How many times have you been reading something online when looking for tips to build a website for your business, while thinking it can’t be all that hard, can it? Then you come across industry jargon that you are expected to understand and before you know it you are off on a treasure hunt to find out what it is you are missing here. And, so it is with the oft-used terms, UX and UI. We can tell you right up front that you really do need a healthy mix of UX and UI to make your website rock,but now you probably want to know what language we are speaking. Okay, here’s the simplified version you can probably understand.
A Brief Definition of UX
In short, UX simply stands for the User Experience. Simplicity is probably the most critical element of a good user experience on your website and this means that anyone landing on your site is easily able to find what they are looking for, click through to where they want to be, and be able to make a quick determination as to whether or not they wish to keep exploring your site or bounce on to the next. A great UX usually keeps bounce rates low and sells products or services more effectively.
A Brief Definition of UI
When you come across the term UI, know that it simply refers to User Interface. That would be the cosmetics of your web design. Think of it like people judging a book by its cover. If you land on a site that has a busy haphazard design, you are likely to quickly assume that’s how they do business. When you see a man walking down the street in a suit and tie, you automatically assume he is a business professional, don’t you? What about the other man with nonetheless trendy jeans ripped at the knees and sporting a ‘colorful’ expletive on his t-shirt? You might think he was simply a college student or someone not busily at work, but that just might be a very successful entrepreneur! The User Interface is designed to quickly paint a picture of who you are and what you do because the average person is too impatient to stick around to find out! It’s the ‘clothes’ your site wears.
Even the Pros Get Confused!
Before going any further, one thing you should know is that while they are different elements, they do overlap! Even the pros get confused from time to time and if you think you are swimming upstream against the current, just imagine how new web designers feel when trying to incorporate both a UI and UX into the site they are building.One career advisor wrote a great article on the difference between UX designers and UI designers. You can read it here.
Putting It All Together
So you see, the two really do work in tandem and sometimes they do overlap. However, as one highly successful web designer found, both the UX and the UI can be too busy and thus unattractive and certainly not engaging. (But, engagement is another issue altogether for another time.) This web designer says that when using trendy UI gradients, remember to keep them simple when blending from color to color. Sharp contrasts are not as appealing to the eye and,consequently, take away from the message you are trying to portray.
Now then, what’s the difference between the UX and the UI? The UX is the way a site works for the visitor and the UI is what it looks like. Does that sum it up for you? We hope it does.