What's the Difference Between UX and UI Design?

April 2, 2021
Emilie Mitchell

Commonly referred to as UX and UI, these acronyms are short for user experience and user interface design. The terms UX and UI are often used interchangeably but are actually quite different. 

What’s the difference?

Let’s compare UX and UI to the process of designing a house. User experience would be the structural choices like the foundation that make the house functional, while user interface would be like the furniture, paint color, and other cosmetic decisions that make the house look good. 

As both UX and UI contribute to the value of an application or website, they do it in different ways.

User Experience (UX)

User experience design puts the user first and considers the overall feel of the interactions and experience with a product. UX design involves problem solving to determine how to make experiences and interactions most valuable to the user. How does it make a user feel? How easy is it for the user to complete tasks?

Used in UX design, user research is a systematic process of understanding a brand's design impact on their target users. It is used to understand users' needs, behaviors, experiences, and motivations in order to solve for users' problems. Also used in user experience design, usability testing is a procedure used to evaluate a product and provide direct input on how real-life users use the setup.

A UX designer uses personas to put themselves in the shoes of their consumers. A persona is a fictional character intended to represent an ideal user that may use a website or application in a similar way. This helps guide a UX designer while they conduct research, gather data, and determine the best solution that improves ease of use for the users.

When focusing on user experience design, there are several different user roles that designers have to keep in mind. For example, these roles could include administrators, moderators, premium users, and regular users. A user experience designer must optimize paths for each role of their users in order to best improve the overall experience of the product.

The main goal of user experience design is to create a hassle-free experience for the user that ensures optimal functionality and satisfaction.

User Interface (UI)

User interface design focuses on the user’s visual interactive experience, such as tapping a button or swiping through images. What happens when a user clicks on this, or taps on that? User interface design creates an emotional connection with the user and contributes to the presentation, look, and feel of a product.

Typography can make or break a user interface design. A UI designer strategically chooses a typeface that helps convey the message the brand is trying to communicate. This should blend seamlessly with other interface elements and pull them together as a whole.

Another aspect of user interface design, color, is a valuable component of any visual composition. It has the ability to evoke a user's emotions and tell them what elements are most important. Additionally, a layout is a structure that supports the visual elements in an interface. The way UI elements are arranged create emphasis and determine a path of navigation.

The main goal of user interface design is to make the user's interaction as simple and efficient as possible.


Despite these differences, user experience and user interface design go hand in hand. Through research, measurement, and experimentation, you can learn what consumers value and turn that into value for your own business. Together, UX and UI can improve user experience and customer satisfaction while increasing the number of users in return.

Could your product benefit from UX and UI design? User experience and user interface design are part of our discovery process at WynHouse. This allows you to experience the look and feel of your digital product the same way your users will. Strong branding that your audience can connect with is crucial for the success and growth of your project.

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