UX and UI Design are big topics of conversation in web development these days. Interestingly, these terms are often misunderstood or misused. Though interdependent, UX Design and UI Design are different practices. In fact, they are different jobs.
Let’s Talk About UI (User Interface) Design
We hear the term “UI Design” everywhere these days. It’s such a common phrase, and yet it is often misunderstood or confused with other web design practices.
UI Design started with the invention of the Graphic User Interface (or GUI) by Xerox in 1979. The technology was purchased by Steve Jobs and Apple and implemented on Macintosh machines in the early 80s. The GUI is the point-and-click system that we know and love today, and part of nearly every interaction that we have with our personal computers. Before this point, everything on a computer was done using lines of code.
So, put simply, UI Design involves the design of the interface for a website, platform, or application. This includes buttons and menus, checkboxes, forms, accessibility features, videos, and anything else that a user can interact with visually (without the need for code) using their mouse and keyboard.
What About UX (User Experience) Design?
User Experience or UX Design is a term that refers to the design of the much larger picture. If the user interface includes everything on a website or application that a user interacts with, doesn’t that imply that it is heavily involved in the user experience? Of course, it does! But the user experience is so much more than the interface.
User Experience design is a focus on the entire customer journey. For example…
- How did our users hear about the website, product, or service?
- Once the user hears about the product or service, what is the next step that they take? Are they clicking on an ad to visit our site? Are they at a conference, and will they be brought to us through a direct referral?
- Once the user gets to our website, how does that experience line up visually and conceptually with the information that led them there? Does it all look visually consistent and are we carrying branding through all these parts of our journey? Is information provided to our customers before reaching us, supported immediately by the information that they see when they load our app or website?
- What is the next step that a user should take?
- Have we considered all the different possible segments of our target audience?
- Should our users be directed to a different part of our platform or app depending on their “persona” or segment of the target audience?
- If we now split our audience into different paths based on their segment, should they all reach the same conversion point?
- Once the user has converted, what is the follow-up experience like? What is the actual product or service experience like?
- In what ways can customers provide feedback, and what is our follow-up model for customers who do provide feedback?
UX Design refers to the much larger picture that involves your website or application as well as the entire customer experience. However, the user interface, or UI Design, is only one small part of that picture.
At SharedTEAMS, our web team puts a great deal of effort into building engaging user interfaces. All our teams work cohesively on the customer journey. Everyone that you work with throughout all your projects is involved in your overarching UX Design.