UX and UI – differences and similarities

Too often we see the terms UX and UI bunched together as if they were synonyms. Although both terms deal with interface design, they should not be confused or treated as exactly the same. In this article, we’re hoping to outline some of the similarities, as well as differences, between the two.

UX UI- similarities and differences

What does a UI Designer do?

When it comes to website design, in simplest terms, the job of the UI Designer is to create a visual way to represent data from the website to the end-user. This means that the UI Designer is responsible for creating a site layout, menu items, graphical design, image galleries and etc. Moreover, a UI Designer should carefully consider the tools used by users when interacting with a website or an app – for example, a different interface should be made for touch-screen devices in comparison to desktop or laptop-oriented websites and apps. In short, User Interface designer makes sure that our website is elegant and functional.

What does a UX Designer do?

UX stands for User Experience. As such, the UX Designer is responsible for the technical and psychological aspects of website design. This includes clear and simple website structure, which products are presented, website content, page load speed, and etc. Based on his/her experience and analytical tools, the UX Designer researches user behaviour and optimizes the website to better suit the users or to achieve certain goals.

Differences between UX and UI

Very often it may seem that these two jobs overlap. And indeed, similarities are striking. However, in order to visualize the similarities and differences, we created a table outlining different aspects of the UX and UI Designer’s role.

UX Designer UI Designer

Skills: analytics, strong interpersonal skills, ability to draw conclusions, interdisciplinary skills

Skills: a sense of aesthetic and design, creativity, knowledge of latest trends in web design, knowledge of IT apps

Job: tests the products

Job: designs the products

Works with the end-user

Works with software

Toolbox: Axure, graphics manipulation programs, analytical and testing tools

Toolbox: Adobe Photoshop, frameworks, programming languages

Utilizes various sources in day-to-day operations, consults marketing and sales departments

Utilized his/her own creativity and designs; work is often based on previous aesthetic decisions

How these two work?

In sum, both UX and UI design share some similarities, however, that’s only on the surface. In the business environment, the UI Designer is in charge of designing how the product initially looks and works. The UX designer, on the other hand, is there to take this product, evaluate it, see how users interact with it and make suggestions to the UI Designer on which things need changing or improving. Sometimes the UX Designer will add or subtract functionality if he/she deems it problematic or necessary.