Have you ever wondered what is the difference between “User eXperience” (UX) and “User interface” (UI)? Not to mention the nomenclature? I don’t mean the meaning of these terms, but the difference of consequences in the area of using each one.
Well, besides natural interlocking of these terms and fluent usage by designers in a process of design - there are fundamental differences and situations in which each of these terms can occur separately. It is understandable, but not obvious.
Building awareness in the difference of UX and UI
Careless using of these terms may lead to misleading passing of information to clients. Knowledge acquired this way, by the people who commissioned the project or process performance, is ultimately badly exploited. In the long term the consequences are: client’s misunderstanding of budget proposal, number of people working in team or work schedule.
At this moment we have to mention that not everyone has to know nuances of specific business branch or to dig deep into technical terminology. The key is to inform our client, what we are going to do, how the process is going to look like and why, based on gathered information, it is essential. This way after defining terminology and determining work range we can start crème de la crème of the process.
Ok, but did we define the terms we use, well? A while ago, there was an outburst of job offers for UI/UX Designers. Of course, titled this way, offer has much higher stake (notice: it’s not a rule). It is a result of a trend, but should trend determine stakes of job, which after all amounts to praxis of completely another competition and job position? The question is then: do the recruiters want to allure more much more people for trendy titled position, or is there an actual need in companies. It can determine how customer will see the team, because after hiring such a UI/UX Designer, he will be expecting competencies which he will never get.
Client who orders project to the new website, demands that the project is user-friendly and generates traffic, which will translate to the conversion. Our job should be providing the client with information, which will build his awareness and let him realize the differences between two discussed processes. This knowledge will let him cautiously decide about which part and in what dimensions he is interested in. He may need whole complete design process or just parts of his webpage.
What and why?
As I mentioned before, both cases can work separately, but it should be mentioned, that the UX is part of a process optimization. It allows you to eliminate mistakes or needles praxis with particular solution. Thanks to getting to know the consumers, throughout tests and interviews with potential users, we acquire knowledge about their needs. It makes interactive product using much more positive experience and customers will likely come back. Such a project should be visually attractive and functional as well as ergonomic and useful. The term isn’t referred only to webpage interface designing but also to the software, electronic devices and even video games. Every one of this aspects has human-computer interactions, so the design should be focused on the user.
User experience can be also enhanced, so there’s nothing standing in the way, to conduct this process into existing solutions. For example - there’s our work with Rainbow. In products problematic to use, we have to define the difficulty and then eliminate it. You shouldn’t request to “design” a webpage according to the UX rules. - because there is no such way.
There are good practises and principles, that you should hold onto while designing web pages. Simultaneously we have to draw a thick line between these terms. Understanding of the differences emerging from the meaning is half of the success. So, if you have a UX Designer job, but you only make pretty mock-ups, then excuse me but the only thing connecting you to the UX is the job position name.
The meaning of UI is referred to the space, where human-device interaction occurs. The interactions though can be varied based on the project needs. While interface designing, we design space, where the interaction and information exchange is about to happen. It’s not only the webpage navigation area but all the regions that provides the user with possibility to make action. Interface usage should be easy to handle. In regard to the project, it should be consequent and coherent at every level so that the user would not feel lost and as a consequence - would not lose interests. What is important: the interface has to have a feedback included, so that the user would be up to date with where he is and what he has the power of.
Personal eXperience (PX)
Designing based on our own experience and imagination may lead to wrongful or idealised project concept. If we think that certain functionality will be useful for users and we won’t check or test it, we are not doing anything related to the UX design. We cannot design anything based on our intuition, living the project on its own. We have to meet our actual clients and users needs and expectation in order to get to know what they really want.
Following, let’s ask ourselves - is there a possibility for independent and pretty interfaces to be designed? Yes, there is, but they will be only pretty. If we are not considering their destination or who will be supporting them we remain uncertain about the function’s proper work. Of course, what I have in mind are more complex and demanding projects. There is a way to design interface compatible with Nielsen heuristics and they should be kept in mind during the designing process. These are 10 rules for good or wrong practises in User Interface Design but they shouldn’t be treated as infallible because they have flaws. Good move would be using Nielsen’s heuristics during optimization process as way to work on hypothesis worth testing.
Chose wise/Make sure of what the design needs
All actions that were mentioned and described should lead simultaneously to explaining to the client why each part of the process is needed and to what it’s for. Thanks to good practises we are able to create useful interface that makes good using impression. Deliberate action in process and facing problems that should be fixed will in result give us an eye-catching design, what will be surely well remembered.
If you’ve learned something new in this article - that’s great!