Despite what many people believe about UI/UX Design & Development, the terms “UI” and “UX” don’t refer to the same things and they’re not really interchangeable.
UI deals with how end users communicate with a web application or a tech product while UX dictates how intuitive and user-friendly the solution is to the end user.
However, these two different fields are so closely related to each other that they’ve practically merged into one profession around many corners of the world.
If you are interested to learn more about UI/UX design & development, you’re at the right place. Let’s dig deeper and see how they compare.
Both UI and UX design have become major parts of the design and development industry. A large portion of our daily interactions have gone online and companies are more interested to establish an online presence than ever.
According to Hubspot, around 88% of users won’t return to a site that gave them poor UX performance. In the case of mobile apps, the number reaches 90%. They also found that 94% of the first impression that users have about an app or a website is based on how well-designed it is.
PWC says, around 30-50% of users will stop interacting with your brand altogether in case of just one bad experience. This clearly shows how important UI/UX design and development are to any business.
The User Interface (UI) is the medium that helps end users communicate with a tech solution (like a website, app, software, wearables, etc.) through a graphical layout.
For example, when you use your phone to call someone, you open the dialer app, type the number in, and then confirm the action by tapping the green “Call” button, right?
In this case, the dial pad you use to type the number is a medium that lets you perform an action effortlessly.
The dial pad is the user interface here that allows the end user to take actions like navigating through the pages or simply making a call.
In essence, UI Design and Development is a discipline of web design that deals with crafting intuitive user interfaces to establish a smooth connection between the end user and the solution.
It deals with how a website or a mobile or web application looks and feels. The goal is to make the interface (medium) simple, easy to use, and intuitive. UI designers and developers work with the typography, color palate, and layout to create user-friendly interfaces for a smooth user journey.
They use buttons, transitions, animations, screen layouts, whitespace, and micro-interactions to achieve their goals. In fact,
UI design and development have become so intertwined with our daily lives that we only notice it when there is something wrong with the design.
User Experience (UX) refers to a much broader spectrum of the tech product design process. It means any and all interactions between a client and a brand. However, it is more popular in the tech world nowadays.
Today, we understand user experience as how an end user feels when using a web application. User interface (UI) is a part of the user experience, but there are other components besides visual elements that contribute to the overall user experience.
The job of a UX designer is to make the solution simple, efficient, and attention-grabbing. They map out every step of completing a task and structurize the user journey.
For example, let’s remember a flashback of the last time you ordered something online. Was it via an app? How easy was the process? Was it easy to post something on social media? How convenient was it to check your bank balance with a couple of taps?
It is UX designers who created those easy, convenient, effective, and pleasant experiences that make our interactions so much more enjoyable and effortless.
Though website UX design is the way most people recognize a good or bad user experience, it goes way beyond just mobile or websites.
Also known as IxD, Interaction Design controls the elements that an end user uses to interact with the product.
The goal here is to increase the time a user spends on your products via positive and pleasant interactive elements, such as animations, transitions, buttons, pop-ups, and hover.
This is the most visual aspect of the whole user journey. Visual designers enhance the user experience following design principles.
They play with whitespaces, typography, photos, illustrations, color pallets, and layouts to design an interactive interface that is also pleasing to the eye.
This is perhaps the most crucial element of the whole experience UI/UX design & development process. UX professionals are trained to view any product from the user’s point of view. they gain user perspectives through surveys, interviews, and beta tests.
Not only that, UX researchers identify user pain points and then look for the best way to solve those problems. The sole purpose of your tech product is to solve user problems, right?
UX professionals make sure that you solve those user problems exactly the way your audience wants.
Whether you solve user problems via a website or any other tech solution, you’ll have to manage one or more databases. Basically, databases are stacks of information stored, and Information Architecture aims to make the information easily available to the user.
UX professionals focus on the ease of use and discoverability to structure the architecture; i.e., the data will be stored in a way so the user can easily find what they are looking for.
