The Difference Between UX and UI

It is common for people to use the terms “user experience” (UX) and “user interface” (UI) interchangeably. Both terms describe aspects of the way a user interacts with a product or service. However, there is a noticeable difference between them.

What Is User Interface? 

The user interface is anything that you as a user employee to interact with a digital service or product. Keyboards, screens, touchscreens, lights, and sounds are all examples of user interface.

Product design

In the 70s, you needed to use a command-line interface to interact with a computer. Graphical interfaces weren’t available for the public. To get a computer to work, you needed to input a programming language. This meant inputting countless lines of code to complete a task.
 
This changed in the 1980s when computer scientists at Xerox made graphical user interfaces part of computing. Since then users have been able to interact with computers by clicking on buttons, using menus, and interacting with icons.
 
This opened up computing to the world as no knowledge of coding languages is needed. In 1984, Apple’s Macintosh brought this style of computing into homes across the country. From that point on, computers needed to be designed in a way that made it easy for users to interact with them.
 
Over the years, UI design and the role of UI designers has changed. Now, UI is part of our mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

What Is User Experience? 

User interface gave customers something to interact with. Customers had positive or negative experiences based on their interaction with computers.
 
In the 1990s, Don Norman coined the term “user experience.” At the time he defined it as every aspect of the end-user’s interaction with a company, its products, and its services.
 
This broad definition includes every interaction a person could have with the business, its service, and its products. It’s not limited to the digital experience. However, when used in connection to a digital interaction, this term explains how humans feel when they interact with technology.
 
Some factors that influence user experience include:

·         The actions or sequence of actions needed to interact with a digital interface
·         The way a person feels and thinks as they go about accomplishing their task using the digital interface
·         The impressions a person walks away with after interacting with a digital interface
 
User experience allows companies to create digital products that meet the needs of their customers. These products allow customers to reach their desired outcome and have a pleasant experience while doing it.

User Experience Versus User Interface 

User experience has been described as the journey that you as a user take as you strive to solve a problem. User interface definition revolves around how the parts of a product you interact with look and function. Design experts at Adobe also mention that ““Since UX designers focus on crafting products that are easy to use and understand, the concept of user-centered design takes a central stage in UX design process.”
 
When a designer creates things with the user experience in mind, their focus is the conceptual aspects of the design process. They feel concerned about whether a software or piece of hardware will be easy for the user to interact with or if it will be a source of frustration. User interface designers feel more concerned about tangible elements. They ask questions like, where will buttons or icons be located on the screen? How will they look? How will they work?
 
When describing the differences between user experience and user interface, one designer put it this way, “It’s like explaining the difference between red paint and the chemicals that the red paint is made up of.”
 
The designer is saying that you can’t compare the two because they are so different. Red paint makes a person feel a certain way when they see it. However, red paint is made up of a bunch of chemicals combined.
 
User experience makes a user feel a certain way as they interact with that product. However, that interaction is only possible because multiple user interfaces were tailored to meet the user’s needs.
 
User experience is becoming a commonly used term, especially in the business world. Both user experience and user interface will continue to evolve. UI helps you accomplish your goals. UX helps you make an emotional connection.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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