What Is UI Design? What Is UX Design? UI vs UX: What’s The Difference (2023)

UI design and UX design are two of the most often confused and conflated terms in web and app design. And understandably so. They’re usually placed together in a single term, UI/UX design, and viewed from the surface they seem to be describing the same thing. It’s often hard to find solid descriptions of the two that don’t descend too far into jargon. But fear not!

What follows is an easy-to-digest primer on these terms.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a good understanding of what differentiates them and how they relate to each other. So let’s dive in!

What is UI Design?

The user interface is the graphical layout of an application. It consists of the buttons users click on, the text they read, the images, sliders, text entry fields, and all the rest of the items the user interacts with. This includes screen layout, transitions, interface animations and every single micro-interaction.

The “UI” in UI design stands for “user interface.” The user interface is the graphical layout of an application. It consists of the buttons users click on, the text they read, the images, sliders, text entry fields, and all the rest of the items the user interacts with. This includes screen layout, transitions, interface animations and every single micro-interaction. Any sort of visual element, interaction, or animation must all be designed.

This job falls to UI designers and UI/UX design agencies. They decide what the application is going to look like. They have to choose color schemes and button shapes — the width of lines and the fonts used for text. UI/UX designers create the look and feel of an application’s user interface.

(Video) What is UI vs. UX Design? | What's The Difference? | UX/UI Explained in 2 Minutes For BEGINNERS.

UI designers are graphic designers. They’re concerned with aesthetics. It’s up to them to make sure the application’s interface is attractive, visually-stimulating and themed appropriately to match the purpose and/or personality of the app. And they need to make sure every single visual element feels united, both aesthetically, and in purpose.

What is UX Design?

“UX” stands for “user experience.” A user’s experience of the app is determined by how they interact with it. Is the experience smooth and intuitive or clunky and confusing? Does navigating the app feel logical or does it feel arbitrary? Does interacting with the app give people the sense that they’re efficiently accomplishing the tasks they set out to achieve or does it feel like a struggle? User experience is determined by how easy or difficult it is to interact with the user interface elements that the UI designers have created.

What Is UI Design? What Is UX Design? UI vs UX: What’s The Difference (2)

So UX designers are also concerned with an application’s user interface, and this is why people get confused about the difference between the two. But whereas UI designers are tasked with deciding how the user interface will look, UX designers are in charge of determining how the user interface operates also known as UX strategy.

They determine the structure of the interface and the functionality. How it’s organized and how all the parts relate to one another. In short, they design how the interface works. If it works well and feels seamless, the user will have a good experience. But if navigation is complicated or unintuitive, then a lousy user experience is likely. UX designers work to avoid the second scenario.

Designing in a vacuum leads to less than ideal results.

There’s also a certain amount of iterative analysis involved in UX design. UX designers will create wireframe rendering of their interface interactions and get user feedback. They’ll integrate this into their designs. It’s important for UX designers to have a holistic understanding of how users prefer to interact with their applications.

(Video) What is UI vs. UX Design? A Practical Example in Under 6 Minutes

How They Work Together

So a UX designer decides how the user interface works while the UI designer decides how the user interface looks. This is a very collaborative process, and the two design teams tend to work closely together. As the UX team is working out the flow of the app, how all of the buttons navigate you through your tasks, and how the interface efficiently serves up the information user’s need, the UI team is working on how all of these interface elements will appear on screen.

Let’s say at some point in the design process it’s decided that extra buttons need to be added to a given screen. This will change how the buttons will need to be organized and could require changing their shape or size. The UX team would determine the best way to lay out the buttons while the UI teams adapt their designs to fit the new layout. Constant communication and collaboration between UI and UX designers help to assure that the final user interface looks as good as it can, while also operating efficiently and intuitively.

(Video) Product Design vs. UI UX Design: What's the Difference?

Research is Key

Research is vital for both UI and UX designers. It’s important for both disciplines to gather as much good information as possible to assist them in crafting appropriate designs, and both follow a similar approach.

Both will research what users want. What they expect from applications of the sort being developed. This research is often iterative, involving usability sessions, where real users will interact with scaled versions of certain functionality or visual designs being tested to determine whether the designers are moving down the proper path. Feedback is integrated with each iteration.

