UI and UX design | A simplified guide on what it entails

by Precious Cyprain
4 mins read
UI and UX design

UI/UX design Meaning

UI and UX design is a common profession in the tech industry. Although the two are mostly used together when being described generally or in job descriptions but their roles are quite different in product development.

UI design which means User Interface design refers to the part of a product, mostly digital, that a user interacts with during use. This includes the visual elements you come across on a website or app and how they are designed e.g. Fonts, keyboard, buttons, sound, etc.

UX design which means User Experience design refers to the user’s feelings about the interface of the product and the way they interact with it e.g. how user-friendly or problem-solving it is.

Now we have conversed about the basic concept of UI and UX design, let’s move on to a detailed explanation of each of them and what is expected of each role.

What is UI design all about?

UI design, User interface design, is the designing of the visible appearance or graphical layout of a digital product or service like a website, application, or gadget as discussed above. Now picture a DVD player, for example, the user interface refers to the color of the DVD player, its size, buttons, led display and every other part a user will interact with while using it. The putting together of these attributes is the duty of a UI designer.

The three forms UI design can present include:

1. Graphical user interface (GUI): This refers to the visual representation of a website or application and the control panels of a digital device and how the users communicate with them e.g. A desktop of a computer.

2. Voice-controlled user interface (VUI): This involves the use of voice commands to interact with a digital system like a smartphone, computer, etc, with the help of speech recognition technology e.g. Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, etc.

3. Gesture-based user interface: This involves the use of physical gestures to engage with a device. Examples include systems with touchscreen software, virtual reality (VR), etc.

The role expectations for a UI designer

  • Setting up the graphical layout of a website or application like using the right colours, fonts or interactive elements. (e.g. buttons, drop-down menus, etc) that will be appealing to the user.
  • Ensuring users can perform tasks easily and quickly while using the product (website, application or digital device)
  • Ensuring the user’s moment with the product or service is enjoyable and less frustrating.
  • Ensuring the product exhibits and conveys the brand’s value to the users.

What is UX design all about?

UX design, User Experience design, refers to the experience a user has when using a product, how they feel about it and how effortlessly they can perform and complete a desired task on it. Using the DVD player as an example, the UX is the way it plays music, increases volume and how easy it is to navigate the control buttons. The putting together of these things to ensure a good user experience with the product is the duty of a UX designer.

The steps for UX design are as follows:

1. Interaction design: This deals with designing the interactive components of a system and how users can complete a task efficiently with them e.g. buttons, animations, etc.

2. User research: This involves gathering ideas from customer feedback, surveys, user needs, etc, and utilizing them in the design decisions

3. Information architecture: This involves the setting up of contents and information on the system to help users perform the tasks.

Role expectations for a UX designer

  • Ensuring the product is user-friendly and self-explanatory.
  • Ensuring the product is accessible and usable by a wide range of people
  • Ensuring the website or application is accessible and usable on every device and medium e.g. smartphones, computers or browsers.
  • Ensuring the product is problem-solving for the user.
  • Ensuring the product is designed to make users have a positive experience while using it.

Summary of UI and UX design

UX design involves identifying and unraveling users’ problems in product development and making their experience with the product feel good while UI design involves designing the graphic and interactive elements of the product and making it aesthetically pleasing for the users.

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