User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks that focus on the products effective and enjoyable use; whereas User Interface Design is its compliment, focusing on the look and feel, the presentation and interactivity of the product.
How many times have we heard the statement that ‘web design is dead?’ While catchy, it stems from the fact that the profession that what was once referred to as ‘web design’ nowadays doesn’t consist of a single skill (design) but actually encompasses a number of different skills. The industry no longer seems to recognise the ‘web designer’ but instead focuses on the differing skills of a UX or UI designer. I will describe UX and UI separately, to give you a better understanding of these two fundamental areas of ‘web design’.
Understanding UX (User Experience) Design
A great user experience (UX) is believed to be the key to gaining a competitive advantage online. Great experiences are shared and talked about by its’ users, whereas poor user experiences tend to reflect badly on the brand and can result in the loss of digital customers. UX methodologies and processes are designed to get to the heart of what your customers value. These processes also aim to deliver such compelling online experiences, that help to set a business apart from its’ online competition. UX is the area of web design where the UX designer works on enhancing the whole experience that a user has with a business, its products and or services. Speaking in terms of a website, this essentially means that UX includes aspects such as the website’s content, the systems that support it, its structure, and its design (yes that also means but is not limited to, the User Interface).
Digital customers now expect value from their online experiences. Therefore the UX designer is concerned with understanding the site’s users (and potential users), creating personas, determining user stories, developing prototypes and carrying out user testing. A good user experience utilises the following customer-centric principles:
Useful. Providing helpful information or tools.
Findable. Providing intuitive navigation.
Credible. Developing trust and respect.
Desirable. Connect with their emotions and aspirations.
Accessible. Cater to all levels of user ability.
Usable. Seamless usability experiences across all devices.
Understanding UI (User Interface) Design
Despite being considered as a ‘conventional’ web design practice, User Interface design has witnessed numerous misinterpretations. User Interface design basically focuses on improving the overall presentation, look, feel and interactivity of the product. Thus, the term ‘User Interface’ (abbreviated as UI) refers to the means by which a user and a product (for example a website) interact with one another.
The UI designer, has the role that is primarily related to graphic/visual front-end design. Their main attention is on improving the overall feel of the product and the way it is being laid out over the website/web application. UI designers are mainly involved in designing the pages which will be used by the end-user for interacting with the product. Some of the responsibilities of a UI designer include: Prototyping, implementation with the developer, design research, branding and graphic development, documentation and user guides. For more information about how User Experience design or User Interface design can differentiate your business in the marketplace contact Spire Digital.