From our point of view, there is also confusion between the two disciplines, and this happens many times because we are in the habit of using the two terms interchangeably as UI / UX Design, implying that we are describing the same thing.
So we think today is a good time to comment on the main characteristics that differentiate them, and how they are related.
What is UI design?
"UI" represents the "user interface". The user interface is the graphic design, template, or graphic layout of a website, web page, or application.
The UI is all the elements with which the user interacts - the buttons, the text, the fields to enter the text, the images, etc. – taking into account all the types of interaction, micro-interaction, and animations.
The UI designer is a graphic designer concerned about aesthetics, and responsible for defining how the application will look, selecting the shapes of the buttons and colors, the size of the fonts for the texts, the size of the lines, etc. Summarizing, the UI professional designs the appearance of an application's user interface, keeping in mind the purpose of the website, ensuring that all components work together in a unified way.
We can say that a user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it's not that good.
What is UX design?
"UX" represents "user experience". On a web page, the user experience is defined by how the user interacts with it.
The user experience designer is concerned with making the experience intuitive and fluid, as well as making the navigation logical for the site/app users, and helping them to carry out the proposed tasks. In sum, the UX design must determine how easy or difficult it is for a user to interact with the elements of the interface created by the UI designer.
In fact, we think this is where the confusion begins. A UX designer must also be concerned with the user interface (UI) of a website, but while the UI designer must decide on the appearance, the UX designer must be concerned with how the user interface works (the structure of the interface, functionalities, organization, etc.), and the fact that the website is usable.
Interactive analysis and wireframes
The UX designer also performs interactive analysis, creating wireframes, low-fidelity prototypes, which reflect user interactions in order to receive feedback from the users themselves. In this way, the UX designer knows exactly how the user prefers to interact with the application.
The UX designer ensures that the website is functionally operational. A “UX-friendly” web page is one in which the user is able to navigate logically, find what they are looking for effortlessly, and close it, satisfied.
UI Design vs UX Design
As you have seen, UI design and UX design require different skills, but they depend, working in harmony and collaboratively, leaning on each other to make your application or website a success for your business. You want your beautiful web application to be functional and navigable, and at the same time you need your website with the best user experience to be visually attractive – so here you use the winning combo of the UI/UX design.
Therefore, there are profiles that are essential to developing a web project. UI design and UX design are two of these profiles, which must also be well aligned to create both good user experience and a good user interface. In this way, your website is more likely to provide an optimal digital experience, and it also becomes a good conversion tool that allows you to improve ROI.
Now that you know the basic differences between a UI and UX design, so you already know how to prioritize your web development project. Each of the roles occupies its own place in web development, and these two must work together to create a successful website. Your website cannot be just pretty, or just operational.
In addition, and to finish, we think it is worth remembering that whenever there is a change that affects usability, but also affects the visual elements, you must have the UI professional to reorganize the fields, and texts, however, it is the UX professional who has the last word on the arrangement of the elements on the page. Of course, the goal should always be to improve the user experience of the website.
Once we have defined both, we can see the differences, focus on the importance of each practice, and achieve happier users with the visual and structural design as well as the look and feel of our next project.