Understanding the Connection Between UI and UX Design

May 8, 2015In Interface, Experience4 Minutes

There’s a lot of confusion on the difference between UI/UX design. UI design is all about working on the user interface that people interact with in order to navigation a site or use a function of an app. UX design is about working on the user’s experience as a whole. This includes load times, clean presentation format, valuable content, etc. Basically, UI falls under the umbrella of UX but when people talk about UI it’s precisely about UI in of itself rather than bringing in the entire topic of UX. Although UI/UX design is interconnected, they do have their key differences.

Despite that, there is a cause and effect between a great user interface and the overall user experience. The user interface on a website determines how intuitive and easy it is for the user to browse the website and find what he is looking for. As a result, a well-designed UI results in an improved UX. Similarly, a well-designed UI on an app allows users to easily run the functions of the app and explore its capabilities.

Screen displaying coding for UI/UX design

You may think that the UI is simply the navigation menu or the buttons on an app, but it can do more in terms of delivering a better experience. For example, in lengthy content, a mini menu that links to various parts of a page can help users keep track of their content consumption and skip over to the parts of the content that they want to read. On one hand, it’s like a miniature UI and on the other hand it is a tool that improves the experience significantly.

On smartphone apps, UI may even be more important than on a website. In many cases, the UI determines the feel and flow of the app. If the UI is well-designed, it breaks the barrier of the user having to learn how to use the app. A UI that’s attractive and easy to use is what wins fans provided that you deliver on the promises functions. This will prove very valuable in the crowded app marketplace where there are tons of similar apps competing against each other.

Users tend to come back to apps that are easier to use and provide a faster reward. A great UI will lead users to reap the benefits of the app quicker. It will lead to better engagement and make the user feel that the app is valuable. This is your goal as it is common for people to have multiple apps on their mobile devices and end up only using a small percentage of them. Basically, if the UI leads to a positive experience, it’s likely that the user will be keen on to using it again in the future.

Hopefully, these examples have helped you see the connection between UI/UX design. There are various aspects of UX and UI is only one part of the greater picture. There are many other parts of UX that does not involve UI in the slightest bit. Again, this can be anything from the load times, organization of the content, quality of the content, features, functionalities, to the formatting of the site. With that said, working on the UI is a great place to start if the overall goal is to deliver the best experience possible.

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