What’s the difference between UX and UI design?

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Join us as we look at everything UX vs UI and find out just what the differences are

“The difference between UX and UI design is that UX (user experience) is the overall experience of someone using either a website or app. This includes navigation links, buttons and different functional elements. UI (user interface) is the design in which the user interacts with the website or app.”

 – Edwin O’Hara Close, Senior Designer at Five by Five Web Design

We’ve all heard of UX and UI, and we know they’re important to web design in the modern age, but… what actually are they?! And what’s the difference? 

At first glance, it’s easy to just lump them together, and while these two types of design are pretty closely intertwined, they also have some big differences. 

So, to get a hang of all this jibber jabber, let’s define them quickly:

UX stands for user experience. It encompasses all aspects of design focused on a user’s journey and overall – you guessed it – experience! It includes many areas, such as branding, usability, and functionality.

UI stands for user interface. This type of design focuses on the appearance of a website, piece of software, or app. Focusing on looks and style, good UI makes a digital product clear and enjoyable to use.

With the basics out of the way, let’s take a closer look at just what UX design is, what UI design is, the differences, the similarities, and everything in between – strap yourselves in, it’s time for take-off!

At Five by Five, we build great-looking, high-performing websites, and are known as one of the Gold Coast & Australia’s leading WordPress web design & SEO agencies. We are experts in UI and UX design and have 16+ years of experience in the web design industry. If you or your business need a new, high-performing digital solution, then contact us today and find out why we have 200+ 5* Google reviews.

What is user experience (UX) design?

User experience (UX) design is a diverse field covering everything from digital design to basic human psychology (and don’t UX designers just love to let you know all about that!). 

A good UX designer incorporates user research into their work, studying and developing concepts to build an easy-to-use product. Their duties involve:

  • User research
  • Creating wireframes
  • Coming up with user personas
  • Developing user journey maps
  • Performing user tests
  • Working collaboratively with a wide range of teams, including stakeholders, UI designers, and developers

While UX has recently become closely associated with the digital space, its origins really date back to when the first objects were designed – ever!

Think of a group of cavemen and their clubs. They will have made the clubs a certain weight and a certain thickness to optimise the handling while still giving enough force to clobber a deer or two. 

You can also think of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice that tries to ensure people have pleasurable interactions with buildings, objects, space, and the environment. When properly applying the philosophy of Feng Shui, the designer will always have the user in mind, making it an awesome example of the origins of UX. And yes, it goes much deeper than your friend Loretta recommending you move your couch around!

UX might mostly be associated with digital products, but it is still relevant in all areas of design, from children’s toys to web design. It is not a new idea or practice and has been around in one form or another for a long time.

Well, hopefully that gave you a better understanding of UX (and maybe made you want to rearrange the living room). Now, let’s take a closer look at UI.

What is user interface (UI) design?

User interface (UI) design focuses on the appearance and feel of a website, piece of software, or app. UI designers are responsible for creating the visual identity of a product with things like colour, font styles, button appearance, etc. They like to make things pretty! 

Their duties involve: 

  • Arranging page layouts
  • Choosing colour schemes and type fonts
  • Designing interactive elements such as buttons, drop-down menus, text fields, scrollers, etc.
  • Implementation of in-depth wireframes to give a taste of the final product
  • Working closely with the development team to ensure the design is implemented correctly

The term UI is also almost always used in regards to digital design, while you can use UX for physical design also, as mentioned previously. With that being said, parallels can be drawn with real-world design, which leads us to…

UX vs UI: what’s the difference?

Blog Ux Ui Graphic@2x (1)

In order to understand the difference between UX and UI design further, let’s draw parallels back to Feng Shui. 

Imagine you’re designing a room. The UX designer would design the overall layout and positioning of each object in the room, and the UI designer would choose the colours and textures of each object chosen to fill the space. This distinction can also help a lot of couples decide who’s in charge of what when redecorating their home! 

The focus of a UI designer is to essentially take the skeleton and structure that the UX designer has provided and ensure that it looks and feels great to the user. So UI kind of falls under the umbrella of UX. You could see them as being part of the same discipline, with UX being the broader term. 

The same individual often performs both UX and UI design duties; however, there are specialists in each discipline and heaps of jobs available for each career path.

Are you chasing a high-performing digital solution with UX and UI best practices always in mind?

At Five by Five, we deliver a combination of stunning design, robust technology and content that converts.

We are the only Gold Coast web developer to promise to double your website traffic and enquiries in under six months with a site you are proud of. 

With the best practices in both UX and UI design at the forefront of every project, we make sure that the user journey for our clients’ websites is always clear and simple whilst looking stunning. If you’d like to see what we can do, then take a look at some of our work

If you’re ready to strap yourself in and launch your business into the digital stratosphere, then contact us today!

About the author
Jon Hollenberg
With over 20 years experience within the web industry, Jon is an expert in online marketing and online growth strategies. Over the last ten years he has worked with iconic brands such as Qantas, Jeep and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary plus hundreds of other businesses Australia wide. Jon is a published author of "Love at first site - How to build the website of your dreams".
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