Do remember that simplicity is the key here. A great example can be how you can log in to an app via other third-party apps.
To put it simply, UI deals with how a solution looks whereas UX focuses on how it works. When combined, UI/UX designers and developers create stunning websites and applications that work seamlessly across all platforms while ensuring an amazing user experience.
UI/UX professionals conduct extensive user research to identify their pain points and figure out the best ways to solve them. Once they have a workable solution, they deliver the solution via a simple and effective layout.
The key difference between UX and UI lies in their focus area. UX design focuses on identifying and solving end-user problems whereas UI is about crafting interactive and aesthetically pleasing interfaces.
You can imagine UX professionals mapping out the user journey and UI professionals adding details to make that journey possible.
In a nutshell, if you need to work on overall user experience, you might want to recruit a UX designer. On the other hand, for various interfaces, you’ll need UI design/development.
UX comes before UI in the development cycle. UX designers structurize the entire user journey, creating wireframes that work as the backbone of the project. They also add functionalities as per the user’s needs when it comes to UI/UX Design & Development.
The job of a UI designer/developer is to fill the structure with interactive and visual elements. They work across multiple touchpoints that the end users might use.
Usually, the developers create the roadmap and the designers elevate the solution using the right visual influences.
However, it’s imperative to know that design and development aren’t the same things just like writing and illustrating are different. But they can create outstanding visual stories when combined together.
You’ll be disappointed if you try to figure out which of the two is more important for the end user. They’re both essential for crafting a successful product and it will fail if either UI or UX is missing or done wrong.
Now that you have a better idea about what UI/UX design and development is, it’s time to figure out how the methodology works.
Whether it’s the web, mobile, or application UI design, it starts with sketching. This is the quickest and cheapest way to start your design project.
The idea is to transfer your design idea onto a piece of paper, a wireframing app, or a whiteboard.
While sketching, UI designers don’t focus on the typography or the color. Instead, they focus on defining the features of the product.
There is no hard and fast rule about how to sketch the different elements. However, your design needs and the features of your product should be mentioned clearly.
The next step is to create wireframes. Wireframes are just like a blueprint of a building, containing all the key information and structural designs.
The sketch you did earlier will start to come into shape at this point. The purpose is to visualize a general layout for your product.
The main idea behind wireframing is to create a low-fidelity prototype that helps non-technical people to understand the structure and capabilities of your product. This has become a standard practice over the years.
After the wireframe has been approved, UI developers will take over the project. The blueprint slowly comes to life as the developers create a workable prototype element by element. Unlike many static landing pages, dynamic user interfaces require a lot of attention and effort.
The goal is here to find any underlying accessibility or responsive issues that can cause further hassle down the line.
UI developers use specialized UI kits and usability principles to craft a functioning prototype that contains all the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) features, states, buttons, symbols, texts, and other components.
For those who prefer video tutorials over written guidelines, here’s a simplified guide on how the agile UI/UX design process works: 6 Stages of UI Design – YouTube
Once all the components are placed into the wireframe, you’ll have to decide on the best ways the end user will navigate through your product. This is called a “user flow.”
They may also create task flows showcasing the steps required for completing a task.
At this point, UI developers create responses for the end user in case they provide the wrong input. The developers need to understand the system models and the user’s mental model. They also need to connect those two models effectively.
For example, UI developers should figure out what to show in the pop-up messages, or where to go when the user clicks on a button.
These visualizations help develop a clear user flow and task flows that highlight decision points that the user might make.
By now, you should have all the elements ready. The developer will now combine all those elements with top-notch copy, outstanding graphics, and appealing visual design. This is the time to transform your ideas into pixel-perfect designs and hyper functionalities.
The developer will also establish a visual design consistency and help you redefine your MVP.
At the end of this stage, you’ll have a high-fidelity mockup of the entire product, its features, and what it can do.
All that’s left will be to tie all those elements together.
