You shouldn’t ever feel like you need to know enough designer-speak to be able to understand the jargon and the memes. Your designer should be talking to you in your language.
But… there are two abbreviations that you should be aware of.
The two are important because they will help you to understand where your designer is going with your website plan and the reasoning behind their advice.
If you’ve opted to create your own website, knowledge around these terms will be vital to you.
UX and UI
These two abbreviations are often used far too flippantly in our opinion.
User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are seen by some as interchangeable. But they do not mean the same thing.
UX and UI are so imperative in web design that there are designers who specifically train in them. Just as you can get interior designers, graphic designers and game designers, you can also get UX designers and UI designers.
UX designers will work with UI designers to create an attractive, practical, easily accessible, and user-friendly web service.
Their explanation is debated across different industries, and even within the world of web, so you may be searching for a solid definition for some time.
To really get an understanding so that you can apply the logic to your own designs, or have a quality conversation with your web designer, let’s think about what a UX designer and a UI designer actually does.
What a UX designer does
User experience designers work on perfecting the way a person operates and interacts with something. That something could be a website, an app, a physical product, or an in-person service.
To do this, they’ll research the type of person who will be using the digital or physical product or service. They’ll delve into their behaviours and motivations, challenges and obstacles to come up with an experience that matches their needs.
They’ll also aim to discover marketing gaps and design faults that mean sales leads are passed by.
They’ll then try out the structure of their creations on a test group or their colleagues to spot any flaws in the design and frustrations felt by the user. Their aim is for a user to not even notice that they’ve had a great experience. Their experience should be seamless.
A UX designer will collaborate with other developers, including UI designers.
The role of a UI designer
User interface designers make sure that everything looks visually pleasing and easy to understand.
They’ll take a look at the research the UX designer put together and come up with a way to appeal to the user in a way they’ll respond positively to.
The UI designer will focus on aesthetics, looking at colour, copy layout, buttons, menus, graphics, animations, and typography. They’ll create style guidelines and cement the visual character and brand identity of the service or product. Their goal is to make things look nice while also being practical and functional.
The UI may be the most gorgeous creation ever, but the UX behind it needs to be slick.
UI designers need to bring the UX designer’s research, navigation and engineering to life through all of the above design elements. This should then create a top quality, smooth and engaging performance that a user will enjoy.
What UX and UI mean on your website
You can see why the two get mixed up can’t you? If your feeling confused, don’t worry. What you really need to understand is that the two work hand in hand. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs.
Here are a few examples of how UX and UI complement each other and what that might look like on your website.
The accommodation search function at studenthomes.net uses a blue colour palette with an accent green to draw attention to important information. Additionally, featured properties with 360° tours are treated with a colour variation to stand out amongst other listing. This is all down to the UI designer.
The UX designer may have found in their research that price is the biggest differentiator when choosing a property. A user of this website might see the large, easily adjustable price bar and feel at ease.
The homepage of checkdocs.co.uk has an animated carousel as its header. The images focus in on single buildings and points out warnings of non-compliance.
The UI designer has understood the customers’ pain points, which were discovered by the UX designer, and they have used this computerised aesthetic to signal that artificial intelligence can pinpoint these problems instantly.
Next time you chat to your designer, you can impress them with all these key words like customer pain point, brand identity, typography, and more!
And if you’re creating your own website, using a hosting provider such as WordPress, now you are more familiar with how UX and UI impact the users of your website and know what to look out for.