You’ve probably heard the terms UX and UI used in the development world, but what do they mean? What’s the difference between the two, and why are either important to the design process? We’ll answer all of these questions and more, and explain why both UI and UX are crucial to successful design. Keep reading to learn more!
What is UI Design?
UI stands for User Interface Design. This is the process of creating user interfaces in software, apps, or even websites. It’s essential the design of the pages and parts of the design that the user will interact with, the interfaces.
This can include both graphics interfaces like app or website pages or navigation bars, or voice-activated ones such as Google Keyboard’s voice option. The UI design is all about creating effective, easy to use interfaces that keep customers engaged and make the app or website easy for anyone to use.
The UI design will include such things as graphics, fonts, and other visual elements that your users will see when they interact with your brand on your site or app. These elements should be crisp, well-arranged, and load easily on either mobile devices or computers. Firms that specialize in UI design can also help you determine which elements are necessary and which ones you can actually do without
Visual elements can easily be overdone, as you’ve probably seen on a website or two. This can lead to crowded, slow to load web pages, causing users to exit the page and disregard your brand entirely. Good UI keeps customers interested in stunning, well-placed visuals.
What is UX Design?
UX stands for User Experience Design, and refers to the interactions your customers will have with your brand via your website, mobile app, or software. UX is important in that it helps developers better understand how the users will interact with graphics interfaces and what they prefer in terms of usability.
Navigation, how pages read, and how pages are accessed are all important aspects of good UX design. Your site can look amazing, but if it doesn’t function well, you can bet users are going to disengage. No one wants to attempt to navigate a site that isn’t set up in an easily accessible way.
Determining what your users want out of your design and how to best help them reach their desires is the job of the UX design team. Always take into consideration the needs of your users, as they will determine the success of your site or app.
How Do They Work Together?
Both UI and UX design are a critical component of any successful web or app development. The what and how of users interacting with your brand’s digital mediums can determine the success of websites, mobile applications, and even e-commerce stores.
You can’t have great UI without great UX, and vice versa. The two are inexplicably intertwined, forever bound to one another in an endless dance of satisfying and engaging your users on a daily basis. You need both for success in development!
A common misconception is that UX and UI are constantly at each other’s throats, each vying for power and dominance over the other. This is simply not the case. Developers need to have a deep understanding of both what the customer interacts with and how they respond to said interaction to develop better sites and software.
Planning with wireframe tools makes bridging these two design concepts simple. A wireframe will act as a blueprint for the entire project, free of color or fancy fonts; focusing solely on the architecture of the project, and therefore, the UI and UX.
Gauging the effectiveness of your UX and UI by using a wireframe can help create better projects and leave your customers more satisfied with your site or app. If you’re not putting these two elements at the top of your list of concerns, you’re truly doing yourself and the user a disservice.
What Makes for Poor UX/UI?
While each is a component of the other, poor effort in either UX or UI can leave your brand’s image tattered and the user frustrated with your designs. What makes for poor UI? Poor aesthetics, clumsy or difficult pages, and navigation bars, or even bad copy can make for poor user interaction, and therefore poor user experience.
Desynchronization between UI and UX designers can also cause each to perform poorly, resulting in a less than efficient project and lots of frustration from both the team and the users. It’s important to make sure both your UX and UI designers are in constant communication with each other and on the same page when it comes to the finality of your designs.
Try to only include graphics or visual elements in your site that are relevant to the site or your brand. Too many graphics or photos cause pages to load slowly and make for poor UI design. Everything should flow, creating seamless transitions from page to page, and easily navigable pages just feel better.
Both UI and UX design are absolutely essential to a successful and fulfilling interaction from the user of your site or app. Keeping users engaged and happy with how your designs function can mean the difference between a loyal customer and a disengaged one. Be sure to keep your UX and UI teams synchronized and in constant communication for best results, as one cannot function well without the other. They are utterly codependent on one another, and with successful integration, your designs will reach new heights and attract new users.