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.”

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