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What is the difference between UI and UX design?

UI and UX have specific roles, they work closely together to make sure customers who interact with your business online have a seamless experience.

If you grew up in a world where the biggest celebrities were R2-D2 or C-3PO, you’d be forgiven for thinking that UI design and UX design were some sort of robotic designers thought up by George Lucas, and taking the form of overpriced miniatures clogging the shelves of Kmart. You would, of course, be wrong.

In the marketing world, UI design and UX design are simply elements of marketing assets.

Although they have specific roles, they work closely together to make sure customers who interact with your business online have an easy and pleasurable experience – and importantly, make that purchase.

Here, we distinguish the key differences between UI and UX design, and the roles each play in a marketing context.

What is UX (user experience) design?

User experience design, or UX design, is a term that describes every way a user interacts with a company or product.

It’s a broad term that can be applied to anything that a human connects with, from using a bar of soap, to visiting a theme park, to shopping on a particular website, to signing up to receive email newsletters.

Having said that, these days, when people talk about UX, chances are they’re talking about the digital space.

Front of mind for every UX designer is the experience of the website visitor or customer. How does their online experience make them feel? How easy is it for them to complete a task? At what points are they sailing through and where are the roadblocks?

Critically, for marketing purposes, the question is: what UX design leads to sales?

UX designers look at task analyses to determine which improvements need to be made to a website to achieve better outcomes.

For example, the data may reveal that customers find it easy to navigate the online shopping experience of your website but find the checkout and payment process confusing or cumbersome, with an unacceptable number of users abandoning their carts. Reviewing this, the UX designer should then create a checkout system that’s clearer and easier to use.

What is UI (user interface) design?

User interface design, or UI design, is about the look and feel and interactivity of a digital asset.

A UI designer considers elements such as colour, use of space, typography, images and graphics, and creates a website or digital platform that users navigate through seamlessly.

The UI design of a website is the visual guide that massages the visitor through intuitively, to achieve the desired outcomes for the business.

An important aspect of UI design is the incorporation of brand assets, including logos, into an aesthetically pleasing and well-functioning design.

How UI and UX design differ

Essentially, UI is about visuals and UX is about experience.

Whereas UX design encompasses online and offline experiences, UI is strictly digital.

While they work together hand in glove, UI and UX design have very specific functions. UX is all about the overall user experience and how it makes them feel, whereas UI is about the website’s look and function.

Or think of it this way: UI design is that gorgeous red bike with all the bells and whistles. UX design is the way you feel riding it.

Despite their differences, UI design and UX design have one thing in common: their role is to make the user’s experience as seamless and easy as possible, leading to tangible bottom-line results for the business.

How are UI and UX used in marketing?

Digital marketing professionals use UI and UX together, and many will tell you that a weakness in one can pull the other down.

You may have had the experience of visiting a website that is beautiful to look at but is so muddled and confusing to use you never end up making a purchase. That’s good UI and bad UX. The result is no sale.

Similarly, you may have visited a website that seamlessly moved you from consideration, to clicking ‘buy’, to cart, to payment, but the text was too small to read and the page was overwhelmed with buttons and flashing graphics that you became frustrated and left. That’s good UX and bad UI. Again, the result is no sale.

Marketers aim for full strength UI and UX to move the visitor through the sales funnel, from research to consideration to sale, easily and quickly.

Need help elevating your UI and UX design?

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with years of experience integrating UI and UX into marketing strategies that deliver tangible bottom-line results.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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