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What are the Differences Between UX and UI Design?

UX vs UI design 3D graphic


UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) are essential for website development for 2023. Both services share the same goal of designing for people first. Even though UX and UI are intertwined, many people are unclear as to how they work together. UX is how the user feels during the process, while UI is how the design looks. An average of 88% of online customers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience. Therefore, it is vital to incorporate UX and UI into your site.

What is UX design?

UX is how the user feels during the process

UX design is the problem-solving side of development. It focuses on the experience a user encounters with products or services. This insight focuses specifically on UX in a web and app development setting.

UX specialists consider the entire user experience from the moment a user enters a website or opens an app to the moment they leave – conducting in-depth research and analysis to understand user needs. They must carefully consider emotions, preferences, and behaviours before, during, and after users interact with the site or app. Using that understanding, they develop wireframes and prototypes of the product layout. UX designers develop the overall experience of your website or app.

Understanding the needs and expectations of customers, as well as addressing any pain points they may have, is crucial for improving conversion rate optimisation (CRO). By understanding the customer’s journey and identifying areas of improvement, businesses can make changes to their website to increase the likelihood of converting visitors into customers. 

The output of UX design service is to design a product or service that is easy to use while seamlessly fulfilling users’ needs and expectations.

What is UI design?

UI is how the design looks

UI design is the visual and interactive side of development. Once the UX specialist has completed the wireframes and developed the prototypes, they are forwarded to the UI designer, who incorporates colours, fonts, and icons onto the prototypes, while also making the content interactive (if applicable).  

UI also focuses on how different users use the website or app. As part of this, UI will consider the accessibility and integrating features for people with disabilities, including but not limited to larger fonts, accessible colours and high-contrast mode options.

Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect

Tim Berners-Lee  

UI designers focus on developing the finishing touches on individual pages, ensuring all elements are functional. 

The output of UI design service is to create a desirable and atheistically pleasing product.

UX Design Example

The differences between UX & UI design

In web and app development, UX and UI are interlinked; the design of a website or application interface directly impacts its usability. Yet, there are some differences between how UX and UI function.

[1/2] UX design process 

Research: The UX specialist conducts in-depth user research and user analysis to understand what matters to the customer utilising a series of measures such as:  

  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Usability Tests
  • Open surveys
  • Journey mapping
  • Infinite diagrams
  • Information Architecture

Define: The UX designer plans the user flow using diagrams and considers each step a user might take through the website or app. Once the user flow is created, the wireframes are developed.

For all web design and prototyping projects, wireframes are essential. Foremost, wireframes reduce the risk and cost of bad design. In addition, developing wireframes minimises the cost of the extensive design process and web build, leaving you with a result you can be happy with. Wireframes, more importantly, illustrate how the web or app will function, identifying strengths and weaknesses before the product goes into development.

Wireframe types are broken into categories – Low, Medium and High fidelity wireframes.

Wireframes outline a digital experience and are representations of the UI design

Types of wireframes in UX design

Design & Prototype: At this stage, the UX and UI designers come together to collab. The UX designer passes on the low, medium or high fidelity to the UI designer who can develop the static wireframes into interactive ones. 

Once developed into a prototype, the wireframe can be made interactive, for example, with clickable buttons. Once the client approves the prototype, the testable prototypes are passed onto web developers (front-end or back-end development) to integrate into the website build.

Validate: The UX specialist team run testing measures such as usability reporting and A/B testing to see if the design works with users, which involves observing real users using the product through various means. To further analyse the results of the prototypes, the UX specialist team studies the data to gain additional insights, such as time spent and bounce rate on analytic platforms such as GA4. 

The diagram below shows that the research and define stages are sequential. In contrast, validation, prototype and design continuously loop around (as the experience is needed to be constantly changed and improved) for the user’s overall experience.  

UX Design Process Explained / Madcraft

[2/2] UI design process 

UI focuses on visual and interactive elements.

  • Typography: UI tests and pairs different font types and families to create hierarchy and clarity. 
  • Spacing: UI uses spacing for structure between elements. This includes consideration of font spacing, padding, and white and negative space. UI design focuses on using spacing correctly so the prototype is not overcrowded with too much information or too many elements.
  • Color: UI understands the principles of color usage for hierarchy, readability, and expression. UI design uses color, light, and contrast to benefit usability and readability.

Why do I need UX/UI service for my website?

UX and UI are necessary to increase revenue, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. 

Here are the top reasons for incorporating UX & UI into your website or app.  

  • Increase revenue: Providing a satisfactory customer experience is guaranteed to ensure increased revenue as customers as a customer spend longer browsing on your platform. 
  • Increase customer satisfaction: This is a massive benefit of UX/UI. Users want an experience that is simple and straightforward. Increased customer satisfaction is guaranteed to increase customer retention – customers will return to a site they enjoy.  
  • Reduce costs: Using wireframes and prototypes means making alterations, adding elements, or changing transitions can be cost-effective and save time.
UX Design on Mobile File

While UX and UI design have different functions, they sync to create a great digital experience. With the average user spending less than fifteen seconds deciding if a website meets their needs, UX and UI have never been so important. 

UX and UI can help your website or app be straightforward and easy to use versus complicated and frustrating. If you are interested in learning more about UX and UI design or are considering incorporating it into your strategy, contact our UX/UI designers at Madcraft. 

Key points

  • UX focuses on how the user feels during the process, while UI focuses on UI is how the design looks
  • UX involves in-depth user research, wireframes, and prototyping.  
  • UI focuses on design elements such as colors, typography, iconography, and photos (and accessibility)
  • UX/UI services significantly reduce costs and increase revenue, conversion rate/CRO, and customer satisfaction. 

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