A picture of Josefin Fröberg

05 November, 2019

Why do we get confused about the terms UX and UI? What is the difference?


The confusion between what is UX, User Experience, and what is UI, User Interface, is total. For many it is the same, for others it is two completely different things. For some it is obvious competence in a development team, for others it is enough with one while for a third it is completely superfluous.

Although many believe it, UX and UI are two completely different terms. We talked to Josefin Fröberg, experienced UI designer, to find out the concepts and understand the meaning of the different roles.

What is UX?

UX is the abbreviation for User Experience. UX is about understanding different needs and flows and by creating as user-friendly services and products as possible.

What is UI?

UI is an abbreviation of User Interface. A UI designer decides what a product or service should look like and usually works based on a completed graphic profile that includes colors, fonts and logos.

Why are so many confused by the concepts?

My view is that many include UI in UX and therefore the concept of UX feels more recognized. Sometimes I think many people believe that a UX designer does everything from feasibility studies to finished UI designs. I have had many discussions with both designers and people with other roles what they think UX is and almost everyone answers differently. UX is a relatively new concept in the IT world and I think many people have not really thought about what UX stands for more than it is user-friendly design. Which I believe leads UX to stand for both User Experience and User Interface.

How do UX designers and UI designers work together?

A UX designer and a UI designer usually work very closely together. Especially when it comes to the phase of creating wireframes, which can be the step before a UI designer takes over. At this stage, it may be helpful to discuss possible ways in which user experience and visual identity influence each other so that the product or service works well but also creates space to give a neat and inspiring impression.

Can you have a UX designer without a UI designer and vice versa?

There is no rule or requirement to use a UX designer and a UI designer together, but it will not always be as good without a UI designer and it may not be as functional without a UX designer. So I would recommend using both a UX designer and a UI designer to deliver a complete design experience. Sometimes a person sits on both skills.

What is most important, UX design or UI design?

It depends on what the purpose of the service or product is. If you are building an intranet or a payment service, UX is significantly more important to deliver as user-friendly and easily accessible service as possible, but if you are going to build a campaign site to launch a new brand then perhaps the focus is on creating a unique visual design in order to convey a feeling.

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