This post is part of the Web Design Notes series. This series is a collection of lecture notes from the Digital Marketing course at the Fitzwilliam Institute Group. Specifically these notes are from the Web Design module.
What is user experience (UX)?
‘UX’ describes the end-user’s interaction with a website, application, software platform or any digital product. It defines how a user navigates through the site or application and, importantly, the emotion of that process. At it’s core the UX makes sure users are able to easily access the critical information being provided.
The broad responsibility of a UX designer is to ensure that the user’s journey is logical and flows from one step to the next.
If you visit a website and it is aesthetically appealing it encourages you to investigate further. You are assisted with this investigation with intuitive actions. This is a successful UX doing it’s work.
What is user interface (UI)?
Conversely, the User Interface (UI) is simply the collection of elements on a page. These elements enable the experience tailored by the UX designer. The UI elements should utilise familiarity and encourage interaction from the user. A good UI, teamed with good UX design, will have high conversion rates and be easy to use. In doing so, it services both the user and the business objectives.
Whilst UX designers are concerned with the overall feel of the website, UI Designers are particular about the layout of the site.
The UI designer is responsible for creating a visual language or ‘style guide’ for the site. Consistency is key in providing a familiar user journey. For example, if an error message has a particular shape or colour the user will come to expect the same format site-wide.
It’s important to remember that good digital design is not just about how it looks and feels. It must work. It must flow, engage and assist.
A good example of a comparison of UX and UI, is a surfboard. The carving through waves effortlessly is the User Experience. This process is enabled by the shape of the board, the application of the wax and the selection of the wave – the board, the wax and wave selection are the User Interface elements.