This is the final phase. UI professionals will take everything prepared so far, and create a simulated environment to show how the solution will look and behave. They’ll link all the screens and flows together to create a pre-code/no-code version of your product.
This version will contain target points to demonstrate from the user’s perspective and this will help ensure that the final product looks amazing, feels natural, and works efficiently.
The UX design process is broader and more user-centric than UI design. UX professionals conduct deep user research to understand the psychology of end users and try to fulfill user needs through your product.
The main focus of UX design and development is to improve user experience. That’s why the first step is to identify the changes the users face and the expectations they have. To identify user needs, UX professionals conduct deep user research.
The job of a UX designer is to try and figure out why the end-users react the way they do, and accommodate that reasoning into your web application. They usually conduct interviews, independent studies, feedback sessions, and online surveys.
Once the designer has enough information, they create an in-depth user persona. Also known as buyer personas, these summarized semi-fictional guides help you understand the mindset of your users so you can tailor your product better.
These user personas also help maintain smooth communication across the team since everyone can focus on the same structure.
The more detailed the user persona will be, the better potential your product will have to cater to the different user needs and concerns.
Every user is unique. Even if they have a common goal, they will interact with your product in different ways.
This involves some generalized categories that help you figure out the common goal. But to satisfy your users on a more personal level, you’ll have to map out the route different users might take to complete the same task.
Mapping out different ways that your end users might complete a task will help you create better and more personalized solutions. Some may want to order your products via PC browsers while others may use a mobile app.
Detailed user maps will help you increase your reliability and keep your customers hooked to your product.
UX professionals also create empathy maps to showcase the user’s train of thought and experience maps, focusing on the user experience at a specific touch point.
Once you have user journey maps planned out, it’s time to tailor your product’s features to those maps and create functioning wireframes.
The wireframes should contain how you want to showcase the features, images, links, and other content elements of your product.
In a nutshell, a wireframe will be a visual representation (like a sketch) of your UX strategy. This will make it easier to find underlying accessibility and usability issues before you launch your product. You won’t have to focus on the visual elements, just on the user and task flows.
This step has become a standard practice in both UI and UX design processes. This stage is crucial as it helps UX designers to find and eliminate problems that may become harder or costlier to fix once the solution is published.
This also helps convey a clear picture of the product so all the stakeholders are aligned together.
The complexity of your wireframes will depend on the product’s type, its goal, and requirements. You can simply use a pen and paper, or create high-fidelity wireframes using advanced software.
We’ll talk about the software used for UI/UX design shortly.
If wireframes are considered blueprints, then prototypes would be the final draft that goes into production.
However, it’s not the final version of the product as there will be plenty of changes to make depending on feedback.
Prototypes are a version of your product with full functionalities and visual elements. An interactive prototype will allow you to conduct user tests and improve the product even further.
Your stakeholders and users will provide feedback after playing with the prototype and you’ll be able to incorporate that feedback into the final working version.
Once you’ve completed all the steps mentioned above, your web application will have a solid structure and be ready for the official launch. However, the UX process doesn’t stop there.
UX researchers will continue to study and figure out how you can change your product with the ever-changing market demand, and the process will continue in a cycle.
You’ll get only a couple of seconds to create the first impression on a potential user through your app or website.
If they’re not impressed, most of the users will leave quickly. This is called “bouncing” and nobody wants that.
This is where UI/UX design and development can work like a charm. If the overall design and layout are eye-soothing and engaging, you’ll be able to retain the attention of your users for a longer time, which will in turn reflect on your number of leads and sales.
Visuals are great at grabbing attention. But if your solution doesn’t work like it’s intended, visuals alone won’t be enough to retain your users for long.
You’ll need to make sure that the end-users can complete their task quickly and efficiently.
The primary goal behind your web solution is to increase customer engagement. You’ll need to keep the users engaged with visual elements like images, videos, adverts, texts, CTA buttons, and more.
Remember, the longer a user stays on your website or app, the more chances they will be exposed to your products or services. This is why UI/UX strategy is an essential part of any web solution.
