While creating a website or an application, the developer needs to focus on two important components; the User Experience (UX) and the User Interface (UI). Both these terms are related to one another – the User Experience is based on effective use of the mobile app and how the user enjoys using the app, whereas, a User Interface is the look and feel of the app, its presentation and the overall interactivity of a product.
Hence, while creating a mobile app, the developers need to work together on the UX and UI, but both require different skill sets. Let’s understand this with the help of an example:
Take a look at the Facebook home screen. Everything you see in the top and side search bars “News Feed”, “Status”, “Video”, “Upcoming Events”, etc. – is all a part of the UI. So, what the User Interface ideally is that it helps you navigate within the app or website, for example, if you click on Events, you will be navigated to a page where you will be able to see all the events listed in your profile. A good UI is the one that is easy to use and helps navigate the user with ease.
On the other hand, User Experience is when the user clicks on the Events tab, but has to wait for the events to download for more than a minute. Imagine you try to search for a long lost friend, but you can’t search it or get presented with a multitude of options that do not match your friend’s name. With this kind of experience, it is the UX designer that needs to be blamed for the poor performance.
Cognitive scientist Don Norman, who first coined the term UX in the 1990s, and Jakob Nielsen, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, explain the difference of UX versus UI by stating that:
“Consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.”
What is User Experience (UX)?
While developing a mobile app or website, it is of utmost importance that the design is user centered – that is, that the app should be based on the needs and wants of the user. It is commonly known as UX – it records if the users enjoy using the app and that it is easy to use the app. UX is supposed to be practical, meaningful, affective, and should offer a valuable human-machine interaction.
One of the most important questions that the UX designer must ask is, “How can my company’s product best meet our user’s needs?”
So, what makes a great UX?
What is User Interface (UI)?
In order to have a good UX, it is important to have a User Interface that is easy to understand and access – UI is basically a presentation of the product. A UI designer is responsible to align how all the features get added on the page, the placement of buttons and icons to navigate and the other visual elements that make the user’s experience to navigate the app or website easily.
One of the most important questions that the UI designer must ask is, “Does the company provide a great product and does its website or mobile application have an intuitive and sleek layout that attracts more users?”
So, what make a great UI?
Importance of Design Thinking Process
“The design thinking ideology asserts that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem solving can lead to innovation, and innovation can lead to differentiation and a competitive advantage. The design-thinking framework follows an overall flow of 1) understand, 2) explore, and 3) materialize. Within these larger buckets fall the 6 phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test, and implement.”
As Don Norman preaches, “we need more design doing.” Design thinking does not free you from the actual design doing. As impactful as design thinking can be for an organization, it only leads to true innovation if the vision is executed.
At a high level, the UX and design thinking process identifies the purpose of the mobile product, business objectives, customer needs and pain points, as well as how the product will resolve those challenges. A D&D engagement will prioritise the product’s features that will help create a prototype and validated through testing. After both the business model and unique value proposition have been validated by real users, the product moves into development.
At the end, it is the usability of the application and the personality of your UI that will attract the users. UX and UI developers have different responsibilities but they need to work together to build a great product. The core of creating a good product should be user centric and easy to operate.