UI vs UX

People often ask me what the difference is between UI (user interface) and UX (user experience). Today I’m going to answer this question, and compare them with IxD (Interaction Design).

When we hear the word design, we think about how something looks. On the Web, before designing a website we should consider designing how the site works, how it will be used, and how people move through it. These tasks fall under the disciplines of User Interface (UI) design, Interaction Design (IxD), and User Experience (UX) design. It’s common for a web designer to handle all of these tasks alone, but in larger websites a team is usually responsible for each of them.

The Interaction Designer is responsible for making the site simple, organized and charming to use. The tasks of the User Interface designer are related to interaction design. The UI designer is responsible for functional organization of page elements such as menus, search box, buttons, etc. The User Experience Designer tries to make the site easy to use and enhances the users’ experience. He or she must have a good understanding of site audience and their needs.

According to Donald Norman who coined the user experience design and the author of The Design of Everyday Things, , user experience design includes “all aspects of the user’s interaction with the product: how it is perceived, learned, and used.”

Here are some day-to-day tasks of an IxD, UI, or UX designer:

Wireframe diagrams

A wireframe diagram shows where functionality and content such as menu, links, form elements, etc, are placed, without any style or graphic. It also describes how things should work so other developers know what to create.

Site diagram

A site diagram demonstrates how each page is linked to another page. Site diagrams can be very simple; however there are diagrams of big sites that can fill entire walls!

User research and testing reports

User research is an important portion of a site design. To learn how our site can help users and how it will be used, we need interviews and observations. In an ideal design people shouldn’t have any difficulty finding content and how to move to the next step in a process, that’s why we need a good understating of the needs, desires, and limitations of users. This method of designing according to the user’s needs is called as User Centered Design (UCD).

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