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What is the meaning of UI and UX? What is the difference between them?

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The meaning of UI and UX

When talking about creating a digital product or service, an average user usually describes two types of activities during the workflow: programming and design. Design can be divided into two tasks: UI and UX.

Quite complex processes lie behind the two acronyms. In this blog post, we will compare the tasks of two designers. Let's see what UI and UX design means.

What is the difference between UI and UX?

First of all: what do the acronyms UI and UX mean?

  • UI refers to the term User Interface
  • UX refers to the term User Experience

We would already highlight that both elements are crucial for the development of a product. It is important to talk about two closely cooperating areas during daily work. Despite the close professional relationship, the responsibilities of "UI" and "UX" are quite different, they deal with different aspects of design.

Let’s take an example! In a car, the fact that the car maintains its speed due to the cruise control gives the driver a nice user experience. So does the automatic transmission. It makes driving easier for the driver. This is UX. The UI on the other hand makes the car attractive, its purpose is to make anyone who wants to buy a car fall in love with the vehicle even based on just one image. And if you've fallen in love with it, it's the UX's job to ensure the purchase during a good test drive.

But before we dig deeper into the differences and similarities between UI and UX, let's take a look at what they mean individually.

meaning of UI

User Interface (UI):

UI refers to the term User Interface. This is the interface where the user and the software communicate with each other to achieve a specific task or goal.

You are for example currently on a user interface, which is a blog post.

The user interface is therefore primarily responsible for control. It enables this with the following elements:

  • Buttons, touch buttons, switches, sliders
  • Key commands, combinations
  • Voice control

The user interface can traditionally be divided into 3 parts. In our post, we discuss the latter:

  • CLI: Command Line Interface
  • TUI: Text User Interface
  • GUI: Graphic User Interface

Tasks of a UI designer:

Let's see what tasks a UI designer deals with during his daily work:

  • works closely with UX designers and developers
  • understands the processes created by the UX designer
  • conducts research in order to develop the appropriate design
  • designs buttons, icons and animations
  • chooses and designs typography (letter style) and color palettes
  • creates branding
  • creates user guides
  • creates wireframes and UI prototypes
  • responsive design: designs for different display sizes
  • is responsible for the implementation in cooperation with the developers

A UI designer therefore both feels and knows what stylistic trend fits a given digital product than plans and creates them. During the work, he closely cooperates with UX designers and developers. Last but not least, he constantly follows the latest visual trends to keep his knowledge and approach up-to-date.

What skills are needed to be a good UI designer?

  • communication, empathy, open-mindedness
  • adaptability and cooperation
  • creativity and problem solving
  • visual branding: typography, color theory, icon design
  • wireframe and prototype making
  • knowledge of responsive design
  • animation and interactivity

meaning o UX

User Experience (UX):

UX stands for User Experience.

If we recall the examples listed under the concept of UI, then UX gives the answer that:

  • where is the best place to place the given button so that as many people as possible will click on it,
  • what word should the voice control start with, what functions should be available with it,
  • and what keyboard shortcuts would simplify the user's work?

The user experience includes all interactions of the user in connection with the use of the given product or service.

Tasks of a UX designer

UX designer is still a relatively new profession which is why so many people confuse it or do not choose it separately from UI designer. However, the task of a UX designer is user experience design, which can be said to be a more complex task of a different nature.

A UX Designer:

  • works closely with management, UI designer and programmers
  • conducts market research and user research
  • analyzes the user experience of competitors' products / services
  • audits: i.e. prepares a UX audit for an existing user interface from the user's perspective
  • makes wireframes and prototypes
  • tests and integrates the platforms
  • hands over the designs and research results to the UI designer
  • and last but not least, he constantly educates himself and informs himself about the latest UX trends.

In summary: a UX designer creates a persona about the users, and then puts itself in the persona's position in order to improve the user's experience during use. It tests a lot and is constantly improving based on the feedback.

Its characteristics

What skills are needed to be a good UX designer?

  • cooperation, communication and open-mindedness
  • empathy
  • curiosity and continuous learning
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • familiarization with user research and analysis techniques
  • wireframe and prototype making
  • understanding information architecture
  • user and usability testing

How do they work together? The relationship between UX and UI, summary

  1. The UX designer / UX researcher conducts user research
  2. The UX designer develops business product ideas with the company's managers/management
  3. The UX designer creates wireframes and prototypes
  4. The UX designer performs primary user tests before handing over the tasks to the UI designer
  5. The UI designer creates all the visual and interactive features of the product, e.g. choosing the color scheme, designing icons and typography, and creating animations
  6. The UI designer creates interactive, high-fidelity prototypes for further user testing
  7. The UI designer hands over the final design to the developers who code the product to life

In summary, UI is how we interact with a product (buttons, developers, sliders, etc.), while UX deals with how a user feels during this overall interaction.

Interested in UX? Try our UX training!

Or are you more of a graphic artist? Check out our UI courses!