You might have overheard other people talking of a great ‘UX’ of a product or the lack of ‘UI’ of a website, and I bet you have asked yourself if these people are just using these terms to sound cool? Maybe it’s a new slang the tech kids are using these days? You are not far off… but what exactly does it mean?
These terms actually refer to two functions that are essential for a successful website that people often overlook – UX refers to the term User Experience, which is more analytical and technical, while UI stands for User Interface Design which is more related to graphic design, although more complex. But it’s not a case of choosing one or the other as both elements are crucial to a product and work closely together. Still confused? Let me break it down:
As the name ‘User Experience’ suggests, is all about enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, accessibility, services and pleasure in the interaction between the customer and the product. It’s all about interactions between potential and active customers and a company. Although the term is now closely linked to digital fields, this can be applied to absolutely everything from a lamp to a car.
“So it’s essentially marketing then…?” I hear you ask. Although it does use many of the same techniques to achieve the same goal of enticing customers, it is more in depth as it involves being part designer, part marketer, part project manager – and this changes as the project becomes more complex. Essentially, it takes the user through a whole experience and gives them a connection with the product.
While UX helps user experience of a product for effective and enjoyable use, User Interface (UI) Design compliments it. Unlike UX, which cares more about what the overall feel of the product, UI cares about how the product is presented. It gives the look, presentation and interactivity of a product and is what will make the website look appealing. I read somewhere that described UI in analogical terms as being the products like skin (visual / graphic presentation), senses (reactivity and interactivity in response to a user’s input) and makeup (that leads the user through their experience), while UX represents all the organs on the inside. I think is sums it up perfectly.
So to resume:
“Something that looks great but is difficult to use is exemplary of great UI and poor UX. While Something very usable that looks terrible is exemplary of great UX and poor UI.” As quoted by designer Helga Moreno
So now that you understand what both of these two terms mean, you are now ready to be part of the cool kids club and get your website optimized for the true user experience and give your customers what they want. But why should you care? Because there are so many website that look beautiful, but fail to make it enjoyable for their users. Imagine how much more successful they would be if they were strong in both fields!
The fact is that a better web starts with your website. You want your website to centre around user’s feeling and emotions – you want your site to convey to consumers and make them feel. If you don’t have emotion on your website, your readers will become emotionless and indifferent no matter what you are selling them. You have to give them a reason, a story and an incentive to buy from you – UX. It doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful looking website or not, if you create a feeling that your users can relate to, they are more likely to buy, thus creating more conversions. But just because its all about feeling, doesn’t mean that the functionality should be over looked. This is why both UX and UI go hand in hand as they are both co-dependant. The are fields that should not be separated in the work-place and we can guarantee if you get a good UX and UI on your website, the world is your oyster.
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