The design and development of products should be approached with users in mind. This is where the principles of user interface or UI and user experience or UX come into the picture. These user-centric principles of designing and developing products have some similarities or overlapping philosophies and rationale but the two also have key differences.
Comparing UI vs UX: Understanding the Difference Between User Interface and User Experience
It is important to note that both UI and UX considerations have become essential in modern product strategies. Modern computer systems such as consumer electronic devices and digital products such as operating systems and software or applications are always user-centric. The same is true for other products such as automotive vehicles and hand tools. Nevertheless, despite placing users at the center of designing and developing a product, there is a difference between user interface and user experience or UI and UX in terms of their definitions, principles, and applications. Take note of the following:
Definitions and Principles
A user interface is defined as a space where interactions between a human user and a machine occur. It is the point of contact between the user and the product. It is also responsible for translating the input of a user into commands that the product or machine can understand, and for producing the output of a machine in a way that the user can understand.
The design of this space is based on the principles and practices from the field of industrial design and its application in human-computer interaction. The main principle behind UI design is that it should allow the effective operation and control of the product from the human end. A well-designed user interface maximizes the usability of a product.
A user experience is a concept that determines or defines how a user interacts with and experiences a product. It specifically captures the overall experience that a user has when interacting with a product and it includes also aspects of such interaction. These include the initial encounter with the product to the final outcome of the interaction.
There are several factors that determine a good UX design. These are the usability and accessibility of a product, its functionality, the aesthetic value or visual appeal, reliability as expressed through the marketed features and benefits of the product, its performance, and the enjoyment that the user feels when using or interacting with the product.
Examples of Applications
The definitions above underscore the difference between UI and UX. The user interface specifically refers to the interactive elements of a product while the user experience represents the overall experience a user has with interacting with the product. It is interesting to note the fact that user experience can also include the user interface.
Nevertheless, to understand further how the UI differs from the UX, it is important to cite their applications. Specific examples of a user interface include the operating system of a computer, the buttons of a calculator, the knobs or controls of kitchen appliances, the remote control for a television or air conditioner, and the dashboard of a vehicle.
Examples of a user experience include the navigability of an operating system or application, responsiveness of a website, the layout of the buttons of a remote control, the intuitiveness of operating a car and the comfort of driving such, and the aesthetic appeal of home appliances. Remember that a UX captures the overall experience of a product user.
Take note that the user interface is confined to the design and development of machines or digital products because it is concerned with human-computer interaction. The user experience has more expansive applications that also include intangible products or services or the environment in which products or services are sold such as a restaurant.
UI vs UX Pointers: Understanding the Importance of User Interface and User Experience
A UI can be a part of a UX. A good user experience can still be achieved even if the user interface is not perfect in the same way that a product with an impressive user interface can still provide a poor user experience. This is another important difference between UI and UX. The best products demonstrate a combination of a good user interface design and good user experience considerations. A good user interface can make a product more visually appealing and easier to use and a good user experience can increase the satisfaction and enjoyment that come from interacting or using the same product.