Skip to content

UX vs. UI Design: What’s the Difference

User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are words that are frequently mentioned in tech circles. We have all heard people mentioning how a website has a great UI or discussing the poor UI of a product. Visual elements including toggles, buttons, and icons that users interact with while using a website or app refer to UI. The user’s interaction with a product and their feelings about that interaction is what refers to UX.

UI vs. UX

If you want to understand these terms better and more importantly, understand the difference between the two, you have landed at the right place.

Different Expertise

The expertise of UX and UI designers lies in completely different things. UX designers focus on wireframes, prototypes, and research while the expertise of UI designers lies in mockups, graphics, and layouts.

UX designers are supposed to build frictionless user experiences that meet their demands. This is why they create prototypes before a product is launched in order to analyse how great the UX is. They apply their technical skills to carry out user research and prototyping and usability testing. The UX expands to all aspects of a product’s development which includes design, usability, function as well as marketing and branding. Someone who is a good UX designer would be able to combine software and ideas to meet user needs.

On the other hand, UI designers specialise in creating wonderful websites by using their technical knowledge and creatively combining various design elements. For example, if a UI designer needs to make a trendy website, they will align it with the brand’s values in a way that reveals brand identity. They will focus on creating an interface that is easy to use, flexible and enjoyable for the user.

Interaction vs Visual

The major difference between UX and UI is that while the former is focused on interaction, the latter is all about visual design.

User experience is all about the feelings and emotions that are experienced by a user when they are interacting with a product. It includes a viewer’s perceptions of the utility, ease of use, and efficiency of a website. The UX design encompasses all interactions between an end-user and a company.

On the contrary, UI refers to the visual elements that help a user interact with a product. It is the space where humans and machines interact. UI is what complements UX by presenting a product in a way that determines its overall look and feels which will in turn impact the user experience.

If we take a simple example of a banking app, the way that it looks and its overall intuitive navigation like buttons, menus, etc. will be UI but the speed of the app or the ease with which you can transfer money through it will be UX. Both of these come together to impact a customer’s experience yet they are focused on different elements.

Another example more specific to design can be that logos, brand colors, animations, etc are all part of UI as they are visual elements that appeal to a customer. For instance, a look at the website Zillion Designs you will see that the theme of the brand has been incorporate into the UI like visuals, navigation, and CTAs so that the visitor gets trained to click on the specific element to go to their desired page.

Similarly, prototyping is an essential part of the user experience as it helps to determine how the users will be able to interact with a product and this is why it is always held in high regard by UX designers.

Different Goals

There are four main goals that need to be achieved by designers when it comes to UI design. The first one is to instil a sense of control in the user. This can be done in many ways such as by making it possible for users to reverse their actions and backtrack with something like an undo button. The interface should also be easy to navigate for the users so that they do not struggle too much with it and users with different skill levels must be accommodated.

The second goal is to make it comfortable for a user to interact with a product by eliminating all elements that do not help the user and this can be done in the prototyping state with tools like Spring2 Innovation avoiding jargon and creating a connection between the real and digital world.

Another goal is to reduce the mental load on users when using your product. If users have to find the desired destination on the website, they will bounce off. This is especially true for ecommerce websites. If the visitor can’t find within 1-2 clicks then you have lost their interest and to your competitors.

The last one is to make consistent user interfaces so that learned behavior can be created to help your user in their UX. Whether you are designing CTAs, banner image, content, or process flow, they all should match the brand and teach the user to get use to exploring your website. Consistent CTA colors train user to always search for it when they want to click to find something. Similar drop-downs will help them to navigate to their desired landing page can also be trained.

In terms of UX designs, there are a few important goals as well. The first one is to help a user solve a problem. For example, Google may have changed in several ways but every time you type the Google URL, you land on the Google search bar page which helps you search for anything and hence, solves the problem that you come to Google for. This means that no overcompensation needs to be done but a simple issue needs to be resolved.

Secondly, make the UX copy so simple that users do not have to think at all. If the same example of Google is taken, you can type something as ridiculous as “how to punch someone?” and you will notice that the keywords are already fed into the system. Another goal could be trying to create new habits for the user like Whatsapp has done by transforming the way messaging and calls are made.


The UX and UI design come together to form the overall experience of a product by a user. Having a great UX is extremely important for companies because it is what makes a product competitive enough as it has been shown that 40% of people who experienced bad UX will most likely turn to competitors’ products, according to an article by Maze.

Similarly, design-focused companies are seen to grow twice as fast as other companies which can be owed to UI design which gives them a competitive advantage and acts as a major differentiator. The simple distribution of tasks between UX and UI designers is that UX designers should focus on tackling real problems while UI designers should focus on designing interfaces while keeping user needs in their mind. Both UX and UI designers are important for enhancing user experience but the responsibilities are distributed as UI skills would be needed for logo design and branding could be done by more qualified UX designers in the company.

About the Author

Michael Baker

Michael Baker is a digital marketing executive at ZillionDesigns who writes about graphic design, website development, branding and in particular the digital marketing niche. He loves to explore trendy topics and add his two cents to make them relevant and practical for readers.

Technology illustrations by Storyset


Leave a Reply