Understanding the Difference between UI and UX

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UI and UX are both important terms when it comes to web development. However, a lot of people tend to assume that they both mean the same thing. This is not the case, and it is important to understand the differences between the two. Therefore, continue reading to discover more about the difference between a UI developer and a UX developer.

They’re not the same but they work together
UI Design stands for User Interface Design, whereas UX Design stands for User Experience Design. These two concepts are not worlds apart. In fact, they work very closely together and are crucial to the business product. However, it is vital to recognize that the roles of both design concepts are rather distinct, as they concern differing parts of the design discipline and process. UI design is closer to graphic design, albeit a bit more complicated, and UX design is a more technical and analytical field.

UX design
So, let’s begin by taking a look at the latter – UX design. When it comes to this, the designer is primarily concerned with the feel of the product. An expert in UX design will explore the numerous approaches to solving a certain problem that the user has. In broad terms, the designer needs to make sure that there is a logical flow from one step to the next step when it comes to the product, a website, for example. There are several ways a UX designer can do this, with one way being an in-person user test being conducted in order to observe the behavior of someone. For example, they could determine a user is taking a long time to navigate the checkout. This could mean many things, from needing to find the best VPS to speed up the site to needing to simplify the checkout process. The developer is able to generate the best experience for the user, as they have identified both non-verbal and verbal stumbling blocks.

What tools do UX designers use to carry out their task? This includes the likes of InVision, Fireworks, Illustrator, Sketch, and Photoshop. Deliverables include sitemap, storyboards, and wireframes of screens. The sort of thing you can expect a UX designer to say is “it would be a good idea to say ‘thank you’ to the user after they have signed up.”

UI designers
Now, let’s move onto UI designers. Rather than being concerned with the product’s overall feel, a UI designer is more bothered about the way the product is laid out. They link with the UX designer because it is their role to ensure they communicate the path the UX designer has determined is right for the customer. Therefore, they bring the UX designer’s findings to life by designing each page or screen effectively. To give you an example, a UI designer will determine whether to include a slider on a website or dashboard. They also make sure there is a consistent design language and cohesive style.

Finally, the tools that a UI designer uses include Fireworks, Illustrator, Sketch, and Photoshop. Something you may likely hear a UI expert state includes: “It would be better to move the sign up and login links to the top right hand corner.”

So, hopefully you now have a better understanding of the difference between the two design concepts and what is entailed.

Things To Test When Building a Website

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Website design is much more than arranging the visual elements on a page so that they look pretty, or are structured in a coherent way that leads to people being able to find what they are looking for.

There’s lots of aspects that are behind the scenes that must be tested when building a website, before making it live.  To some people, this might sound boring and perhaps even unnecessary, but if you want your website to perform well then it’s good to look into the concept of automated web testing in order to ensure your website performs at the required standard.

For non-techy people, this might seem a little overwhelming, however, so let’s break down some of the things you need to test when building a website.

  1. LOAD SPEED

The speed at which your website loads is of critical importance to success, as if it loads any slower than three seconds, it’s likely that many users will click off the page before they’ve even had chance to look at the content on your site.  It’s sad but true, and whilst we like to think our content is so valuable that people will stick around and wait for it to be unveiled – the truth is, people are impatient, particularly online, and they’ll simply click off and probably not come back.

Load speed really does matter, and there are tools such as Pingdom that can help you test your load speed and diagnose what’s causing the site to perform slower than you would like it to.

  1.  DOES IT WORK ON ALL BROWSERS?

It’s important you test your site on all browsers, rather than just the one that you tend to use – people use a variety of browsers including Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox.  There are many others, but as these are the main ones, it’s especially important to ensure your website loads as it should on these four.

  1. SCREEN SIZES

A lot of people are going to access your website on their mobile device, so it’s important you make sure your website looks good on different screen sizes.  In an ideal world, you want to check what it looks like on a huge screen such as an Apple TV, along with a variety of laptops, desktops (bearing in mind some are square and some are widescreen), tablets and phones.  

The point being that not everyone is going to see exactly what you see on your screen, when designing your website, so you need to ensure it looks good on all devices and screen sizes.  The paradigm today is that we should be designing for “mobile first” meaning, design for mobile users first and desktop users second, in part due to the massive risk in mobile marketing and usage of such devices.

  1.  EASE OF USE

The importance of user testing cannot be overstated.  You want to see how people interact with your website, in terms of the clicks they make and the paths they take to reach a particular end goal.  In doing this, you can assess whether your intuitive design is indeed intuitive or whether it confuses people which leads to them clicking off your site.