Once the users feel happy and content with your product, they’ll keep using it. As a result, your brand recognition will increase over time.
If the impact of your solution is good enough, they’ll even start recommending it to their friends and families.
A recent study from Econsultancy shows that 74% of businesses think that user experience is key for improving sales.
A mere 1-second delay in loading a page can cause a nearly 7% reduction in your conversion, another study indicates.
That’s why big corporations invest heavily in UI/UX design and development. It’s crucial for establishing steady growth.
UI/UX design & development is much more than fixing the layout, screen, and color orientation. It can help businesses establish and maintain design consistency across numerous platforms.
Maintaining design consistency is crucial for the growth of any business. If users understand that they will get the same experience from your every touch point, they’ll start to trust your brand even more.
Combined with top-notch design elements, a carefully planned user experience will compel the user to keep coming back for more.
When your product gets the best of UI/UX design and development, it’ll be able to complete user tasks efficiently, keep the user engaged for longer, and provide the exact solution people are looking for.
As a result, you’ll see a significant improvement in your ROI.
The more you keep your visitors happy and content, the more opportunities you’ll have to convert them into leads and keep the existing customer base happy.
Additionally, content users will act as your marketing managers, introducing more and more new potential customers over time.
Apart from designing stunning web applications and adding the right elements to them, UI/UX designers and developers also have to take on a number of responsibilities.
Nowadays, UI designers are expected to work in a defined workflow and have a specific skill set. Here are the roles and responsibilities a UI/UX professional is expected to take on:
If you are planning to hire a UI/UX professional, this section is for you.
Anyone can become a UI/UX professional, but this is just as true as “not everybody can achieve success in UI/UX design and development.”
UI/UX professionals will have a big impact on your brand image. That’s why it’s crucial to recruit a professional who fits perfectly in your business environment.
Here is the skill set you need to look for in a UI/UX professional to make sure you hire the most capable one:
With the development of modern technology, software/applications are becoming more and more user-friendly for us. Almost every task can be managed by some kind of software today.
Let’s have a look at some of the most renowned software used in an agile UI/UX design and development methodology:
|UI and UX
|Prototyping and designing
|Prototyping and creating mockups
|Browsers, Windows, macOS
|UI, and UX
|Collaboration and prototyping
|Usability testing and information architecture
|Prototyping and usability testing
|Browsers, Windows, macOS
|UI, and UX
|Designing, prototyping and wireframing
|UI and UX
|Creating user flows and sitemaps
|UI and UX
|All-in-one UI/UX environment
|Browsers, iOS, Android
|Tree testing tool
|UI and UX
|UI designing and prototyping
|Browsers, Windows, macOS
By now, you have a clear understanding of what UI and UX design/development is and what they work with.
However, these two fields are so interconnected that many jobs now ask for UX/UI designers in one position, which makes it harder to choose a particular field for aspiring learners.
Both UI and UX design and development are essential for any business. However, these UI/UX terms are widely associated with the tech industry.
There is a tendency for recruiters to get confused between these 2 separate fields and that’s the reason you see such job posts.
That aside, which one to pursue yourself? The perfect answer to that question would be to focus on the skill set rather than the title.
Many companies deliberately seek versatile designers who have skill sets in both UI and UX or at least have a basic understanding of one principle and expertise in the other.
That’s why it would be a good choice to pay attention to the tasks, skills, and responsibilities mentioned in the job description, instead of just focusing on the title.
To select the right path for yourself, you’ll need to find out what interests you or what you are naturally good at. With the right mindset and skills, almost anyone can become a UI/UX designer.
Generally, UX professions require problem-solving skills, empathy, and a creative/analytical approach.
They also need great communication skills, an understanding of user experience principles, and a good idea about business know-how.
On the contrary, UI design is more focused on the interactive and visual aspects of a design.
