October 10, 2023

The Difference Between UI & UX


Designing a digital product is referred to as Product design, and this is a combination of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. It is important to note that even though UI and UX can be defined separately they should always be thought of collectively to achieve the best solution. They both focus on enhancing user satisfaction, but they address different aspects of the design process and user interaction. Overall you want to design a product that works well functionally and is logical, but also is aesthetically appealing while being visually helpful.

So what is User Experience Design (UX)?

UX design focuses more on creating logical and easy-to-use experiences. It needs to anticipate a user's thoughts, feelings and expected behaviours. Such as if a user sees an action, that user will assume what the outcome will be, if the outcome is different than expected, that results in a bad experience.

The goal of UX design should be to help a user to naturally understand a product and allow them to operate it seamlessly. It is sometimes the unsung hero of a product, as good UX goes unnoticed, but if the UX causes issues it then quickly becomes a bad experience. Having good research and knowledge of your target market can help you understand your audience. Knowing your users will help you craft an experience that is tailored to them, which will give the product a better chance of being successful.

There are many factors that go into UX design. One of the main ones is to always put the users first, giving your product a human-centred approach. This means as designers we look to understand human behaviour and how certain situations and interactions can be perceived. From this, we look to craft a solution that most of the target audience should understand and feel comfortable with. It is always important to user test your work and gather user research so that you can determine if your theories have the desired effect, or it might flag situations that require further thought. Another aspect of UX design is making sure the overall structure of the product makes sense and users can find what they are looking for easily. Creating a sitemap at the beginning of a project is key so you can determine the architecture of the product, plan out the best layout and put the pieces of your puzzle together in a way that works. When creating this framework you’ll want a layout that compliments your product offering but also balances what users will expect to see in certain areas. For example, you wouldn't expect to find product details within an ‘About Us’ page. Another big part of UX is to create user flows of the key journeys your product has to offer. These flows are crucial to seeing how your process is being pieced together and the journey you will be taking users on. Testing these flows is important to ensure your audience can make sense of these journeys and find them easy to achieve.

Overall UX design focuses on the structure and journeys of your product, and how you will direct users through your experience. It relies on using logic and problem-solving skills to find creative solutions to provide that ease of use for your audience.

So what is User Interface Design (UI)?

UI design is mainly focused on the visual aesthetic of the product, but it is also how the UX is brought to life. This is done using colour theory, typography and other design principles to help users visually understand the product. UI design is also where you apply your branding making it a look and feel unique and ownable. However, UI is more than just how good something looks, it also plays an important role in helping users understand certain patterns and interactions within the experience. 

UI is the face of a product or service and it’s important to keep consistency throughout that experience. This means having documentation to add guidance to the designs, and making sure everything is coherent. Another factor to consider is the responsiveness of the designs, and how components can flex to accommodate different devices or breakpoints. When designing the UI the accessibility of it needs to be taken into consideration too. Making sure that components are easily distinguishable for all types of users. For example, making sure active and focused states are clearly represented to the user, easily informing them so they can make quick decisions. Even small and simple details such as space can also make a big impact on how users see the hierarchy of a page. UI design needs to guide the user around the page in a logical way that makes sense for the product.

Other elements such as animation, illustration and image guidelines can be considered with the UI design. Finding ways to add extra content and delight to pages to help give them context and stand out. Even adding small details such as micro animations can really help bring the UI to life and help create a more lively experience.

Overall UI design focuses on the visual aesthetic to apply the branding to a product but also needs to consider how to best enforce the UX that is in place. There are many aspects of UI design to explore to help you achieve these goals and produce a visually rich and appealing experience.


UI and UX rely on each other to get the best product experience. You might have a great app functionally but if that isn't translated into clear instructions on the UI side then some actions and processes might be missed, or misunderstood, and so some users might feel lost or missing out. You could also have a great-looking app but if the structure, navigation or processes are complex and confusing then users will get frustrated as it's not operating as they would expect. UX defines where an audience wants to go and UI helps them get there. Having them clearly defined is helpful but it's best when UI and UX work in tandem to help leverage each other's strengths and to create the best possible solutions to provide a great experience.

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The Difference Between UI & UX