March 14, 2022

The Difference Between UI Design And UX Design

The Difference Between UI Design And UX Design

Many people often consider UI design and UX design as the same since many would use the two terms interchangeably.

While it is true that both UI and UX are related because they both have roles to provide comfort and convenience for users when using an application or website, it’s important to note that they are not completely the same.

So, what is the difference between UI and UX design and how are they related to each other? Let’s discuss further!


What are UI Design and UX Design?

UI Design

UI stands for User Interface and is a part of UX. According to its name, UI refers to the visual or appearance of the product, be it a website or application. UI design acts as a tool to enhance the product so that it becomes appealing and affects the user’s first impression positively.

In doing so, UI essentially encourages the users to explore more about the product. Therefore, the role of a UI designer in creating attractive visuals is needed in this case.

UX Design

UX stands for User Experience which refers to how the users feel when interacting with the product. UX design works to increase user comfort by making features easier to access and utilize. In this case, the role of a UX designer is imperative in ensuring overall satisfaction while using the product.

A good UX design will give clear navigation for the user when they use certain products. Therefore, the role of a UX designer is also to erase any possible confusion when users interact with the products.

To understand more about the meaning of UI Design and UX Design, you can watch the following short video:

UI and UX Design is one of the most important components in product development. Both act as the first determinant factor that will decide whether an app or website will be utilized properly by the users, which eventually will lead to continuous usage.


What Are the Differences Between UI Design & UX Design?

As mentioned earlier, UI Design and UX Design are often considered the same by many people, but they are not. So, what are the main differences between UI Design and UX Design? Let’s discuss further!

1. Focus

The basic principle that separates UI Design and UX Design lies in the focus of the design created. We can see the difference based on their respective meanings by paying attention to the two terms. UI Design focuses on the visual of the product while UX Design focuses on user comfort and satisfaction.

2. Basic planning

UI design and UX design also have different fundamental plans. The UI design plan is created based on the brand guidelines so that the products made can fit with the defined concept. Meanwhile, the UX Design plan is based on the data and the user research results so that it can create products that will be well-liked and needed.

3. Design principles

UI Design and UX Design also have different principles that they follow. UX Design uses the design concept of Human-Centered Design, while UI Design uses User-Centered Design. Below is a brief explanation of the differences between Human-Centered Design and User-Centered Design:

  • Human-Centered Design is the design process that focuses on human characteristics, perception, and psychological state.
  • User-Centered Design is the design process that also focuses on human characteristics but is more specific and focuses on a more in-depth analysis of humans as a defined target user.

4. Basic planning

UI Design elements do not only focus on the factors that can make a product attractive or beautiful, but they also consider the elements that can add interactivity since UI Design focuses on the point of interaction between the user and the product.

Here are 4 important elements in UI Design:

  • Input Controls are the elements that allow users to enter information into the system. For example, if we need information from users about their hobbies, then we will use this element to let users provide that information. Some examples of Input Control elements are checkboxes, dropdown lists, list boxes, buttons, toggles, text fields, and others.
  • Navigational Components are the elements that help users move or explore a product so that users can achieve their goals in using the web or app. Some examples of navigational components are breadcrumbs, sliders, search fields, tags, icons, and others.
  • Informational Components are the elements that are used to share information with users so that users can better understand the objects displayed within the product. Some examples of Informational Components are notifications, tooltips, progress bars, message boxes, modal windows, and others.
  • Containers are the elements that contain related content in one container so that the display is not too full and makes the users focus more on one element that is displayed. An example of containers is accordion

Here are 5 important elements in UX Design:

(According to Jesse James Garrett in his book entitled “The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond”)

  • Strategy. In strategy, we will talk about two components; user needs and site objectives. User needs are the purpose of a product. Therefore, we must understand what users want from our product and how it will fit with our site objective. These two things are the important foundations that we must find before designing a product.
  • Scope. When we have successfully identified and aligned the user needs and site objectives, the strategy will be translated into scope. In short, at this stage we will turn strategy into requirements which are functional specifications and content. For more details, functional specifications and content requirements can be described as follows:
    • Functional specifications are a collection of features on a product that users need to achieve their goals.
    • Content requirements are the information needed by users from a product and what the value of that content information serves for users.
  • Structure. Next, we will organize the features and content that was previously collected into a structure so that users can interact with this information. In this structure, there are two components: interaction design and information architecture.
    • Interaction design must be aligned with the functional specifications since it determines how users can interact with a product and how the features in the product will respond to user interactions.
    • Information architecture must be aligned with content requirements because the way it is arranged can determine how well users will comprehend the information provided.
  • Skeleton. The skeleton is a representation of the products we create and the stage where the wireframe is created. The products that were made will begin to be seen because at this stage we will optimize the settings of the interaction design and information architecture, which is done to maximize efficiency. Skeleton is divided into 3 main components:
    • Interface design shows the visual elements and allows users to interact with the product in a functional way.
    • Navigation design enables users to effectively move and access the information architecture on a product.
    • Information design presents the content that can facilitate user understanding.
  • Surface. At this stage, we can see the visual design of our finished product and everything that will be displayed. Each component serves its own purpose, but they must also be related for the designed product to function in accordance with the predetermined goals.
The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond

5. Skills needed

UI designers must have the ability to create appealing graphic designs, layouts, and mockups to create an attractive product visually.

