UX and UI are two terms frequently used yet often misunderstood. It explains why the concepts are attached to common myths and misconceptions that lead to greater misunderstanding.
To debunk some common UI/UX myths, let's talk more about what UX and UI are.
The two terms refer to maximizing usability and user interaction with software and computerized devices. In other words, they are concerned with the flow, accessibility, and effectiveness of a digital design from start to finish to create the greatest user experience.
User Experience (UX) deals with the entire process from start to finish. The Interaction Design Foundation describes it as a story that begins before the device is even in the user's hand. UX designers are concerned with how people, or users, interact with their creation.
Were their interactions effortless? Was it easy to navigate? How did the user feel while spending time with the product?
A UX designer performs research, tests, and modifications to answer these questions. Think of them as the architect that structures the design in a way that generates a desired feeling for the user.
UserInterface (UI)cares about the visual appeal and designing interfaces to contribute to the overall experience. The goal is to offer a visual guide and accomplish the aesthetic delight to contribute to the feel. As a UI designer, one is focused on color, typography, and imagery. Imagine the UI designer as an artist who considers the psychology and symbolism of product design to create the best user experience.
In short, UX is a big bubble that houses UI, interaction design, and visual design. Together they focus on the user's needs, feelings, and overall experience to reach product effectiveness and success.
After differentiating the two, let's bust 5 common myths and misconceptions associated with UX and UI.
UI/UX are the same thing.
Many believe UI and UX are interchangeable terms, but UX is much bigger. In fact, UI is a single piece to the bigger UX puzzle. UX is about doing the research necessary to understand the actual problem, to understand the users, and to understand the business and technical needs to reach a solution. UI design should be built off the research done for UX work. From the discoveries, UI can focus on the visual design to create the greatest user experience.
UX and UI design takes too much time and money.
In reality, UX/UI saves time. The commitment feels heavy at first, but UX/UI ensures the project is right on track from the start: that developers are solving the right problem, that the product is user friendly, that business needs are met. If UX/UI isn't discovered at the beginning of the project, developers can run into problems that prolong the project's process.
A good design doesn't need testing.
A design only becomes good by testing! Even if it seems flawless, it's an important part of the process to differentiate the developer's expertise with the user's needs. And, the creators aren't the end users, so it's important to test the design with those who will actually use it. This helps identify pain points and difficulties that can be re-modified and tested again for the best experience. It requires failing and constant re-evaluation, but it's the best way to meet the user's expectations.
UX/UI can be done in the middle or at the end of the project.
UX/UI works best when it's not the final cherry top. It needs to be one of the first things to happen on a project. It starts with the UX research to identify the right problem, understand users and business requirements, and THEN come up solutions. Ideally, this work should be done before the developers start coding. UX/UI testing can also continue throughout a project as new challenges arise.
More is better.
More options seem helpful, but they lead to confusion and lingering decisions. Hick's Law is a common theory many User Interface designers keep in mind when creating a product. The website lawsofux.com explains Hick's Law this way: "The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexities of choices". In other words, less is better. The simpler something is, the more intuitive it's likely to be.
Overall, User Experience is the umbrella term that houses User Interface and design. As processes, they claim to create the best, most effective and efficient experience for people on digital platforms. With their differences, UX and UI still share the same goal of finding solutions through branding, design, usability, and function to meet user and business needs.