The difference between User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) graphicFrom overhearing conversations in passing or scrolling through your newsfeed online, you may have noticed that “UX” and “UI” have been a hot topic of conversation for the past year or so. But if you aren’t in the business of website design and programming, you may be unfamiliar with them and their importance. At Kinetic, we believe that UX and UI are key to the success of all new products or services, whether tangible or digital, and that applying the principles of UX and UI design to your next deliverable is sure to have a positive impact, regardless of your job role.

So let’s start with the basics. “UX” stands for “user experience,” and “UI” refers to the “user interface.” If you’ve heard the two used together in the same conversation, it may have seemed like the two were interchangeable, but they are not. In fact, despite their professional relationship (the two go hand in hand), the roles of UX and UI are quite different and refer to very different parts of the design development process.

User experience (UX) design is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product (such as a website, tool, etc.). UX can be grouped into three categories: strategy and content, wireframing and prototyping, and execution and analytics.

User interface (UI) design is responsible for the transference of a product’s development, research, content and layout into an attractive, guiding and responsive experience for users. In other words, UI is the complement of UX: the look and feel, responsiveness, and interactivity.

While it’s almost impossible to extricate the UX from UI or the UI from the UX, here are some high-level comparisons to consider when differentiating between the two:

  • UX is how things work, UI is how things look.
  • UX makes interfaces useful, UI makes interfaces beautiful.
  • UX helps users accomplish goals, UI makes emotional connections.
  • UX usually comes first, followed by UI design.
  • UX is employed across products, interfaces, and services, whereas UI only pertains to interfaces.

So why do UX and UI matter? With growing competition, it’s never been more critical to offer users a seamless, optimized experience. Investing in UX and UI design is necessary to quickly gain trust, brand recognition and ensure user retention. It also allows for a better understanding of why customers come to a site or tool and what they need, providing brands with the rationale and pathways to optimize the user experience.

At Kinetic, we consider UX and UI in everything we do, from laying out brochures and infographics, to designing online training courses and sales tools, and implementing learning management systems or reward and recognition programs. We understand the importance of developing content and materials that offer the best user experience—both in terms of UX and UI.

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