UX vs UI: A must-read guide for every designer

UX vs UI : A must-read guide for every designer

Table of Contents

The debate of UX vs UI is on the rise since many people often get confused between UX and UI design and why not? These two terms are seen together as UX/UI design very often.

The key difference between UX and UI is that UX is basically how a user interacts with a product (digital or physical) and what impression he/she has of the product. Whereas, UI is the visuals and functions that a user encounters while using the product.

But there is more to it. Why are UX and UI used? What do UX/UI designers do? Is UI a part of UX? This article covers all the things you need to know to understand the concept of UX and UI using UX/UI design examples.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn about what is UX and what is UI design and what do the UX/UI designers do 
  • UX and UI sound very similar but actually, they are very different from each other.
  • What are the key differences between UX and UI and why are they important?

What is UX?

The process by which design teams create products that give users meaningful and relevant experiences is known as User Experience (UX) design. This includes features of branding, design, usability, and function, as well as the full process of obtaining and integrating the product.

In simple terms, when we say  UX or User Experience we mean how a user interacts with the product or service. For example, when we switch on a light bulb, we interact with it. Its colour texture, appearance and other things.

Similarly, UX in the digital world refers to how users interact with a digital product. When people use a product they evaluate their experience with some criteria as mentioned below:

  • Value. Does this product give me value?
  • Function. Does this product work?
  • Usability. Is it easy to use?
  • General impression. Is it pleasant to use?

Here is what Don Norman, the guy who coined the word User Experience, has to say on User Experience.

“No product is an island. A product is more than a product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from the first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”

Don Norman, inventor of the term “User Experience”

Here is a video of the man himself explaining UX:

What Does a UX Designer Do?

UX is followed by the word design very often. It is almost like its suffix. People who work in the field of UX are naturally called UX designers.

So what do UX designers do? Do they design UX? The answer is no. We can not design UX because it is the impression of the product. But we can only create conditions that can lead to a positive impression about the product. 

So we can say that UX designers are people who design for UX.

Many UX designers have a background in Graphic Design. Know more about ‘what is Graphic Designing’ here.

Following are the activities that a UX designer does:

1. Research

Research by a UX designer involves following steps

  • Understanding – Conducting user interviews to identify the requirements of the users.
  • User personas – Personas help UX designers to represent a typical user to identify their goals, frustrations etc.
  • Use cases – They take several cases into consideration that how might different people use a product or service?
  • Journey maps – They map out the whole experience of the user from start till finish while using the product.

2. Brainstorming

Brainstorming involves working on typically two main factors:

  • User flows– Diagrams that outline the steps a user might take during the experience as they go from step to step in the UI.
  • Wireframes– A rough skeleton representation of the UI and the various components that make up the UI.

3. Implement

This is where UI designers come into action. Under implementation, two activities are taken place:

  • Prototyping – UI designers create low or high fidelity prototypes which may or may not be interactive.
  • Frontend and Backend development – Once prototypes are approved developers make the prototype a working product.

4. Reporting

The final step that comes after implementation is reporting. It involves the following steps:

  • Usability – Observe real users using the product through a variety of means.
  • Split testing– Testing the effectiveness of one design iteration over another.
  • Analytics reporting – Gaining additional insight such as time spent on pages, bounce rate and more.

Now that we have understood UX design and the process involved in UX designing, let’s move on to UI design and understand how it is different from UX.

What is UI?

The User Interface (UI) is the space where interactions between humans and machines occur.

The process of designing User Interfaces in software or digital devices with a focus on appearance or style is known as User Interface (UI) design. 

Designers strive to design User Interfaces that are simple to use and enjoyable to use. UI design encompasses both graphical and non-graphical User Interfaces, such as voice-controlled interfaces.

Basically, UI is a part of the UX designing process. So, if you had a question ” is UI a part of UX”, then the answer is yes.

Now that we have understood the fundamental knowledge of what UI design is, let’s talk about what a UI designer does.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

what does a ui designer do

A User Interface designer is in charge of a website’s appearance. They’ve been entrusted with creating a User Interface from the user’s perspective.

They might be given a design problem and asked to address it. The ultimate goal of UI design is to develop an intuitive User Interface that is both easy to use and visually appealing.

Importance of UI/UX Design

Now that we have understood the meaning of UX and UI design, now let us under what is the importance of UI/UX design and why you should know them.

  1. It enhances customer satisfaction hence improved ROI

An excellent design offers your customers intriguing information and simple navigation. As a result, the consumer is satisfied with your application’s services. 

