Ever wondered how you could easily swipe left or right on Tinder to like or pass on someone? And have you seen how professional and clean Airbnb’s app looks? These are all the works of UX and UI designers; they're essential for anyone looking to establish their place in the digital world.
From apps to websites, these two designs go hand-in-hand to give you a superior product that everyone enjoys using. Read on, as we’ll be diving into the world of UX and UI and showing you some important designer titles you should learn about.
We’ll kick things off with UI; this stands for user interface, and is basically how users react with a particular device, app, or even website.
So, when designing a user interface, you wouldn’t only want to create something pretty, but something easy to use as well.
UI design refers to graphical user interfaces and other forms of interface design.
Think about the 'pause' and 'play' buttons on YouTube. That’s one example of a user interface design. The button to click 'send' for your email is another example. A good UI is one that allows users to perform their intended tasks with ease and simplicity, yet is still pleasing to the eye.
“UX” stands for user experience, and it basically explains itself – it's the experience the user has when interacting with a device, app or website.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, 'user experience' includes all aspects of the interaction between the end-user and its products, the company behind it, and other aftermarket services provided. ISO 9241-210, defines user experience as "a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service."
This would cover a person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use of the product. UX designers are in charge of determining how the user interface operates.
So, while designing a UI, it is always prudent to keep UX in mind as well. If it works well and feels seamless, the user will enjoy the experience, which is what counts.
Imagine pressing your snap button on your camera but instead of taking a picture, it starts recording a video. This means that the interface was designed poorly in terms of functionality.
From the explanations above, it's easy to get the two mixed together. You would think that if it's designed beautifully or neatly it would function the same way, right? Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.
|UX designs use tools to create wire maps and frameworks. Software like Figma and InVision will be used.||UI designs are mostly visual and graphic, so expect Sketch, Adobe and Origami Studio to be among the ‘must-use 'tools.|
|UX designers require a lot of user research input to determine the best flow for the product.||UI designs must be visually pleasing, enticing and give users a ‘feel good’ experience.|
|UX requires logic to create functioning products.||UI requires creativity to create amazing looking products.|
|The end product of a UX design is for programmers to implement. Coding is required here.||The end product for UI is for the customer/client. Usually for the front end.|
Based on the table above, it's clear that a UI designer focuses more on the visual aspect of the interface, as opposed to the UX design. One is to look good, whilst the other allows you to use it with ease.
As Don Norman and Jacob Nielson so succinctly put it, "It’s important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface, even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios."
In the grand scheme of things, you need mastery in both fields to actually develop an eye-catching app, programme, or system. We’ve listed some of the most popular UX and UI job titles below for you to read and learn about. Who knows, there might be something worth pursuing yourself!
The UX process has many stages, but a UX designer is not expected to be a specialist in any one function. In other words, UX designers are expected to embody the principles behind the saying, “a jack of all trades, a master of none.”
UX designer duties include:
The UX Architect develops the structure and flow of a digital product (website, app, software, etc) so that users will enjoy using them. They conduct research and interviews, take that information and transmutes it into wireframes and sitemaps which will then be used to guide the final design of the product.
UX writers create the written content to be used in the app, programme or software. They create any worded content for users to read and interact at the end-stage. A good example would be the ‘X’ button on your internet tab. Press it and the tab closes. In addition to that, the UX writer creates content meant for the product, be it informational, humour, or hubris.
The UI Designer takes the groundwork done by the UX designer and implements it into the design of the product. If it’s a webpage, the UI designer creates the image of the page whilst incorporating the functions done by the UX designer.
Things like the colour scheme and even the amount of information to be placed in a specific part of the software or app usually fall under the responsibilities of the UI designer. Most major companies already have a brand identity, colour scheme, and style that the UI designer would have to abide by when making a product for said company.
Essentially, UI designers are graphic designers. They prioritise the look and aesthetics of the product above all else. It's their duty to make the interface eye-catching, stimulating and inviting to the user.
They also have to make sure symmetry and unity of the design be present from start to end of the product. Combined with the work of the UX designer, and you’ll get a beautiful product that’s seamless to use as well.
A good example of such a product is Pinterest. Being one of the card-styled design pioneers, Pinterest enhanced its product with the ‘waterfall effect’ to give users that silky smooth experience. Pinterest further enhances the perception of ‘click ability’ by giving each card a shade whenever the user hovers over it with the mouse. Smart visual effect!
UI engineers work the coding part of the designs intended to be used in the product. This is usually for front end website developers. Anything in software requires code; the UI engineers handle that part. They maintain the site, clear up any bugs and upgrade the site whenever necessary or as dictated by the company. They also make sure the front end is, from a user standpoint, visually pleasing and well-functioning.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, if you want to make a good digital solution, you need a good mix of UI and UX to attract and keep users to your product. There are some interchangeable skills for the roles we mentioned above, but it's clear to note from the differences table, there are some specific software, techniques, and skills required for each respective field.
Mastering a field in either type is a great career prospect in 2022, as a lot of digital solutions providers are looking for individuals to enhance their product(s), making these titles we mentioned above highly in demand.
Ideally, you want to have a base skillset in one field and have some in-depth knowledge in the other. This will allow you to be able to undertake full projects or give you an idea of what needs to be done for any future products you want to conceptualise.
Now, if you're starting to feel like it's time to dip your toes into this field, check out this UI/UX designer's resume first. This template may also help you produce a fantastic CV for your next job application.