This article has been contributed by Saha William.
User experience (UX) is the end result of User Interface design (UI)… If that’s what you wanted to hear, there you have it. Take it and leave it!
However, if you landed on this post with a resolve to understand what UX and UI design truly mean and what makes them apart, then read on as I will gladly unfold the mystery before you in as plain English as possible. So, are you with me? Good!
First of all, I’d like to purge the wrong misconception, which most people have in their mind about UX and UI, that the two terms are same and interchangeable. The answer is no, No and a BIG NO. There is a massive difference between both the terms in that UI, basically, works as a system that the users interact with so that their needs can be attained.
User Experience (UX), on the other hand, defines the totality of the emotions evoked in a user when he/she connects with that system, and not just the interface.
In a nutshell, both UI and UX work towards the realization of one common goal: brand influence on a users’ mind and heart.
What is User Interface? (UI)
Let’s take a plunge into these two oceans separately and understand how they converge to create one principal goal, user engagement. Let’s start with the most common one, User Interface.
Before delving into what UI is, let’s define what it is not… A UI is not about providing eye-candy to the user.
The role of the User Interface is to provide a system for a user to interact with the product / service. The visuals of this system are the by-product of creating this system.
You need to ask yourself “What does my user want”? Do they want a clutter of startling 3D elements, gradients or fade effects? Or, does he simply wish to use a system that can help him meet his needs effortlessly? In my opinion, and probably yours too, it is the latter.
In short, the prime purpose of a UI is to provide a system to fulfill the needs of its users. Below are some ingredients of an ideal UI.
Be consistent throughout the interface
The secret of user retention lies in the consistency of the layout of interface, which in turn will yield a satisfactory user experience. So, use consistent fonts, color schemes, buttons and effects throughout the design. Ensure you have a strong brand identity to pull everything together.
Present an obvious / intuitive layout
Don’t leave your user with a “figure-out-yourself” interface but present them with something they can easily use – something clear, obvious and intuitive. An user on-boarding process can help users get familar with complex systems.
To err is user, to forgive is developer
Don’t forget that your users are humans and, thus, they tend to make mistakes. Therefore, keep your interface flexible. Remember it should be able to recover from errors that your users might make.
Use clear message or labels
Indeed, clarity of the textual content should be your primary concern here because it is the only thing that allows you users to feel connected with the interface. It’s better if you get your content edited before publishing on the main site.
Though there are dozens of more factors that make up an ideal interface, the aforementioned ones are the most important ones.
What is User Experience? (UX)
Now it’s time to dive deep into the second ocean, User Experience or UX. Basically, the term user experience is usually tagged with the word “design” which makes it user experience design. So, you get it…this is the reason why many of us gets confused between UI and UX design.
User Experience Wheel
UX is the umbrella term that shelters all the aspects that bring us closer to our main goal. These aspects include, content, information architecture, interaction design, user research, usability, information architecture.
Now the question is what UX really means to you, me and the target users? Basically, if you extract out the emotions from your website, app or brand, then you will end up creating an apathetic sense in your users to your brand.
However, if you put emotions, care and sentiment in your brand, you will be able to connect with your user at a psychological level and, thus, influence their heart and mind more efficiently. This is, in short, what UX or User Experience is all about.
Recipe for an Ideal UX
- Understand user behavior
- Identify elements that influence the end-user
- Identify user behavior in terms of engagement like texting, on-the-go, at workplace, etc.
- Research on behavioral trends
- Understand what ticks the mode of users
Summing Up the Matter
Well, I can literally tease this subject all day long because there’s a lot more in these fields than what meets the eye. The debate on this matter is still going on and thousands of posts are still being published to date only to spread the word that UI and UX are not the same, though UX makes considerable contribution to it.
Do you have another definition of what User Experience or User Interface design is?