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What's The Difference Between UX And UI Design?

30th Mar 2023
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User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) can often get confused with one another, or fall under the same definition to some. However, they are two different design disciplines that have some degree of crossover.

In this blog post, we will discuss the key differences between UI and UX design, and how they work together to create a successful product.

Firstly, what are the definitions of UX and UI? 

UX design is the overall process of defining the entire experience or journey a user would go through when interacting with a product or service from start to finish. UX design is concerned with creating products and services that meet genuine user needs and are easy and enjoyable to use. The ultimate goal of a UX designer is to understand what the user is trying to achieve, and the context in which they are trying to achieve it.

UI design is the design of the actual interfaces which a user engages with. UI design is concerned with the typography, imagery, branding and other visual design elements of a product. UI creates the overall aesthetics and functionality of a digital product. 

Now knowing the definition of UX and UI, we can look into breaking this down into further detail on the role-specific qualities of both. 

A UX designer conducts research, user flows, and creates wireframes and prototypes for a product. 

User flows are diagrams that outline the path a user will take, to complete their goal when using a product. This is used throughout the UX design process in order to understand how a user will interact with the design. 

Wireframes are the building blocks of an interface. They range from lo-fi (low fidelity), mid-fi (medium fidelity) to hi-fi (high fidelity). These are an essential part of the design of a product, as they allow the user to understand how the design will function at a basic level. Wireframes can be sketched out on paper or designed digitally. 

Lastly, prototyping is an integral part of the UX design process, allowing the designer to test the solution with the user. It also serves as a communication tool for both the client and the developers. 

A UI designer creates the look and feel of the product and is responsible for the visual design of a product. This includes everything from how a button will look, to building a design system to keep the product design consistent, with its branding and graphic design elements. They are also responsible for the responsiveness and interactivity of a product. A UI designer ensures that the product interface adjusts smoothly to different screen sizes without losing any of its style or function. In terms of interactivity, a UI designer will use animations and transitions to bring a design to life and make it more visually engaging for the user.

Now we will look at the similarities between UX and UI. One major similarity between the two is that they both require research to be conducted. Research for UX and UI is essential to creating a strong and relevant product. 

UX research focuses on:

  • Creating user personas, which are fictional representations of the type of user that will be interacting with the product. 
  • User interviews/ focus groups/ surveys are ways of collecting data on problems users are facing and their desires and attitudes towards the product.
  • Competitive analysis is used to provide the UX designer with insights into the direct competition a product will face. This allows them to identify any opportunities, trends and find a new and improved way to design for this product.
    UI research focuses on:
  • Competitive analysis; is used to identify the trends and design standards used across other companies in the same industry. This is an essential part of UI design as it allows the designer to gain insight into what is working, and what isn’t in the industry. The UI designer can find inspiration from others and make informed, strategic choices in their design to fit multiple areas to create a better product than their competitors.

UX and UI at Rocketmakers

At Rocketmakers we design products with strong heuristic awareness and test for usability. We deliver a high-quality look and feel that aligns with user expectations. We achieve this by:

  • Following a user-centred design process to ensure what we are building is both useful and useable.
  • Working with design systems and components to make managing changes faster and more accurate.
  • Choosing tools and processes that make collaboration with stakeholders and developers easier.
  • Taking an agile approach to design, reducing wasted design effort, and starting development sooner.
  • Keeping designers engaged throughout delivery to help respond to change and ensure quality is delivered.

To summarise, UX and UI are two essential parts of product development. If both are well thought out and work in harmony, they will create a strong product that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

rocketmakers team at whiteboard

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