Intelligent user interface and user experience designs are essential for the public image and commercial success of any online enterprise. However, many people either confuse these two terms or use them interchangeably.

We will attempt to clarify the confusion by explaining the fundamental principles behind both terms and highlighting the basic differences in their designs. Once you understand what UI and UX stand for, you will be in a better position to improve the visual presentation and functioning of your interface.

Alternatively, you can rely on a software development company like Techstack, which has years of professional experience in offering ideal UI/UX design solutions for the specific aspects of your industry and the particular expectations of your clientele. Moreover, it will also help you with back-end and front-end development, auditing, software testing, quality analysis and other important business tasks.

User Interface

The UI refers to the electronic field in which the user interacts with the software. A computer screen is a good example. More specifically, what happens on the screen when you open a webpage is what the professionals in the field refer to as a user interface.

However, it consists of more than just a visual data representation and includes various hardware accessories, some of which are shown in the table below:

InputJoystick, mouse, keyboard
OutputPrinter, speakers, monitor

There are currently three most widespread types of user interfaces, namely:

  1. Command line interface, mostly used by IT specialists, in which the person types verbal instructions to the computer
  2. Graphic user interface, in which the communication takes place by means of visual data on the screen
  3. Voice user interface, of which “Hello Google” and car navigators are the best-known examples

User Interface Design

Most users and developers agree that a well-designed interface is:

  • Attractive
  • Clear
  • Precise
  • Effective
  • Consistent
  • Familiar
  • Responsive
  • Supportive

UI Design Model

The IFIP refers to the currently most widely accepted UI reference model, and it may be worth mentioning briefly in the context of our article. In simple terms, IFIP uses the following four criteria for assessing the usability of an interface:

  1. The appearance, i.e. the aesthetic aspect of a design
  2. The experience, i.e. the communication and interactive features of an interface
  3. The functionality, i.e. the diversity of its technical functions as well as the ease of access to other relevant services and tools
  4. The support, i.e. the structural organisation of an interface in terms of whether it facilitates or impedes the achievement of desired goals

User Experience

Your interface may be well-designed and aesthetically appealing, but the question is, how does the user feel when he interacts with it? This is what UX stands for, effectively. Do your clients find it helpful, easy to use and efficient? If the answers to all these questions are negative, all previous work has been a waste of time and effort, ultimately.

Another closely related concept is the developer experience. The DX refers to how easy the next software developer will find it to work with various components of the interface, such as the relevant programs, processes and tools, when he will be using it to create a new design version. This aspect is especially important for companies that offer software services to other online operators.

User Experience Design

Ideally, a sophisticated UX design should be based on multiple practical perspectives, such as:

  • Interactive nature of the interface and other relevant digital services
  • Communicational and aesthetic aspects of the front end
  • Structural and dynamic components of data presentation to enable more efficient processing and navigation
  • Understanding the user behaviour, specific motivation and individual difficulties and concerns of the target audience

For these reasons, a professional user experience designer should:

  • Research the company’s clientele in order to come up with the best interface for their specific needs, purposes and cognitive styles
  • Produce a strategically meaningful design in terms of the ultimate purpose of the production process
  • Pay attention to how clients use the interface in order to discover their unforeseen preferences and habits, and to adjust the design accordingly
  • Establish convenient and continuous communication channels with the company’s personnel in order to evaluate the effectiveness of his product and, if necessary, adjust it to ensure the smooth operation of the entire enterprise

In structural terms, the final product consists of a title page, explanatory features, documentation of the design decisions, and the history of this particular design version. However, it often has to include additional deliverables, such as technical specifications, user profiles, flow diagrams and video stories, to name a few.

The ultimate goal is to create an UX design that will be:

  1. Useful
  2. Multifunctional
  3. User-friendly
  4. Reliable
  5. Pleasant to use

Final Comment

Closely related though the two may be, user interface and user experience designs require fundamentally different methodologies and expertise. Still, many IT professionals treat them as one and offer their UI/UX services as a package. But the truth is, it simply does not work that way: it is like writing a novel and translating it into a foreign language – you are either good at one or the other.

And even if some expert in the field has all the knowledge and skills to do both jobs very well, the very necessity of constantly fidgeting between the two will significantly impair his concentration and have a detrimental effect on the quality of the final product in both tasks. Therefore, you should only consider software development companies, like Techstack, that employ different specialists for these two services.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.