This process involves generating low fidelity prototypes, like wireframe renderings of interface elements in order to gauge a user’s response strictly to the functionality being tested. This can also involve fast visual prototypes and A/B tests of different possible versions of the look and feel of the interface to determine which one users prefer.

In all cases research helps guide the steps designers take as they build their contributions. However, the information UI and UX designers are looking for is very different.

Research in UI Designs

UI designers need to make sure the visual language they choose fits the class of application they’re writing. They’re trying to predict user expectations. If your team is designing a travel app, it’s important to research how other travel apps have been developed in the past. Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t? There are design lessons to be learned from the work others have done before.

Research might indicate that people prefer outlined icons instead of bold shapes. This is a visual shorthand that people are comfortable with and enjoy. UI designers would then do well to incorporate that lesson.

The exact aesthetic they choose is up to them, but the basic “rules,” or the need to conform to user expectations, is something designers ignore at their own risk.Not to say risks shouldn’t be taken. UI designers want their interface designs to stand out and be memorable. But this must be balanced against making sure people recognize the purpose of the elements you’re placing on screen.

Research for UX Design

UX design is particularly interested in user expectations. All of the experiences and interactions that users have had with every application they’ve used in their lives have helped set their expectations for how interfaces are supposed to work. If a UX designer isn’t intimately familiar with these expectations, they could inadvertently design an interface interaction that seems logical to them but breaks commonly accepted conventions. Users don’t like when an interface behaves very differently than they were expecting, and this could negatively impact their experience.

If a UX designer decides to do something different, they need to have a very good reason, because breaking a deeply trained expected behavior will likely cause people to do the wrong thing frequently.

As an example, most people are comfortable with the idea that you click twice on a file to open it and once to select it. This is an interface behavior that has existed almost as long as there have been graphical user interfaces.

(Video) UX vs. UI

(Video) UX Design vs UI Design - What's The Difference? (2023)

UI vs. UX: Two Very Different Disciplines that Work in Harmony

UI design and UX design involve very different skill sets, but they are integral to each other’s success. A beautiful design can’t save an interface that’s clunky and confusing to navigate, and a brilliant, perfectly-appropriate user experience can be sunk by bad visual interface design that makes using the app unpleasant. Both UI and UX designs need to be flawlessly executed and perfectly aligned with pre-existing user expectations to create an excellent user interface/experience. And when those stars align the results can be astounding.

Updated: Dec 26, 2022


What does UI UX design mean? ›

UX and UI are not the same thing. In brief: UX stands for 'user experience' and it relates to how a user feels whenever they interact with a product or service. UI stands for 'user interface' and it specifically refers to the touchpoints a person uses to engage with a digital product.

What is the UX design? ›

User experience (UX) design is the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. UX design involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function.

What's the meaning of UI? ›

What is UI? Simply put, user interface (UI) is anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service. This includes everything from screens and touchscreens, keyboards, sounds, and even lights.

What does UI design mean? ›

User interface (UI) design is likely the first thing you encounter when you use an application or visit a website. User interface design is responsible for a product's appearance, interactivity, usability, behavior, and overall feel.

What is UX design vs UI design? ›

UX design involves managing the user journey as they interact with a product or service, while UI design focuses on the actual construction of that product or service's interface. UI design is usually considered part of the UX design process.

What is UX design with example? ›

The definition of user experience (UX)

It is the personal, internal experience customers go through when using a product's interface. Let's take as an example an e-commerce website. If a customer finds the buying experience to be long, complex and complicated, then her UX will be a bad one.

What is UX design answer? ›

UX design is all about championing the user. Consider discussing how empathy and user-centered design create value. Also talk about the ways in which you keep the user at the center of the design process: user research, personas and user journey maps, and usability testing.

What is UI UX design for beginners? ›

UI/UX design — is the design of any user interfaces, in which usability is just as important as the appearance.

What are the 4 types of user interfaces? ›

There are four prevalent types of user interface and each has a range of advantages and disadvantages:
  • Command Line Interface.
  • Menu-driven Interface.
  • Graphical User Interface.
  • Touchscreen Graphical User Interface.
Sep 22, 2014

What is the full meaning of UX? ›

Summary: "User experience" encompasses all aspects of the end-user's interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

What is UI and why is it important? ›

User interface (UI) design focuses on creating easy-to-use visual or audio interface elements to help users interact with a site, app, or other computer systems in a user-friendly manner. UI is crucial to the success of digital assets because a user is likely to leave a page if it is difficult to use.

