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February 22, 2019

What does UX/UI design really mean?

UX and UI are Two Different Types of Design

GET RIGHT OUTTA TOWN … the “UX” and “UI” in UX/UI are two different terms altogether? That is correct! But, we typically like to lump them into one moniker because they are basically the yin and yang when discussing the overall look, feel, interactivity and usability of a new application being developed in reference to building software. Let’s break it down.

UX = User Experience

UX design refers to user experience design. Though this terms falls under ‘design’ nomenclature, it truly sits in the functionality department. Simply put, UX design is at the core of the process that helps provide a seamless user experience for the people who use the application. For a UX design team, they must know the true journey for those who intend to use the app to help make that user experience as pleasant and simple as possible.

A UX design team working on a digital product or custom application will focus primarily on functionality, usability and user adaptability. In addition to these, UX designers also have to bridge the connection between the business goals of the app/product and functionality. App development may go through several iterations depending on the customer analysis or content development. And if the product strategy shifts, so must the user experience. Every iteration will go through testing and refinement.

UX Design will typically include:

  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Iteration Cycles
  • Development Planning

UI = User Interface

UI design refers to user interface design. User interface design or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces with the focus on maximizing usability (in tandem with user experience). UI design can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. Essentially it’s the “skin” of the application. UI design teams work on all the areas where users directly interact with the product.

User interface design incorporates many elements of graphic design: typography, color palette, layout and brand identity, which all influence how the user performs certain interactions on a device and improves the aesthetic appeal of the design. Design aesthetics are integral because they enhance or detract from the ability of users to use the app’s functions. The design process must balance technical functionality and visual elements to create a system that is not only operational but also usable and adaptable to changing user needs.

Outright, UI is the product’s visual and graphic presentation. It appeals to users senses by engaging the reactivity and interactivity in response to a user’s input or different display environments. Lastly, UI is about makeup; the product’s navigation, guides and hints that visually lead users through their experience.

UI Design will typically include:

  • Customer Analysis
  • Design Research
  • Branding and Graphic Development
  • User Guides/Storyline
  • Prototyping
  • Interactivity and Animation
  • Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes
  • Implementation with Developer

Need a Hand with the UX/UI on Your App?

Navigating UX/UI design is not an easy feat; make sure you have an expert developer partner on your team. If you are in the ideation stage of your next big app idea and need some help assessing your needs, use this handy dandy guide. For a quick consult on your UX/UI concerns, give us a call at 559 560 3300 or email us at [email protected]. The most important element of your app is user experience; we’ll help you get it right the first time.

This post was written by Celeste A. Barron, Content Development Manager for Shift3 Technologies. You’ll find her drinking coffee and being ironic.

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