UX vs UI – the Similarities and Differences Explained

In the world of technology, the debate about the importance of UX vs UI is very common. This is because there are a lot of misconceptions and even complications linked to the two terms. In this article, the two terms will be defined then the similarities and major differences will be carefully explained.

What is UX?

UX stands for user experience. It is technical term used to describe the feeling the user of a product, service or system has while using it. According to the International Standard Organization (ISO), user experience sums up the all the emotional feelings, preferences, beliefs, perceptions, psychological and physical responses and accomplishments that take place just before, during and even after the use of a system, product or service. For instance, the emotional feelings and joy you have when you use an online personal investment application that displays all your investment details on a single webpage is a good example of UX.

For additional information go to ux software.

What is UI?

UI stands for user interface. The term user interface is used to describe the system that enables users to interact with a machine. This interface includes both physical (hardware) and logical (software) components. Every user interface will provide a means of receiving input from the user. It will also have an output channel that will indicate the effects of the user’s input. With reference to the example used to illustrate user experience, the UI will be the graphs, the links, the buttons and the layout of the webpage that allows you to process the information stored on a database server.

Similarities between UX and UI:

The first major aspect that unites UX and UI is the focus on the users and their interaction with a machine, product or service. In designing the system, website or service, all the major activities such as visual design, information architecture, interaction design, usability, user research and content strategy are part of user experience design and user interface design.

Furthermore, both UX and UI are focused and customer satisfaction. The main objectives of UX and UI design are similar. Some of these objectives include converting prospects and first visitors to customers, turning customers into repeat buyers to improve sales and profits. So those who compare UX vs UI need to realize that there are both working towards similar goals.

UX vs UI – Explanation of Major Differences

The UI is tangible objective and very easy to define while UX is subjective, intangible and sometimes difficult to quantify. In fact to evaluate the UX, you need to consider the entire product, service, or system. The UI is just a subset of the UX.

Another important distinction is that the UI determines the actual limits of what the user can do with the machine, service or product. For instance, the user of a website can only interact with the site through the links, forms and buttons that the web designer has provided. So the UI is a major determining factor of the UX.

The UX will however determine the future use of the product or service. No matter how beautiful or attractive the UI may be, it is the UX that will indicate the modifications that will be added in the future versions of the system, product or service.

That was a brief discussion on UX vs UI – the similarities and differences. Now you can see that both UI and UX work together to ensure the user is fully satisfied with the system, product or service.

Helpful information can be found on user interface design tools page.

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Megan Wilson
Megan Wilson is user experience specialist & editor of UX Motel. She is also the Quality Assurance and UX Specialist at WalkMe Megan.w(at)walkme.com
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