If you have a good grip on the basic design principles, a keen eye for aesthetic designs, and want to make technologies more accessible/user-friendly, UI professions would suit you the best.
Of course, you also have the opportunity to become a master of both worlds. You can join a UX/Ui design agency that specializes in both UI and UX services.
If you feel comfortable, you can take your career to the next level by becoming a design all-rounder.
Both UI and UX design and development fall under the umbrella of “lucrative jobs.” Of course, the salary range varies with the job location, experience, product type, and skillset you have.
However, on average, an entry-level UI designer can expect to earn around $94,874 (glassdoor) per year, and can grow up to $120,000 over time.
For a UX professional, you can expect around $90,000 – $130,000 per year. For a combined role, you may earn anywhere between $90,000 – $180,000 per year.
However, many people are outsourcing on a per-hour basis today. In that case, the hourly salary can range from $30-80, depending on the place, the UX/UI design agency you’re working with, and the type of responsibilities you have.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and pay grades of UI/UX professionals, it’s time to dive deep into the learning process. If you want to provide UI/UX services, these are the steps you’ll need to follow:
UI is based on design principles whereas UX depends heavily on user experience. If you want to become good at UI/UX, you’ll have to establish a strong base in these fundamental concepts and get familiar with the various UI/UX terms.
As a UI designer, you’ll have to develop a skill set where you can identify design flaws almost instinctively. UX designers play with user psychology to identify their needs and wants.
Both are delicate works that require extensive concentration and practice.
Fortunately, we live in a global village connected through the internet. There are practically thousands of books, tutorials, guidelines, podcasts, blogs, courses, and forums that can point you in the right direction.
You can also opt for academic certification courses offered by many educational and professional institutions.
If you’re set on becoming a self-taught UI/UX professional, you can start with books, podcasts, free courses, or blogs.
Once you have a basic idea about what to do and how to do it, it’s time to hone your senses. Learning will only take you to some point, and the rest of the journey will depend on how you train your mind to evaluate the existing designs.
To clarify, you’ll need to develop an eye for good designs. Take your favorite app or website, for instance. Pay close attention and try to find the weaknesses and strengths of that design.
Examine the design with critical eyes and find the key elements that make the design favorable.
One of the key responsibilities you’ll face will be to find out the underlying issues in an existing design. As a result, you’ll have to pay close attention to elements like typography, color palette, visual hierarchy, whitespace, image, icons, and interaction design.
As for the UX professionals, you’ll have to understand the psychology of the end user. Find out what is and isn’t working from a user’s perspective. With enough practice, you’ll become better at it.
You’ll need a dedicated work environment for regular practice. At this stage, you’ll have to find the right arsenal that highlights your key skills and lets you hone the skills you’ve acquired so far.
We’ve added a list of the most familiar software used for UI/UX design above. Your preference will vary depending on what type of work you are doing.
If you’re a UI professional, you’ll need a design tool, a wireframing tool, and a usability testing tool. A UX professional will depend on wireframing/prototyping tools, analytical tools, information architecture tools, and usability testing tools. If you work remotely or need to collaborate, you’ll also require a collaboration tool.
There’s no single right tool for UI/UX designers. You’ll have to decide which one works and feels the most intuitive and user-friendly to you.
Now that you are set with the resources and working environment, it’s time to test your heart out. Learning will only get you so far if you can’t back that knowledge up with continuous efforts.
Try to copy the design of your favorite website or app to find out the flaws. Your job will be to design it better.
If you don’t want to start from scratch, use specialized UI kits that make the process easier. Remember, good UI/UX design also means that it is responsive.
Once you learn how to design responsive UI/UX, and are comfortable with creating new designs, it’s time to create mockups.
Place the best of your efforts in a portfolio that showcases your skills and thought process. Use case studies for a better structure.
Creating design solutions will help hone your skills for sure, but it won’t make you a better designer. You’ll have to get user feedback and learn from it.
Despite what many believe, negative criticism can actually help you grow as a designer and craft better products.
