Technology August 2, 2016 Last updated August 1st, 2016 1,816 Reads share

UI vs UX: A Minor Dispute With Major Differences

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Does your smartphone app deliver a memorable experience through an aesthetic interface?

Most businesses want this. However, I always wanted to ask them whether they knew anything about what this is all about? Most of them will give a puzzled look, or probably give an answer displaying their shallow knowledge on the subject.

Today, we will be clearing the air surrounding what we know as User Interface (UI), and User Experience (UX). Before that, we just want you to first understand that if your app creates confusion in terms of looks, or hard in terms of usability, then users will abandon it.

Both concepts are used interchangeably in most contexts, which is wrong. In fact, most of us consider UI designers and UX designers on the same stage, expecting the same results from both sides. However, as we just pointed out above indirectly, UI is all about how good your app should look, and UX is all about how good the usability factor of the app is.

Let’s just start with our main discussion by pointing out the differences between UI designers and UX designers.

UI Designer VS UX Designer: Job Roles & Responsibilities

When we talk about user interface, a UI designer’s job is to design an entire interface for your app, by integrating elements and components dependent upon each other through triggers and actions. They are responsible for the following job responsibilities:

• How good is the visual design of an app?
• What content is used to make the design appear interactive?
• How compatible is the app design with the input devices?
• What tools are used by developers to get everything in place through coding?
• Which user controls complete a specific app screen?
• What call to action buttons should be placed?
• Is the app compatible enough to deliver output on a range of devices?

Whereas, on the other hand, talking about user experience, a UX designer’s job is to check whether everything has been implemented properly, or not, within the app, satisfying users by working according to their will. They are responsible for the following job responsibilities:

• How to collaborate with the stakeholders, to get the best feedback out of them, whether positive or negative?
• How to design a prototype that will give a brief preview of the actual app?
• How to sketch a product, for analyzing the app on paper?
• Does the app score full marks on providing utmost user satisfaction?
• Is the app properly mapped as per the business requirements, and user needs?
• How to use the data analytics results to your maximum advantage?
• How to test the app features and functionalities through various testing methods?

There is a huge difference in the ‘mindsets’

UI designers are majorly concerned with how users feel when they interact with an app, while UX designers are majorly concerned with what users want to do with the app. They have a completely different way of approaching their work. We can explain this to you by taking a simple, but very useful example.

We gave the same task to both UI designer and UX designer, and what we saw was how differently they approached the same problem. We told them to introduce a product or service on a page, accompanied with a call to action, so that users can contact us right away to avail of the product or service instantly. It was interesting to see two different aspects of analysis.

When the task came to the UI designer, she thought about how to make the call to action attractive enough to grab user eyeballs? Why not place it on the top of the page, so that users need not scroll through the page. Instead, they can act upon the button without going through the hustle of scrolling down. Even better, it would make it appear dynamically.

Whereas, when the same task was given to the UX designer, he created a logical hierarchy of where to place the graphics and content, not to forget adding a CTA right at the bottom. His logic was, letting users go through content to know what we have to offer them, and how it would be useful. Towards the end, when users know everything, they will be convinced to click the CTA.

Therefore, what can we conclude from this? UI designers think from a practical perspective. They are all concerned about how the app should appear to the users. While UX designers think from a logical perspective. They are all concerned about the flow in which app elements or components appear so that users are clear about their actions by the time they reach the Call to Action buttons.

Wrapping up our thoughts

Most of them consider a thin line of difference between UI designers and UX designers. The interchangeability is so aggressive that many businesses do not think even twice about allocating a UI task to a UX designer and UX task to a UI designer. Most businesses do not even bother, and only understand the term “designer”, rather than differentiating it as UI or UX designer.
However, as per our discussion, a UI designer is the one whose:

• Thinking is creative and convergent.
• Design based on client needs and requirements.
• Role sometimes interchanges with that of a graphic designer, brand designer, web designer, or even a frontend developer.

Whereas, a UX designer is the one whose:

• Thinking is critical and user focused.
• Design based on user wants and research.
• Role sometimes interchanges with that of an information architect, program manager, content strategist, or even a functional analyst.

No matter how you perceive them, it is very important to have both the designers on board if you want your app to be a complete solution. UI designers think from a business perspective, while UX designers think from a user perspective. Anyhow, you have to have both in order to create a win-win scenario. Without a UI designer in place, you are losing the professional touch to an app. While, in the absence of a UX designer, you are losing the personal touch to an app. Your app should maintain a 50:50 balance between practicality and emotions, to stand out from the crowd.

Image: Vector linear UI UX icons for web design and application

Ashesh Shah

Ashesh Shah

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