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UI and UX: We Are Not The Same

In the wonderful world of web and mobile app design, almost everything is centered around the user. How to draw them in, keep them engaged and of course, how to get more of them. Like any sort of product, websites and applications will remain relevant for as long as there are people that make them so. Continuing to be able to satisfy the needs of their users is what ensures them a stable position in a market that grows exponentially every year. Just last year, 2.42 billion mobile apps were downloaded with consumers spending a whopping 340 million dollars on in-app purchases and subscriptions. It is indeed a lucrative market. But being able to reap its benefits will largely depend on an application’s ability to build and maintain a sustainable amount of users. Now, how does it do that?

While the idea of User Interface has been around since computing entered the market, it was former Apple employee Don Norman who coined the term User Experience. Simply put, he referred to the overall ideal experience that the individual would have with the product or service as well as the personnel that handle it. On the other hand, User Interface appeals to the senses and focuses on the aesthetic qualities perceived when interacting with the product. 

Both share a general objective which is to ensure that the product, or in this case, the application will attract and sustain an audience that will actively spend their time and perhaps, their money on it. In theory, they are quite similar. But put into practice, the difference becomes pronounced.

While the terms can overlap and relate to each other, they are, in fact, cannot be used interchangeably.

UX: Making Functional

While the initial impression of a designer would be someone who handles the aesthetics of the product, that isn’t usually covered within the expertise of a UX designer. Instead, they aim to target the user’s psyche rather than their visual appreciation of the product. In a conventional business model, they’d be in charge of customer analysis. Who is their market? How does their market make decisions? And more importantly, how do they get their market to invest in the product? Their work can almost be likened to conducting an experiment. Research, prototyping and testing are all essential parts of a UX designer’s job.

UI: Creating Visuals

While a UX designer’s job rarely involves aesthetics, UI designers center their work around it. From colors to fonts to icons and buttons, they decide exactly what element will go on each individual web page and how it will be arranged. They also assign a designated function to every element they create, if it is interactive and how the user will interact with it. To keep a website visually consistent, they set a specific style guide to be followed. Along with that, they also must have an understanding of the user’s psyche and how their design influences their experience of the website. 

See https://ciit.edu.ph/ux-vs-ui-web-designer/ for more information on the different duties of a UX and UI designer.

So whether you’re more about finding out what exactly makes your client tick or creating and managing everything that they see on the screen, web design can offer you the chance to specialize. Maybe you’re even interested in both. CIIT offers a course on UX/UI Design for all of you would-be designers. Explore the best of both worlds and study with us! You’ll even get a project to grow your portfolio!

Or perhaps this didn’t seem as interesting as you thought it would be. Coding and creating software was more of what you were expecting. No worries, we have a course for that too. You can learn more about our Web Programming course here.