Understanding the Difference Between UX Design and UI Design

difference ux ui design

Let’s be honest. We’ve all wondered about the difference between UX and UI, whether they are synonymous or how they relate to each other. Despite using these terms daily, many struggle to distinguish between these two disciplines.
But fear not! In this article, we’ll put an end to all these doubts once and for all by clarifying the definition of each of these concepts and then discussing their relationship.

ux design
Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

What is UX Design?

UX design, or User Experience design, is a distinct category of graphic design that aims to create digital interfaces providing an optimal and satisfying user experience. It is applicable to desktops, smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices. UX is a design discipline that encompasses ergonomics and user journey. We’ve already touched on the subject in our article “Why is UX design important for a website?“. Ergonomics ensures a visually structured and organized interface with a logical and coherent information architecture. Creating a user journey map involves a deep understanding of user needs and behaviors. Human-centered design is central to UX design: they conduct research and tests to comprehend user expectations, motivations, and preferences.

In essence, the tasks of UX design include:

For a good user experience, four pillars are distinguished:

An interface is considered successful if it meets these four criteria: easy to use, effective, pleasant to use, and aligns with user expectations. Find out more in our article on 7 UX Principles for Creating a Great Website!

What is UI Design?

Generically, UI, or User Interface design, is defined as all the visible elements of a site’s UX. This includes colors, typography, visual elements, etc. UI design aims to create effective and aesthetic user interfaces for digital platforms. This discipline focuses on creating visually and interactively consistent elements of the user interface, such as buttons, menus, icons, colors, and typography.

To achieve this, UI designers focus on three aspects:

The tasks of a UI designer include:

A UI design is considered good if it is consistent, clear, easy to use, attractive, user-friendly, and, above all, enables users to perform tasks effectively and enjoyably.

What is the Difference Between UX and UI Design?

Until now, one might have believed that UX and UI are entirely different. However, we now understand that UI is, in fact, a component or stage of UX. Let’s illustrate this with a well-known example: the iceberg. The visible surface of the iceberg represents UI, the visual component of the interface, which is only a small part of the larger entity that is UX.

difference ux ui design

UX and UI design are therefore two different but complementary disciplines within the field of user interface design.

In summary:

Article written in french by Lommatzsch Cynthia, translated in english by Juric Mélisande