There is a massive community of UI/UX professionals online who can help you develop your design capabilities.
Platforms like Behance and Dribble not only serve as portfolio sites but also as a gallery for your designs where you can receive valuable client feedback.
Finding a design mentor will also help a lot. That way, you’ll be able to update yourself on all the latest trends, tricks, and best practices.
There are a lot of UI/UX professionals willing to help newcomers build their careers. Remember, persistence is the key.
You now have a working portfolio and a great command over your skills. Once you feel confident enough, you can start applying for entry-level UI/UX jobs online or offline.
The more real-world work experience you have, the easier it’ll be to land your next job.
Most probably you won’t get hired right away unless you have a really creative portfolio. However, attending these job interviews will help you develop soft skills like communication
and design thinking– two essential qualities most recruits look for in a UI/UX professional.
As a beginner, using the right resources to utilize will be highly confusing to you.
There are countless podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, communities, and collections that may come in handy in your journey to learning UI/UX design and development.
Here are our top 50 picks to jumpstart your learning process:
|Focus area/Key feature
|Level Up: A Guide to Game UI
|Game UI design basics
|52 Weeks of UX
|UX design blog
|The Adobe blog
|UI design blog
|UX design blog
|Laws of UX
|Collection of best UX practices
|Collection of mobile UI design patterns
|Collection of latest UI design tends
|Online course Collection
|App interaction design ideas (UI)
|Nielsen Norman Group
|Collection of published usability research
|Collection of design ideas
|UI pattern library
|Online course Collection
|Collection of UI/UX design portfolios
|Material Design Guidelines
|Material design collection
|Font library from Google
|Collection of brand color pallets
|Stock image collection
|Collection of design components
|UI/UX design style guide
|Stock image collection
|Collection of UI design elements
|Collection of free fonts
|UI/UX community on Slack
|UX designers Group
|UX designer community on LinkedIn
|Discord UI/UX community
|UX Beginner: Design Community
|UI/UX community on Facebook for beginners
|UX Research Association
|UI/UX research community on Facebook
|Reddit UI/UX research community
|Community, ideas, and portfolio
|Community, ideas, courses, and portfolio
|Medium blog channel
|UX design blog
|The UX Collective
|Medium blog channel
|Blogs on UX design principles
|R before D
|Medium blog channel
|UX design blog
|Online UI design Course
|UX design short course
|UI/UX Career Track
|Online UI/UX course
|Online UX design course
|Design Kit by IDEO
|Professional UI/UX courses and resources
|Adobe XD learner’s guide
|iOS Human Interface Guidelines
|iOS UI design guideline
|UI design podcast
|UX research podcast
|Online Gradient tool
|Color generation tool
|Channel for UI/UX videos
|Channel for UI/UX videos
That’s it for today. We’ve tried to provide a brief guide on what UI/UX design and development is and what isn’t.
Whether you are a newbie interested to surf the vast ocean of UI/UX or need help from a UI/UX design agency, hopefully, this guide has proven to be highly useful.
Best wishes to you!
It’s a branch of UX design that designs user-friendly elements specialized for people with disability issues.
The goal is to make sure everyone can use the end product. This is commonly seen in public (govt) projects.
Most boot camps provide around 30 hours of instruction. Certificate courses can take as long as a couple of months.
Factoring your practice time in, you should be ready to enter the professional UI/UX design and development market anywhere between 6-12 months or more.
Any kind of tech product can use UI/UX designers to level up its game. The most common projects UI/UX designer and developers work on are websites, mobile or web apps, smart gadgets, and email drip campaigns.
Technically, no. You won’t need any coding knowledge to become a UI/UX professional. However, if you have some basic coding knowledge (especially in the front-end design part) that can give you an edge over the competition. This is especially true for freelancers.
Not necessarily. UX designers don’t need in-depth UI knowledge. However, having a basic understanding of UI principles will help you collaborate better. Also, this can give you a competitive edge to craft better solutions.
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