UI vs. UX: What's the Difference?

UI and UX are two abbreviated terms that get tossed around quite a bit in the tech world, but often people don't know what they mean or how they relate to each other. If you're new to UI and UX design or just want to refresh your understanding of these concepts, read on!

We'll explore what each term means, as well as how both can be used together to create an amazing user experience (UX) for your site or app.

UI vs. UX

UI or user interface is what the user sees. UI is the visual representation of the product. It also refers to all things that a user interacts with, including:
  • Menus and buttons
  • Buttons on websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., where you can click to take some action (like follow someone)
  • An app's layout

While there are many tools UI designers use, Pixso has emerged as the most advanced one. In fact, it has become the best Figma alternative in recent months.

On the other hand, user experience (UX) is a broader term that describes how easy and intuitive the interface is to use. It's about more than just the UI or interface; it encompasses all aspects of the user journey, from first impressions to ongoing use. UX includes how users feel when interacting with an interface, their expectations for what they can do on your site or app, and if those expectations are met during each step of their journey.

Key differences between UI and UX

While UI and UX designers work together to create a seamless user experience the two disciplines are inherently different.

UI designers focus on the look of your site or app: how it's laid out, what colors are used, where logos appear, and how buttons function. These experts use design software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Sketch to create wireframes for clients to review. Once approved, these designs are handed off to a developer who brings them to life with HTML/CSS.

The biggest difference between UI and UX is that UI focuses more on design aspects, whereas UX takes a more holistic approach to the user's experience with your site or app.

UI (user interface) is all about how the site looks; UX (user experience) considers how the user interacts with everything from a brand's website to its social media accounts. UI designers are focused on how their designs look, feel, and function.

Meanwhile, designers who focus on UX take an in-depth look at every aspect of a brand's customer journey—from discovery through conversion—to ensure users have an optimal experience every step of the way.

In short: UX/UI isn't mutually exclusive -- one doesn't exist without the other! A poorly designed user experience could lead many users away from using your product or service in favor of competitors' offerings, but an interface with great UI will only get you so far if there aren't any clear calls-to-action or strategic placement within those interfaces' content areas themselves.

UI vs. UX Design

So, what's the difference between UI and UX? The simple answer is that UI design is the look and feel of a product (its front end), while UX design encompasses everything else. It's like this: your friend Sally recently got a new job at an office with an open floor plan, where she has to work in close proximity to her coworkers.

As you're helping her move into her cubicle, you notice that she's covered the walls with pictures of cats and inspirational quotes from famous poets. You give her some suggestions for how to improve things—maybe some posters on workplace safety or maybe just some nice art prints—but she shakes her head sadly and says, "I know what I need."

The next day, when you come by again for another visit, Sally has taken down all the cat photos—they used up too much wall space anyway—and instead opted for motivational posters based on Japanese zen principles such as simplicity and mindfulness.

Now when you walk into Sally's office space every morning before work starts at 9 AM (you're not even supposed to be there yet!), it feels calm and peaceful instead of overwhelming or chaotic.


At the end of the day, both UI and UX design are equally important for creating a great product. Both have roles to play in this process, but they're not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can even work together to ensure that your users get the best possible experience with your app or website—and that's something we all want to see!


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