UX vs UI design – is it a fair fight?

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The Difference Between UX and UI

UX vs UI design – the differences and similarities

The short answer to the question is – not really. We explain how UX and UI differ from each other and how they actually work together so you can decide for yourself!

What is UX design?

UX stands for User Experience design. Put simply, the user experience determines how a website works and feels.

User Experience values include a combination of design, strategy, and technological implementation.

UX design requires the following:

  • Usability Testing
  • User Research
  • User Stories
  • User Personas
  • Wireframes

Robert Wong of Google’s Creative Lab states that user experience must have a purpose:

UX vs UI - Robert Wong Quote UX Purpose

What is UI design?

UI stands for User Interface design. In the most simple words- the user interface determines how a website looks.

User Interface values combine functionality, convenience and aesthetic appeal.

From a technical perspective, UI includes:

  • Layout
  • Branding
  • Visual Design
    • Color
    • Content
    • Action buttons
    • Typography
  • Wireframes

How are UX and UI different?

UX and UI are different because UX designers create an experience. Alternatively, UI designers focus primarily on the visual aspect of a website (including the color scheme, branding, and content used).

UX designers must complete user research to understand how the final user will navigate the website, the top priority needs of the user and how technology can be used to make the process easier. Alternatively, UI designers must have an understanding of how colors, layouts, and content can either inspire or overwhelm the user.

UX vs UI shown visually

A UX vs UI Example: Coffee Drinking

UX example: In the example depicted below, the UX designer decided that a spoon improves the coffee drinking experience because many users enjoy stirring their coffee and cream together. The UX designer also determined that two cookies are a tasty offering for the user because many users see the cookies as an unexpected gift from the café.

UI example: In the next level, UI designers decide that using a crisp, white cup creates a beautiful contrast with the brown coffee. The white cup also elicits a feeling of freshness and cleanliness. The UI designer created a sensory experience by choosing a modern, silver spoon to go alongside the coffee cup.

In conclusion the UI designer created the visual experience that the user experience, although the UX designer would have ensured that the user’s needs were fully met.

Is UX or UI more important?

Neither are more important than the other. They work cooperatively together. If either the UX or UI design is struggling, then it will impact customer conversion. A slight UI change to a button’s color can increase conversion 10x. A change to a website’s navigation can similarly increase or decrease website conversions. They are dependent on each other and offer similar value to website owners and their users.

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