What’s the difference between a UX and UI designer? (Part one)

The lines between UX and UI often get blurred. We’re here to help you navigate the difference between UX and UI design.


There’s a bit of confusion around what kind of designer you might need for any given project. Do you need a UX designer? Or a UI designer perhaps? If you’re not really sure what either of these designers do, don’t fret. This two-part series is dedicated to helping you understand the mysteries of UX and UI design and spotting the difference between the two.

An elevator pitch version of UX and UI design could be described as:

User Experience (UX) – the “feeling” or internal experience a user has when they interact with a business’s products and services. This also applies to UX web design.

User Interface (UI) – focuses on the series of screens, pages and functional elements (buttons, icons and controls) that you interact with on a device such as a tablet or a smartphone.

Are you ready for the more in-depth version? Let’s dive in. UX design principles are up first.

What is UX Design all about?

People come to your website to complete an action. They generally have a goal in mind. And if they don’t – they want to quickly realise it. Whether they’re searching for the perfect jacket for a night on the town, finding the perfect kitty companion for apartment living or paying electricity bills, they come to your website with a purpose and an end-goal they’d like to reach.

An UX expert, UX consultant or Usability Specialist is mostly concerned with designing an experience that’s useful, understandable, usable and beautiful. The broad responsibility is to ensure a product logically flows from one step to the next. In a website context, this might mean seamless navigation, ease of use, information hierarchy and ensuring a great experience as a website user progresses through the website and interacts with the products and services being offered by the company.

Good user experience designers will focus on the interactive side of the product or service, including how it behaves, such as a login page or a product page, and how that person might interact with it, including where they might click first. This kind of information will inform the architecture of the content and the sitemap.

How does a UX Designer create a great “experience”?

One of the many ways that UX designer approaches designing an experience for a certain user is by conducting face-to-face interviews to observe their behaviour, by identifying verbal and non-verbal stumbling blocks when interacting with a website, leading field research and gathering data to refine and rehearse the “ultimate” user experience.

A UX designer is generally seen by most as someone who specialises in interface and visual design, yet their process focuses on so much more, including information architecture, prototyping, usability testing, creating personas, interface layout, copywriting and product design.

An example of a project a UX designer could work on is an onboarding flow for an online banking customer. Their deliverables may include wireframes, storyboards and sitemaps and the tools of their trade are Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe XD and InVision.

In our second (and final) instalment in this series, we’ll look at UI design principles and identify the key differences between the two types of design.

Want to create a website for your business that has an intuitive layout and a great user experience? Get in touch with the iFactory Brisbane web design team today.

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