More often than not, I have had to explain the difference between UI and UX to my clients and designers alike. I also remember this being the most dreadful question during our design class tests, because despite having mugged it down from multiple notes we still would get confused.
But after seven years of my professional life as a web designer and developer, I can say one thing for sure: these two are although two sides of the same coin called a successful website design, they are still not similar enough to be used synonymously as it usually is, mostly by the kids just starting in the field.
Even if you are getting this done from a firm or your own IT department, as the end client or supervisor, you have the equal need to understand what is it that you are actually expecting from your team, and the possibilities as well as limitations thereof.
UX or user experience, is the ultimate end result or (as the name suggests) the experience that users will ultimately derive from your website, or application or your software. The UI, or user interface on the other hand, is the means to achieve that final goal of a good user experience.
So, what do you think is the first thing a user notices about your website the moment the page opens? The design? The pictures? The colors? Or the latest king of online presence, the content? Well, a bit of all, but only after they have had an instantaneous perception of the look and feel of the screen in front of them.
Research shows that these two, coupled with the ease of usability decides in the first 0.65 seconds whether the user will stay and read on, or press that little cross on your tab’s corner.
Look at the biggest brands in the world. Apple, Disney, Starbucks– are legendarily famed to be the brands that prioritise user experience more than anything else. The most important factor that any business today exists for is, in the end, to attract new business.
But if you fail to give to your customers that extra something from your competitors, it is hardly going to make any difference to them how good your work quality is, or how experienced your designers are or how many awards your agency got. And that is not all. A bad design will not only stop the inflow of new business, but in fact, result in the negative flow! So much for your new ‘cool’ website.