both and create much better products and services. 

The first main difference regarding what is UX and UI design is that the first one applies to physical and digital products, while the second one is an area focused on the digital. UI design is centered around visual elements, the aesthetics. On the other hand, UX design focuses on how someone feels when interacting with a product or service. 

They aren't separable, just as important as it is to deliver great experiences to the user, this experience won't be fully enjoyable if the interface layout doesn't look good. It's fundamental to look at both aspects and analyze them together, for example, to build a website. 

We can say that UI design is more specific, while UX design has a broader range. UX design will be applied to solve user problems, and UI design will be used to provide it with an intuitive, pleasing, and easy-to-use interface. 

Both of them function towards the same goal: offering the best to customers.  The web developer Dain Miller describes this difference as “UI is the saddle, the stirrups, & the reins. UX is the feeling you get from being able to ride the horse.”.

How UX and UI Design Work Together

To know the importance of applying UX and UI together, think of software that has great features and works perfectly, but the interface is ugly and outdated, and the visual elements are disorganized.

 In this case, they thought about user experience, but the user interface was poorly developed, which may lead to losing sales.  Many people won't even consider testing software that isn't visually appealing. 

When planning to create an app or a website it's necessary to research what your customer audience needs and offer the features they look for. But, it's also important to provide them all of that with a layout that they find easy to use. It must be intuitive and accessible. 

Without high-quality UI design, the customer might not even want to try the digital product. However, if the user interface is incredible, but you don't offer anything interesting to the user, they will quickly leave the page or cancel the app subscription. It leads to a frustrating experience. 

What a UX Designer Do

A UX designer is responsible for making research regarding customer behavior and conducting a test to identify their preferences. They also ensure the product solves what the customer needs, and continuously search for ways to improve it. 

They participate in different stages of product development. When a product or service is only an idea, the UX designer is responsible to provide enough information and offer insights. They enable the team to come up with prototypes that consider how the user interacts with the product. They will test the prototypes, and help to get to the final product.

The main responsibilities of a UX designer include:

  • User research
  • Customer analysis
  • Create personas
  • Develop prototypes
  • Test the products with the users

What a UI Designer Do

The UI designers work closely with the UX design team, they will develop the interface based on the UX research, analysis, and tests. They are responsible for designing the interface focusing on user experience. You may need to develop prototypes of a layout as well, perfecting it until it gets to the final product. 

The tasks of a UI designer include:

  • UI prototyping
  • Develop the interface of digital products
  • Create storyboards, site maps, and wireframes
  • Create the design guidelines for a  digital product or brand

Apply UX and UI Design

Once you know what is UX and UI design, it's easy to understand why they are so important for the development of digital products. If you are starting a new business, counting on a team of experts in UX and UI design may help you to take an idea out of paper and create a profitable service or product.

Or, If you already have released an app or a website, for instance, and want to reach new levels with your company, UX and UI design are also very useful. A UX designer can help you identify what are the weak points of your products and services that are preventing your company from growing. While the UI can implement the necessary changes to the interface. Both areas are in constant development and it's important to keep updated with them.

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