What is UI design examples? ›

User interface (UI) design is the process of developing and creating menus and tools that allow users to navigate a digital product. This includes websites, mobile apps, train ticket machines, TVs, coffee machines, and much more.

What is the main role of a UI designer? ›

The UI Designer's main responsibility is to create a visually stunning and intuitive interface for users of websites, applications, or even games. They determine how people navigate from point A to B via different touchpoints.

What are UI design skills? ›

What are UI designer skills? UI designers apply technical knowledge, design elements and creativity to develop and integrate attractive and responsive website designs. Their skills include both hard and soft skills, and many UI designers develop their skills through practical experience.

What is difference between UI UX designer and developer? ›

Bottom Line. In short, UI/UX designers are responsible for creating an interface that is both visually appealing and easy to use while front-end developers are in charge of bringing these designs to life. Both roles are essential for a successful website or app and have high career prospects.

Does UI UX design require coding? ›

UI Designers do not need to code, but it is extremely beneficial if you have programming skills. Depending on the nature of the product, it's also not unusual for UI/UX design and development to be intertwined into a single process.

Is UI UX design a skill? ›

UX designers use a combination of technical skills and workplace skills in their design work. Some of these skills are specific to the world of UI/UX, while others are more general. Chances are you already have skills that will transfer into a new career in UX design.

What is a good example of UI and UX? ›

H&M is a great example of UI or UX design that has a tonne of stuff to manage. Customers have a wide variety of options at the store, thus it needs to have outstanding navigation that connects everything. H&M's design team has expertly unified everything with their enormous menu.

What is UX and UI design examples? ›

UX design is all about identifying and solving user problems; UI design is all about creating intuitive, aesthetically-pleasing, interactive interfaces. UX design usually comes first in the product development process, followed by UI.

What is a real life example of UX design? ›

Good UX in the Real World

Cars are an example of good user experience. Drivers don't need any technical knowledge of how a specific car works to use it. In fact, some people don't even need to be passable drivers to be able to use a vehicle (zing!)

What is the role of a UX designer? ›

What is a UX designer? The UX designer role is to make a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible. While many companies design user experiences, the term is most often associated with digital design for websites and apps.

Can I be a UI UX designer without experience? ›

In a word: Yes. As is the case with many tech professions, you don't need a background in design—or UI design qualifications—to forge a successful career in UI. Employers are much more concerned about whether or not you have the in-demand skills and mastery of the tools to do the job of a UI designer.

Can I become a UI UX designer with no experience? ›

But even with the high demand in the industry, getting your first job in UX design can be difficult, especially when you don't have a ton of experience. However, with a little extra effort, strategic networking, and careful attention to your portfolio, you'll be able to land your first junior UX position.

Can I be a UX UI designer without a degree? ›

No, you do not need a specific degree to be a UX Designer, but you do need the right hard and soft skills to be considered for a role in UX design.

What are the 3 main user interfaces? ›

The various types of user interfaces include: graphical user interface (GUI) command line interface (CLI) menu-driven user interface.

What are the 5 user interfaces? ›

In conclusion, we explained the 5 main types of user interfaces. We talked about Graphical User Interface (GUI), Command Line Interface (CLI), Natural Language Interface (NLI), Menu-driven Interface and Form-based Interface. Also, we discussed examples for the types of user interfaces so that it is easy to relate.

What is the most popular user interface? ›

The 9 best user interface (UI) design tools to try in 2022
  • Sketch. Sketch is a vector graphics editor used for drawing, wireframing, prototyping and design handoff—essentially everything you need to bring your designs to life. ...
  • Adobe XD. ...
  • UXPin. ...
  • Marvel. ...
  • Figma. ...
  • InVision Studio. ...
  • Zeplin. ...
  • Origami Studio.
Feb 21, 2022

What skills do I need to be a UX Designer? ›

UX designers can benefit from mastering these five applied skills.
  • Research. To effectively perform their jobs, UX designers must understand what their audiences want and how they view the world. ...
  • Information Architecture. ...
  • Wireframing. ...
  • Prototyping. ...
  • Visual Communication.

