What is the difference between UX and UI?

What is the difference between UX and UI?

What is the difference between UX and UI?

When we talk about UX, the term User Interface design (or UI for short) will come up. But, it is good to realize that despite being often used mixed together, UX and UI are two different things. Although the user interface of a product is, of course, an essential part of the user experience. It’s not the same.

UI is a subset of UX. And UX is a broader part of the total customer experience and service design. They are all sides of the same coin. UI focuses on how a product’s surfaces look and function. UX focuses on what the end-user encounters. The customer experience (CX) encompasses all interactions a person has with the brand. While service design at the end of the spectrum focuses on how the internal parts of the organization are aligned to deliver that experience.

UI is a subset of UX

UI refers to the actual interface of a product

To explain the difference between UX and UI more clearly. UI focuses on how a product’s surfaces look and function. The visual design of the screens through which a user navigates on, for example, an app or website.

UI designers handle all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface. From typography and color palettes to animations and transitions.

They don’t necessarily have to create the blueprint for the product. Or understand precisely what the user needs or the business goals are. That is the role of the UX designer: research these goals and bring them together to what the product could be.

UX vs UI

Take, for example, a travel website where you can book an overnight stay. Even if the UI for finding accommodation is perfect, the UX will be bad for a user looking for a private hotel room in Amsterdam, if the underlying database only contains bunk beds in hostels in the UK.

Both UX and UI designers focus on usability and improving the user experience. UX and UI go hand in hand, and product interface design has a significant impact on the overall user experience.

UX and usability are not the same

But UX professionals don’t just focus on creating useful products. All too often, UX is confused with usability, which describes how easy a product is to use. While it’s true that UX started out as a usability discipline, UX has evolved into much more than usability. It also focuses on other aspects of the user experience. We must also distinguish between UX and usability.

Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use. The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease of use during the design process.

By this definition, usability is a quality feature of the user interface. A very important aspect of UX, but the total user experience is an even broader concept.

A UX designer is concerned with the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product. It is a story that begins before the product is even in the hands of the user. Products that provide a great user experience, such as the iPhone, are designed not only with the use of the product in mind. But also with the entire process of acquiring, owning, and even troubleshooting it.

So usability and user interface are essential aspects, but UX design covers many other areas as well.

“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”

This article is taken from our newly released course, where you learn the foundations of User Experience in 20 videos. Want to know if it’s for you? Try for free →

You are not the user

You are not the user

User experience is such a popular term in today’s digital industry that everyone uses it freely. As a result, definitions are mixed up, and methodologies are misused. It’s therefore essential to debunk a persistent misconception.

We tend to assume that people who will use the products we’ve designed are just like us. When non-UX professionals speak of what they believe is a better user experience, they often refer to their own experience. While they only have one example of someone using the interface… themselves.

And this is dangerous thinking. The real people who use your site or app every day are not like you, even if you are one of them. Your needs, problems, and understanding of the experience are different. That’s why it’s crucial to keep one thing in mind: “You are not the user.”

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The UX mantra

“You are not the user” has become one of the user experience mantras for good reason. We all make assumptions. It’s a very human, natural thing to do. But you can’t learn anything about users if you work with your own assumptions.

That’s why it is important to do user research. Without it, it is impossible to create solutions that deliver value and meet your users’ expectations..

You are not the user

You can’t learn anything about users if you work with your own assumptions.

The false consensus effect

UX professionals always start with the fact that they are different from their users. Otherwise, we’ll make generalizations based on one example… our own experience.

Assuming you are your user is natural and a misconception ingrained in the human mind. It’s called the false consensus effect.

The false consensus effect

The false-consensus effect refers to people’s tendency to assume that others share their beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context. Only people who are very different from them would make different choices.

You are not your users ... the developers are not your users, and your coworkers are not your users. - Tim Broadwater

What can you do to overcome this?

  • First, acknowledge the existence of this bias so that you are aware of it.
  • Second, talk to the people you're designing a product for.

And by this, we mean real users, not your colleagues. Know who your users are and test how they respond to your designs by seeing them use those designs.

So don’t make assumptions. When you do user research, you can provide your users with the best solutions because you have discovered precisely what they need.

This article is taken from our newly released course, where you learn the foundations of User Experience in 20 videos. Want to know if it’s for you? Try for free →

What is user experience

What is User Experience (UX)?

What is UX, really?

Have you ever used a website or app that frustrated you so much that you wanted to throw your device out the window? Then you know what it means to encounter a bad user experience.

Everything in life is a User Experience. The mobile payment for your coffee, your friend’s photo you like on Instagram, the car you drive, or the takeaway you order. They are all a user experience. In short, UX.

It refers to any interaction someone has with a product or service and is vital in making their life smooth and enjoyable. It considers every element that is part of this experience, how it makes them feel, and how easy it is to accomplish their desired tasks.

UX can be about all kinds of products and services, from how a physical product lies in your hand to how easy an online checkout process is. Generally, we use the term for digital products such as websites, apps, and other digital interfaces.

You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people - Dieter Rams

The definition of User Experience

Because user experience is such an evolving concept, it is difficult to provide a comprehensive definition. The most used version in the industry is that of the “grand old man of UX design”: Don Norman: “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

As Norman points out, it is an umbrella term that covers many different areas. From interaction design to content design. And it has interfaces with fields from architecture to psychology. Knowing which areas impact the experience is vital for understanding what tools are available to you.

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What is a good User Experience?

The most critical condition for a good user experience is meeting the customer’s needs. And this goes way beyond giving customers what they want. A well-designed product or service should avoid frustrations and delays, and the user understands what to do and how to get where they want to go.

The user is at the center of all considerations

Good UX ensures customers use and enjoy the experiences you designed. Essential for creating customer loyalty and goodwill. A UX designer puts the user center of all considerations so that the final experience delivers intuitive, useful, and enjoyable interactions.

The three promises for a great user experience

And that’s what a good experience is all about. It’s also good to know that everything has a user experience. It’s not your job to create it. It’s your job to make it a good one. There are three key questions every UX professional should answer:

The three promises of a good User Experience
  • Does the site or app provide value to the user? In other words, is it useful?
  • Does the user find it easy to use and navigate? Is it usable?
  • Does the user like using the site or app? Is it desirable?

If the answer to all the above is yes, then you are on the right track!

This article is taken from our newly released course, where you learn the foundations of User Experience in 20 videos. Want to know if it’s for you? Try for free →