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What is the difference between UI and UX design?

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Your users' journey informs the interface design. Your design impacts the user journey. And so, user experience and interface design go hand-in-hand in the creation of digital products. Let's dig down into each role.

The UX and UI Roles and Intersection Graphic


What is User Experience (UX) design?

User experience design "encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products."

— Don Norman, Cognitive Scientist & User Experience Architect

UX design includes all interactions customers have with your product and every element that helps them accomplish their desired tasks. 

What is the UX designer's role?

Their chief role is to consider the user's goals balanced with the company's objectives. UX designers live at the intersection of market research, product development, and design. They focus on what I call Double F — function and feeling — that is to say, how digital products work and how customers feel about using them. 

UX Designer At Work

What does a UX designer do?

As you'll see, UX designers have little to do with aesthetics or graphic design. They’re problem solvers and researchers who can make their way through data.

Top 7 UX designer tasks:  

  1. Execute market research
  2. Conduct user interviews
  3. Perform online surveys
  4. Map user journeys
  5. Create user personas 
  6. Map out wireframes
  7. Ensure optimal product functionality

What is User Interface (UI) design?

UI design brings together concepts from graphic design, information architecture, and interaction design to create digital interfaces and applications. It combines visual design with an understanding of how to create UI elements that facilitate users’ desired actions. UI design has a substantial impact on the user experience.

What is the UI designer's role?

Their primary job is to create a visually appealing product. UI designers focus on the user’s visual experience and the cosmetics of a digital interface. They are concerned with looks and style, but share a role in making sure the experience is effortless and smooth by way of smart design choices.

UI Designer In Action

What does a UI designer do?

UI designers have everything to do with visual communication and graphical design, receiving input and wireframes from the UX designer. They are thinkers and visual designers. 

Top 7 UI designer tasks: 

  1. Create mock-ups
  2. Devise layout and navigation 
  3. Develop branding and graphics 
  4. Create or deploy color palette
  5. Design buttons, icons, and scrollbars
  6. Build style guidelines
  7. Understand functionality

Now that you know

Understanding the positions of the UX designer and UI designer — and how they complement one another — is important to ensure the digital products you create provide the desired user experience. While each designers’ tasks are critical to the end result, they require completely different skill sets, and one person usually can’t fill both roles.

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