  • Graphic design can also be called a visual communication tool. UI designers must be able to convey the value of a product to the users by making an attractive design that fits the intended concept.
  • The layout is a pattern used to arrange interface elements in a product, which includes headers, content areas, sidebars, footers, navigation, CTA (Call to Action) buttons, and others. UI designers are required to create a layout that is easy to follow by the user’s eyes, to minimize navigation difficulty.
  • Mockups are a visual representation of a concept that will be applied to a product. They are usually made with two-dimensional or three-dimensional variations and are also given other visual effects to look more realistic. UI designers must be able to create a mockup so that its features can be presented properly. Mockups are usually created after the wireframe is approved.


Meanwhile, UX designers must have the ability to create wireframes and prototypes as well, so that the design of a product can be presented.

  • A wireframe, also known as a blueprint screen, is the basic framework in designing a product, where it becomes the starting point for designing a product.
    Usually, the wireframe will be like a simple black and white scheme, which includes 3 main components, those include interface design, navigation design, and information design.
    The wireframe is made for conveying the content of a product. There are 3 types of wireframes in general:

    • The low-fidelity wireframe is the type of wireframe with the simplest design. This is usually created without scale, grid, or pixel accuracy.
    • The mid-fidelity wireframe is the most commonly used wireframe type. Mid-fidelity has more complete detail than low-fidelity. A mid-fidelity design representation will be more accurate, even if it does not use images or typography. Usually, mid-fidelity is made with different colors so that it can explain the details of a certain feature.
    • The high-fidelity wireframe is the most detailed type of wireframe compared to the previous two types. High-fidelity has the most specific design. This type already uses images and actual content writing, plus other additional details. This type is also equipped with interactive features.
  • A prototype is a design that is created with the aim of testing the concept or work process of a product. The prototype is created after the mockup is approved.
    The prototype is made as close as possible to the result of a product to simulate how the users can interact. The prototype is made with the aim of testing the concept of a product, in order to detect errors in the early stages of creating a product.


After describing the differences between UI design and UX design, let’s summarize the details above in a table so that it is easier to understand and you can remember the important points in it well.



How Do UI Design & UX Design Work Together in Product Development?

After understanding the differences between UI design and UX design, now we will discuss how they will work together in product development.

UI design will determine how the product will be seen by users to make a good first impression. Therefore, UI designers must ensure the attractiveness of a product.

In addition, they must also consider how the composition of colors, images, typography, and other UI elements can blend well and fit with the concept that has been planned. This is imperative so that the users feel comfortable when using it.

Not only should designers prioritize attractiveness, but also functionality and easiness to use. This is where the role of UX designer comes in. UX designers are responsible for determining how the elements that have been designed by the UI designer can be used easily by the users. This is so that the users get satisfaction and a good experience when using the product.

The success of UX design in a product can be measured by how simple or complicated the UI design functions are. There are several important aspects that need to be considered in creating UI design to produce a good UX design:

1. Users’ Point of View

A product must be made by observing the users’ needs and making the user’s point of view a focus. Because the users’ preferences when interacting with the product can be known by using this point of view.

2. Consistency

Users tend to like consistency in the appearance and function of an element. This is because users will find it easier to learn the pattern of the product and which minimizes the need for repeated learning.

3. Simplicity

A simple and efficient design will be preferred by the users instead of a complex design. Apart from being easier to use, the simple design can reduce confusion when the users use it


Can UI Design & UX Design Be Separated?

The simple answer is no.

A product that has a good visual appearance, but a difficult function is an example of good UI design with bad UX Design. On the other hand, products that are functionally easy to use but have poor visuals is an example of good UX design with bad UI design.

UI design and UX design are two things that can not be separated. Both need each other and must work together in the process of product development. Both must have the same good design to collaborate and produce a product that is attractive and easy to use functionally.

When it comes to building an application or website, our UI and UX expert team members are highly equipped to not only prioritize functionality but also aesthetic appeal. Head over to our contacts page to learn more about how we can help you and your team!