At the center of the design is the user. Whether you are creating an event poster or designing a wedding dress, the user is the center of it all. When designing for the user in mind, two terms always come up: User Interface and User Experience. In this article, I will demystify what the two terms mean, their differences, and how they work together.
User Experience (UX)
User experience encompasses all interactions the user has with a product or service. For instance, let us take the example of the movie streaming app, Netflix. Long before the luxury of online streaming, you had to go to the movie shop where you could rent or purchase a compact disk (CD). After the purchase, you would need to have a DVD Player to be able to watch the movie on your television. Netflix on the other hand you just need a smartphone, smart television, or laptop. As a user, you will pay a monthly subscription to be able to view and watch as many movies as is on the platform.
‘User experience’ encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products.' - Don Norman
User Interface (UI)
The user interface is all the digital interactions a user will have with the application. It is what the user sees, feels, and hears. When you get into the Netflix home-page, you are greeted with a variety of movie options, top features, and different elements. What stands out is the consistency all throughout the application.
What's the difference between User Interface and User Experience?
User experience the interaction of the product, whereas User interface are all the elements that you to interact with a product or service.
UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem, UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function - Ken Norton – Partner at Google Ventures, Ex-Product Manager at Google
How does UI and UX interact
Most job roles I have come across normally require a UI/UX designer. Question is, What are the different roles in both? As I earlier stated, the user is at the centre of the product.
As a User Experience designer, you are required to understand the user needs and translate them into meaningful user interactions. Most tasks in UX deal with research, conducting user surveys, interviews, creating user journeys, maps among many others.
A UI designer on the other hand is in charge of translating the different research and interactions into meaningful designs. Their role includes, interface layout, visual design, interaction design and establishing visual guidelines.
Summary and Next steps
The roles of a UX and a UI designer are wide and diverse with each specializing on different elements of your application.
I have tried to demystify the roles as much as possible. You can read more on this topic at: