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UX and UI: Two terms that are often used interchangeably, but actually mean very different things. So what exactly is the difference? And what can you do with it?
Before we answer these questions, let’s start by defining some key terms. The D in UX and UI refers to Design.
So what exactly does this mean for you? Well, UX design is the process of creating a user-centric experience that also features engineering aspects such as design patterns, analytics, and other software processes.
Design patterns are a series of solutions to problems encountered within product development that developers have found to be effective time and time again in building products for users.
For example, in user-centered design, one of the first steps is to conduct interviews with users who can give you their perspective on what the intended product experience should be. These views will then be used to inform and drive your design process.
In UI Design, all the elements that are visible on your computer screen, from buttons to logos, are called interface elements. Each interface element has a purpose, and some play more than one role.
An example may be a button that also serves as a submit call button for a contact form.
From a user’s perspective, the interface elements on a page are very important. The goal is to give them a pleasant, user-centric experience and make them want to use the product every time they log in.
So now that we understand the difference between these terms, let’s look at some real-life examples.
An excellent design example can be found with Google Maps. Say you’re in Kansas City and you want to know how far it is from you to New York City.
After typing in your request, Google Maps will give you the estimated time and distance of travel between those two locations.
If you want to take a look at the map of what this trip would look like, Google Maps offers a satellite view as well as a street view.
You can rotate the map or scale it depending on what you’re looking for. And if you want to save it as a picture and share it with your friends on Facebook, you can do that too! All of these features make Google Maps an excellent user experience.
An example of UI design is the Twitter homepage. It’s easy to navigate and takes up minimal screen space so that more users can get more done with less effort.
Users who sign in will see their timeline (what they have posted and who has tweeted them) front and center when they go to their profile page.