What software to use for UI design? ›

Adobe XD

Adobe XD offers vector-based user interface tools for creating prototypes and mockups with an interface that's familiar to anyone who has used other Adobe products. This, along with real-time collaboration, makes it a go-to for many UI designers.

What is another word for UX? ›

User experience (UX) design, user interface (UI) design, end-users, etc. are all common place terms for designers.

What is UI interview questions? ›

Intermediate UI Developer Interview Questions
  • What is a responsive website? ...
  • What is the difference between a window and a document? ...
  • Explain event bubbling and event capturing. ...
  • Give an example of how to create an object in JavaScript. ...
  • Explain the difference among the inline, inline-block, and block elements of HTML.
Jan 25, 2023

What plays a key role in UI UX design? ›

Good communication skills are essential for a UI UX Designer. They need the ability to ask others what they think about designs or projects before even starting work on them. They also use empathy to understand their users, develop solutions that solve their problems, and listen effectively.

What is UI UX for beginners? ›

UI/UX design — is the design of any user interfaces, in which usability is just as important as the appearance.

What does a UI UX developer do? ›

A UI, UX, and front-end web developer is responsible for applying interactive and visual design principles on websites and web applications for a positive and cohesive user experience. These developers use HTML, CSS, and other design tools to achieve responsive designs.

Is UI UX difficult? ›

Learning UX design can often be challenging. How difficult you'll find it to learn UX design, however, often depends on whether you're transitioning into it from a design background or a development background, or whether you have no experience in either.

Which language is used for UI design? ›

What coding languages do UX/UI designers use? The most common markup languages that UX/UI designers should know are HTML & CSS. JavaScript is a secondary language that might be helpful. HTML is used to format the structure of a page, and CSS helps add styling such as font size, color, opacity, and more.

Can I do UX design without coding? ›

No, most UX Designers are not required to code (at least, not at an advanced level). However, it's still to their advantage to develop an understanding and appreciation for what Developers do.

What skills does a UI designer need? ›

UI designer skills
  • Interaction design principles.
  • Branding, typography and color theory.
  • Wireframing and prototyping.
  • Style guides.
  • User research and personas.
  • Teamwork and communication skills.
  • Key industry tools, including Sketch.
Dec 6, 2022

How do I become a UI UX designer with no experience? ›

To make things easier for you, we've prepared this actionable nine-step guide on how to become a UX designer with no experience.
  1. Find your area of interest. UX design is a broad discipline. ...
  2. Get educated. ...
  3. Find a mentor. ...
  4. Master the right tools. ...
  5. Get practical skills. ...
  6. Create a portfolio. ...
  7. Write about design. ...
  8. Connect with others.
Dec 1, 2020

How do I get into UX UI with no experience? ›

How to Get a UX Job with No Professional UX Experience
  1. Take at least one UX course. There's a ton of UX courses to explore. ...
  2. Shape your existing experience. Most UXBs come into this field thinking they have absolutely no UX experience. ...
  3. Fill in the Gaps. ...
  4. Gain UX experience. ...
  5. Finish your UX Portfolio and Apply.

What is UI developer and UX Developer? ›

What Is a UI/UX Designer? UX designers work on how to improve users' satisfaction by improving the interface usability. UI designers work on language and visual input to translate the brand identity into a sophisticated and smooth webpage.

Which software is used for UI UX design? ›

Tools from Adobe's Creative Cloud are typically considered industry standards, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Adobe XD. Other platforms, like Figma and InVision, are also popular UX design tools used across many companies and industries.

What does a UX Designer do day to day? ›

The UX designer role is to make a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible. While many companies design user experiences, the term is most often associated with digital design for websites and apps.

Can I learn UI UX on my own? ›

While some designers choose to join a UI/UX design course or a bootcamp program, a lot of phenomenal UI/UX designers are self-taught, at least in the beginning.

What qualifications do I need to be a UX designer? ›

UX designer qualifications include experience with UX design, UX software, prototyping, user research and testing, collaboration and communication skills, and a demonstrated understanding of front-end technologies, user-centered design, and mobile-first and responsive design.

How long does it take to learn UX? ›

UX Bootcamps can take anywhere between 2 to 10 months to complete. In general, UX bootcamps introduce students to basic UX concepts and guide them through projects so they can begin building a portfolio. Some programs also include career mentorship and the chance to work with real clients.


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