UX vs. UI (The 2nd part)

In the Last Part, we talked about UX. In this Part we will talk about what actually UI(User Interface) is & what is the difference between UX & UI.

Despite it being an older and more practiced field, the question of “What is user interface design?” is difficult to answer by its ranging variety of misinterpretations. While User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use; User Interface Design is its complement, the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of a product. But like UX, it is easily and often confused by the industries that employ UI Designers. To the extent that different job posts will often refer to the profession as completely different things.

If you look at job posts for User Interface Design, you will mostly find interpretations of the profession that are similar to graphic design. Sometimes extending also to branding design, and even front-end development.

If you look at expert definitions of User Interface Design, you will mostly find descriptions that are in part identical to User Experience design. Even referring to the same structural techniques.

So which one is right? The sad answer is: Neither   

But both are close in some ways. Like User Experience Design, User Interface Design is a multifaceted and challenging role. It is responsible for the transference of a product’s development, research, content and layout into an attractive, guiding and responsive experience for users. It is also a field that unlike UX, is a strictly digital profession as per its dictionary definition.

Let’s have a quick look at the UI Designer’s responsibilities:

Look and Feel:

(i) Customer Analysis

(ii) Design Research

(iii) Branding and Graphic Development

(iv) User Guides/Storyline

Responsiveness and Interactivity:

(i) UI Prototyping

(ii) Interactivity and Animation

(iii) Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes

(iv) Implementation with Developer

As a visual and interactive designer, the UI role is crucial to any digital interface and for customers a key element to trusting a brand.While the brand itself is never solely the responsibility of the UI designer, its translation to the product is.    

So in conclusion:

User Interface Design is responsible for the transference of a brand’s strengths and visual assets to a product’s interface as to best enhance the user’s experience.

User Interface Design is a process of visually guiding the user through a product’s interface via interactive elements and across all sizes/platforms.

User Interface Design is a digital field, which includes responsibility for cooperation and work with developers or code.   

Which is more important UX or UI? Designer and expert Helga Moreno said “Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While Something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.”

So you see, they are both crucial, and while there are millions of examples of great products with one and not the other, imagine how much more successful they might have been when strong in both fields.

And let’s face it, both roles are still confused, misinterpreted, and falsely sought after. So if you’re looking to get into these fields, it’s not a matter of which is more important, but based on the descriptions above which is more attractive to you.  

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