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Estefania Teixeira
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User Experience vs User Interface


Surely, you have heard about User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). At first glance, they seem like indecipherable and distant concepts of the user journey. Yet, each is essential for websites, mobile apps, and software in general. Nowadays, both have a significant impact on Software Development and User Flow. The tech industry baptized them as UX and UI, respectively. In today's article, we'll unfold general information on both terms. We'll discuss the different edges that impact and influence them. And most importantly, we'll see if they're opposite or complementary concepts.

What is User Experience (UX) Design?

The field of User Experience is a critical part of the Product Development Process. Its focus lies on the experience users get during their first contact with a product. Moreover, its primary goal is to design structures to provide solutions to problems.

Different experienced tycoons define Use Experience: "UX includes all the elements of users' interaction with entities, products, and services." A highlight is that UX Design existed long before tech rose. In that context, it was about the non-digital experiences of users with companies.

What is User Interface (UI) Design?

We already discussed the basics of the design-related discipline, UX design. But let's look at how User Interface design handles the products' appearance, interactivity, and presentation in the entire user journey. Among their key responsibilities, UI designers have some edges to cover. The first of these covers is to give organizational sense to the Product's Design. Further, the latter includes style guides and visual design elements like fonts, color palettes, and interactive elements. For instance, the development of menus, text fields, and buttons.

Most importantly, UI creates wireframes to achieve a high-fidelity concept of the outcome. In this context, developers work on the design of User Interfaces to create functional products. Unlike UX, User Interface is a digital-only field. Its function is to develop optimal interaction points between user behavior and products.

User Interface vs User Experience

Despite the close professional relationship, each field has different and specific roles. Software Development continuously complements resources and tools. In Design, a UX and UI encircle visual creation and development. Ultimately, the key takeaway is to ensure a delightful User Experience for clients and real users.

The consensus is that there's no such thing as a debate on UX vs. UI. Yet, in some cases, UI may depend on a good UX. Why is that? The main reason relates to the product design's workflow. Often, UX traces the critical points of users' interaction. Then, the UI shapes them with interactive audiovisual elements.

As expected, UX and UI focus on the benefits during project development. Both fields are crucial to understanding the needs of users and audiences. Also, good practices can improve the ROI for companies while saving time and money. Yet, digital products were not as complex in tech's early days. Many people thought these platforms would only slightly change daily life. Nowadays, webs and apps start from a more complicated and dynamic ground.

There's an exhaustive list of edges to interact with digital products. As time passed by, there was an increase in usage intricacy. Hence, UX and UI played a stellar role in easing the entire process and public access. But, as we know, changes keep rolling.

What can we expect from experiences and interfaces in the next five or ten years? The answer could be primarily related to what tech devices we'll be facing. We went from computers to cell phones to smartphones. Now, we even have intelligent refrigerators! Only time can tell which will be our new favorite device and how we will interact with its UX and UI.

UX vs UI Principles

The central coincidence of these fields is seeking positive User Experiences through informed design decisions. These results apply to design teams, companies, clients, and final users. Yet, there's more to what may be an obvious similarity. Further, both areas share some principles. Among them are Visibility Status and User Accessibility, Freedom & Control. We can also see Organizational Hierarchy, Consistency, and Recognition while aiming at Efficiency and Versatility. And, of course, like in all edges of Product Development, a huge focus on Good Documentation.

UX vs UI Relevance

This question has caused quite a controversy among professionals. But, undoubtedly, there is no simple and correct answer. Both edges within the design are essential. Further, they're vital for web, app, and software development.

Nonetheless, the topic has given much to talk about. For instance, designer Helga Moreno explains it in her article "The Gap between UX and UI." In these lines, she states that "a perfect interface is useless if it does not guarantee a good experience." Later on, she twists the concept the other way. "A good experience with a bad appearance it's not optimal." In summary, getting both elements right is an ineffable necessity.

UX vs UI Work Roles

As we know by now, these exciting fields complement each other. Yet, to understand their usefulness, an appreciation of each role is necessary.

UX Designer's Role: One of the most asked questions is who User Experience designers work with. And, as no surprise, they work hand in hand with UI designers. So, that could be a reason to add up to the misunderstanding. UX Designers measure and analyze the methods by which users complete desired tasks (usability testing). Besides, these designers focus on non-digital practice within cognitive science. Often, they do not handle content, images, or visual elements. They concentrate on the general feeling that users can develop from any experience.

Said focus could lead to a frequent question: does UX Design need coding? The clear and concise answer is no. Yet, knowing your way through code can be quite an advantage. The most commonly used are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Thus, UX designers should have a basic understanding of the Front-End coding languages. As a result, the communication skills and collaboration with developers and product teams will get easier.

UI Designer's Role: A User Interface designer focuses on a digital product interface and its look, feel, and interactivity. Among their common tasks are certifying interactive and intuitive interfaces. Also, they need to take care of every visual detail. Yet, the list of details can be quite long. Some visual interface elements include spacing, color, typography, buttons, icons, and images. As an outcome, the final product must provide a responsive design browsing environment.

Furthermore, UI designers handle edges like research, development, and content. The aim is to guide users through the entire journey. That's why UI-focused designers tend to have an eye-catching and goal-oriented approach. It's relevant to understand the role of each type of design. Not only that, but also acknowledging that, while related, they're different fields. Often, companies hire UI designers for the UX area and vice-versa, as they should know the basic visual design principles. This strategy can lead to poor outcomes in one area or the other.


Both UX and UI Design are distinct disciplines, yet they have a key role that allows a greater understanding of users' needs and pain points within the design process to meet all the aspects of the end-user's interaction. Also, they share the goal of turning potential users into acquired customers through successful user interactions. From a business standpoint, it's only necessary to distinguish them. Consequently, ventures will be able to appreciate each other's insights and functions.