The dispute over the definitions of UX and UI has lasted nearly as long as the words themselves. UX stands for User Experience, while UI stands for User Interface. It doesn’t help that the words were not coined simultaneously, and it is undoubtedly one of the causes of the misunderstanding. They were not precisely defined at the outset since they were not created concurrently. The phrase “user interface” was established when computers were introduced to the market. On the other hand, Don Norman invented the terminology “user experience” for his team at Apple Computer in 1993.
Depending on who you question, UX and UI are entirely distinct, overlap, or UI is a subset of UX. The viewpoint of the two words is heavily influenced by how anyone interprets UX.
User Experience (UX) Design
According to Jakob Nielson and Don Norman, user experience includes all elements of the end-engagement user’s with the business, its services, and its products. Therefore, UX is an umbrella word that includes a range of aspects such as visual design, interaction design, usability, user research, information architecture, and content strategy. UX, as a whole, entails the following practitioners:
- UX designer
- UX engineer
- Product designer
- User researcher
- Content specialist
- Information architect (IA)
- Interaction designer (IDX)
- User interface (UI) or visual designer
Three Stages of UX Design
An individual in any of these professions may wear many hats or specialize in one. Irrespective of one’s speciality, UX is a design thinking approach comprising three stages: inspiration, ideation, and implementation.
The inspiration phase begins with getting to know your users, their lifestyles, and the issues they encounter. To understand more about the problems at hand, UX experts will conduct interviews, create empathy maps, and so on. This stage is an essential aspect of designing for the end-user. It prevents anyone from designing for the clients and oneself rather than the intended audience.
That is the stage at which you explore, fail, and attempt again to create abstract concepts and possibilities based on your study. Designers from a web development company test and improve their ideas using initial drawings, wireframes, user flows, and so on, depending on the reactions of test audiences. That is crucial since verifying assumptions early on provides a better user experience while minimizing the possibility of expensive rework and prolonged timeframes.
The last stage is implementation, in which ideas and strategies are brought to life via prototypes, visual design, and finished products. Working through the inspiration, creativity, and execution stages yields an intuitive experience that meets user requirements while addressing their initial issue.
User interface (UI) design
A user interface designer penetrates the user experience process during the execution phase. It makes the user’s interplay with a device or application as efficient and effective as possible when collaborating towards the goal. A few examples of UI outputs that you may encounter or interact with regularly:
- Panels that show information separately from the rest of the display
- On a screen, icons or tiny images convey an action or element
- Menus for browsing and choosing items
- Widgets for input controls and informative and navigational elements such as buttons, progress bars, toggles, text fields, and more.
The list of potential applications is infinite, and it is likely to contain aspects you would never consider—but that is the purpose. A user interface designer guides the eye through an experience by eliminating any guessing via compositions, grids, visual hierarchy, spacing, font, color, whitespace, and other techniques. A UI designer may also deal with a guidebook, which includes standards, concepts, and regulations that must be adhered to for the presence of a product or brand.
Both words have distinct meanings, but they complement each other and play essential roles in a user’s entire experience with a product or brand. The critical distinction is that user interface (UI) design is one essential part of the overall emphasis and process known as “user experience” (UX) design.
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