Design: UX vs. UI


Being a designer is a very broad term in which many can misuse and confuse easily. You could be an industrial, print, interior or tech designer, all have different job descriptions in different industries. Speaking in terms of the tech industry there are two commonly used types of web and mobile app designers, UX and UI.

You often hear the terms UX and UI, but what do they actually mean? UX stands for User Experience and UI is User Interface. While they are two distinct concepts and have different actions in the design process they are both closely intertwined to the point one cannot exist without the other.

“User Experience” tends to be used as a broad term and often times different things can be grouped under the larger term but speaking in the realm of digital it is the inception of a product dedicated for a User always defined as the user or group of users and it’s goal is to establish the best form of engagement between the product and it’s user within a designated goal. The UX focuses on all the processes required to build this product which is ruled by purpose.

Once the User Experience is determined, “User Interface” or UI comes into the picture. Since the UX defined the clear goal, and a purpose for the interface, guides the interaction with the user has to be created for the product, it is now time to figure out how the layout will work. This will not be a random array of controls and style choices, but custom made efforts that target the specific needs and behaviors of the user, and will achieve the overall goal and purpose of the product. UI designers are responsible for creating a cohesive style guide, as well as ensuring that a consistent design language is carried out throughout the product. The UI designer must be able to make sure that the screens they are creating communicates clearly to what the UX designer has laid out.

Can one exist without the other? No, UX without UI is a plan, a thought, a strategy. UI on it’s own is just a graphic anecdote that lacks clear purpose. Be sure to check out our design page.