More and more across the federal space, we are seeing the investment in UI/UX expertise and the implementation in software and website development projects. UI/UX encompasses critical visual and functional design elements within development that caters to its users.
We often hear the terms UI and UX design used synonymously. Most times, they are referred to in a single term altogether: UI/UX design. However, even though UI and UX coincide, they have different definitions and functions.
UI stands for User Interface.
UX stands for User Experience.
UI and UX work together to meet user-experience goals and deliver enhanced products. Interaction is the star term for both UI and UX goals. A team’s understanding of the key responsibilities to UI and UX is conducive to delivering top quality products.
What differentiates UI from UX?
- UI Design
UI designers are focused on the graphical layout of a website or app— in other words, the interface. You can remember interface because it is the figurative “face” of the application. So, UI is responsible for the mood and aesthetic of the digital experience, including color, shapes, lines, and fonts used.
Questions UI designers should be answering:
- Is the app visually stimulating?
- Does the theme make sense, considering the purpose of the app?
- If it is part of a larger enterprise, do the visuals seem on-brand?
UI designers are assured graphic designers. Their priorities lie with the look of the elements that are being interacted with. Their role is to ensure the design aligns with brand guidelines, elevates the user experience, meets any 508 compliance visual elements, and is designed to reflect the functionality. When UI design is successful, organizations can count on higher user engagement, organic referrals, and an enhanced experience for every user.
- UX Design
UX design is all about understanding your users to develop the experience. UX designers are focused on how users interact and achieve their goals within the application or website. It can be easy to overlook the convolution that apps have, or sometimes it’s the over-simplification that can complicate usage. UX designers are also concerned with interface, but their main role is to create the optimal operation and experience for users.
Questions UX designers should be answering:
- What is the functionality of the interface elements?
- Is navigation logical and smooth?
- Are users accomplishing what they need to accomplish?
UX is central to constructing digital experiences with strong navigation, meeting user needs in terms of 508 compliance, language preferences, accessibility, and more. The goal for UX team members is to ensure the efficiency and satisfaction of users when completing tasks.
The overall experience will be measured by how smooth (UX) interaction pairs with the user interface components that were created (UI) to develop the optimal product for users to complete their goals within an application or website.
Because of this, the design teams tend to work closely together; UI is concerned with how elements are appearing on the user’s device, while UX is thinking about formulaic flow.
Successful development comes from a lot of research, testing, and analysis as feedback is necessary for both UI and UX in the development process. Since UI and UX designers are looking for different kinds of feedback, real users can provide details on what works well and what needs to be modified. Constant collaboration will determine when the app or website is ready.
Together, UI and UX designers can create web and app designs that are captivating and practical, which are two great values that users look for when it comes to program interaction. Though separate in their functions, UI and UX design is necessary for optimal digital experiences.