Why are they so obsessed with setting UX apart from UI? Aren't they design?
Why are they so obsessed with setting UX apart from UI? Aren't they design?
Back in the day, people who made online software or products were known as ‘web designers’. A single name for those who did research, design, development, and even testing. How simple, right? UX and UI have been separated for a long time, rather than seen as essential in a product. They are intertwined, after all.
Valeriu Moldovan
3 min. read
Why are they so obsessed with setting UX apart from UI? Aren't they design?

Does the design of evolution in product development matter?



Back in the day, people who made online software or products were known as ‘web designers’. A single name for those who did research, design, development, and even testing. How simple, right? But because the app & software space is rapidly growing, more specialist roles and terms like UI, UX, CX, IxD are popping up. Below we will try to demystify a little the roles and purposes of UI and UX disciplines.





Why do they separate User Interface from User Experience?




While countless analogies explain how these two design concepts fit together, pinning down a definitive answer has proved difficult. It’s almost impossible to completely extricate UX from UI or UI from UX.


Even though UI design is often confused with UX design, UI is more concerned with the overall feel of a design. UX design on the other hand covers the entire spectrum of the user experience. 




They are both essential in a product as they are intertwined.


Any project starts with working out the UX part. At this stage, designers do research, determine the needs of users, their problems, and then come up with solutions. 


UI has to be considered through the UX lens because to make a usable design with a good experience for the user it must adhere to certain UX principles, as well as good basic visual design principles. 


So there is a certain overlap between the two. 




So, they are together, but apart: UX & UI differences


The first difference between UX and UI is that the UX designer plans the steps the user will take to achieve its goal. And UI implements the visual part defining how each of these steps will look like. 




Simply put, the border between UI and UX runs along: ‘What I see’, respectively ‘What can I do’.


While UI requires attention to detail, creating eye-catchy visuals, typography design, icons, and selecting the right colors, etc., UX can go much further and even study the external environment in which the product operates. The factors of this external environment, most often, cannot be seen, they can only be understood or felt.






Why is the cost of UX UI misunderstandings so expensive?


From a business point of view, failure to distinguish between UX and UI is very expensive. 


Why?




Because it expands to both design & planning errors, 
which are the most expensive problems to fix. 


Imagine that you are constructing a building using renderings instead of technical drawings. Everything looks great, but when it comes to execution, how to proceed with electrical, thermal, or ventilation systems that practically do not exist in the renderings? Basically, the building has no functionality.


In order for a product to be successful and effective, both UX and UI need to be present. There are a lot of products that, even though they look beautiful and smooth, fail to take off due to the UX design of the product. Likewise, there are many products that are easy to use but lack the “wow factor” that efficient UI can bring.


Even if there are differences, in the end, UX and UI specialists work for the benefit of the user. As José Torre said: 





‘Putting UI against UX is like putting the Avengers against Captain America, 
but
you forget to remove Captain America from the Avengers.’









About the author


Valeriu Moldovan is the Founder and Lead Product Design at Change Agency. He started his design journey eight years ago as he was curious and passionate about everything that technology and visuals mean. Over time, he has discovered that his mission is not only to build brands or create interfaces but to impact and make people's lives easier. 


Like any entrepreneur, he wanted to take this mission to a higher level and that's how the Change Agency came to life. They partner with startups and forward-thinking companies to build meaningful brands and products. In every project, they aim to prove that design is more than aesthetics: it encourages better behaviors, teaches empathy, makes products and services more accessible, champions diversity, and so forth.





You too want to simplify your customers' experience, create designs that matter, and set a product successfully on the market? 


Andrada Farcaș and Adrian Miclăuș have joined their forces to create a design white paper to help individuals from all kinds of backgrounds to simplify their customers' experience, create a design that matters, and set a product successfully on the market. It’s called Unleash your UX/UI design superpowers - Your essential handbook for generating the design that matters and you should definitely check it out. It will cost you less to read it than it will if not.  

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