That first slice into a new jar of peanut butter. Car rides in the summer with the windows down. "2048" on my smartphone in the waiting room. These are all things that make me feel particularly good. Oh, and of course a nice looking website that is user friendly! You can tell when a website gives you a feeling of simplicity and efficiency all while being aesthetically pleasing. It’s not like it’s shocking news that we all want the websites we use to be user-friendly and make us want to come back in the future. This is why user interface and user experience (UI and UX) are vital to a website’s success.
If you’re at all involved with the web business it is likely that you’ve heard these two terms before. It is almost equally likely that you think these two things are identical or similar, and that is a perfect reason for you to read on! UI and UX are indeed related but they are certainly not the same thing. It’s like pop and soda, some people think they are the same thing but there is definitely a difference! (the correct one is pop, by the way…)
UI is the front end. This is what someone interacts with when they visit a website. Hover features over icons, links that are a different color from regular text and take you to the proper site, buttons that indent when you click on them, placement of text and pictures. All of these things are a part of UI and they are all very important, as trivial as they may seem. There’s an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and bliss when you click on a button and it indents a little bit (or maybe that’s just me). Maybe you’ve been on a subpar website and something about it put a bad taste in your mouth and you couldn’t quite explain to yourself why you didn’t like it very much. It likely could have been something as simple as a bad UI job.
UX on the other hand is that feeling someone gets from the experience they had with the UI. Imagine yourself at a website where the links are obscure and the interface isn’t straightforward. All you want to do is sign up for their free trial and you’re having a hard time even finding a place to register. How is that website going to get people to subscribe to monthly updates on their company beard growing competition? UI is the fine craftsmanship of a shiny brass trombone and UX is that warm feeling you get when you perform on that quality instrument. Websites work the same way!
As you can probably tell (or perhaps knew from the beginning) UI and UX go hand in hand. They each require a unique kind of thinking that can often go unappreciated. So if you know someone who works as a web designer, be sure to stop and thank them for spoiling us with the simple things that make all the difference.