Customers that are happy with your App will always tell others about it. As a result, the number of customers increases. Furthermore, they will become loyal to your brand and return customers, resulting in a higher return on investment for your company.

  1. It helps you understand your audience

You must first comprehend your consumers’ wants before building a Ul/UX. As a result, your design is built with a focus on your target audience in mind.

Your App will appeal to the target audience for which it was created. Ul/UX also helps you to segment your audience, which is important for determining what each group wants. 

Understanding your audience makes it simple to convert potential customers into loyal customers, resulting in increased sales.

  1. Builds your brand

Investing in an effective Ul/UX design increases customer satisfaction, resulting in satisfied customers. A satisfied customer turns into a loyal customer. These customers tend to share your product with their peers and hence spreading your product through word of mouth.

This improves your firm’s credibility as a client and fosters positive associations with your company and brand. As a result, the worth of your company and your brand name will increase.

UX vs UI : Know The Difference

Let’s first take a look at an example.

In the picture above we can see two different types of ketchup bottles. The person on the left side is struggling to get the ketchup out but the person on the right is able to get the ketchup easily.

The way how a product (Ketchup in this case) is designed is User Interface and the overall experience of the customer is the User experience.

A detailed explanation of the above example can be found here.

From the above UX/UI design example we can draw that :

  • User Experience (UX) is how a user interacts with the product (digital or physical product ) whereas UI is the visuals and its function the user observes while interacting with the product.
  • UX encompasses all the experiences a person has with a product or service, whereas UI is specific to the means by which people interact with a product or service.
  • A UX designer is concerned with the conceptual aspects of the design process, leaving the UI designer to focus on the more tangible elements.

All these differences will tell you one thing that User Experience is a much broader concept than User Interface. In fact, UX encompasses the UI as a part of its process.

I hope through this example you were able to get an idea about the difference between UX and UI.

Now let us understand how UX and UI go hand in hand.

How do UX Design and UI Design Work Together?

A UX designer determines how the User Interface functions, whereas a UI designer determines how the User Interface appears. 

This is a very collaborative process, and the two design teams usually collaborate closely. 

The UI team is working on how all of these interface pieces will appear on screen while the UX team is working on the app’s flow, how all of the buttons direct you through your tasks, and how the interface quickly delivers up the information users need.

Let’s imagine it’s decided at some point during the design process that more buttons should be added to a particular screen. This will require a modification in the way the buttons are structured, as well as a change in their shape or size.

 The UX team would decide on the optimum layout for the buttons, while the UI teams would adjust their designs to meet the new layout. 

Constant communication and collaboration between UI and UX designers ensure that the final User Interface looks as excellent as it possibly can while also performing efficiently and intuitively.

What’s the Role of Research in the UX/UI Design Process?

Research is vital for both UI and UX designers. It’s important for both disciplines to gather as much good information as possible to assist them in crafting appropriate designs, and both follow a similar approach.

Both will research what users want. What they expect from applications of the sort being developed. 

This research is often iterative, involving usability sessions, where real users will interact with scaled versions of certain functionality or visual designs being tested to determine whether the designers are moving down the proper path. Feedback is integrated with each iteration.


Overall, UI and UX are very different from each other. UX is much more vast than UI.

UX designers are an important component of the process since good UX is critical to the success of your product and business. 

UX encompasses all the experiences a person has with a product or service, whereas UI is specific to the means by which people interact with a product or service.

You’ll end up with loyal customers who sing your praises and spread the news about your product if you place your customers’ needs at the centre of your design, learn about their expectations, and then surpass those expectations.

I hope this article helped you understand the UX vs UI debate and now you understand what is UX and UI and the difference between UX and UI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better UX designer or UI designer?

UX designers are skilled at identifying problems and making interfaces as easy to use as possible. A UX designer’s work is often less visual than that of a UI designer and requires an understanding of analytics and testing interfaces.

Who gets paid more UX or UI?

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary of a UX designer in India is ₹500,000/yr, while the average base salary of a UX designer is ₹720,000/yr.

Does UI/UX design require coding?

UI Designers do not need to code, but it is extremely beneficial if you have programming skills. Depending on the nature of the product, it’s also not unusual for UI/UX design and development to be intertwined into a single process.

Should I learn UI or UX first?

The order in which the design is to be done is UX first, then UI. While UI is the tool that transforms ideas into realities, UX is the brainstorming, the process of the product. UX encompasses many right strategies such as research, information architecture, analytics and data, and visual design.

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