Understanding the differences between UX and UI design.

We all know that the design often determines the success of most of the products. We’re talking, for example, about websites and apps; there is no great app without elements of style and usability. The effectiveness of the app depends on the right mix of functionality and attractiveness. Visual communication shall be simple, intuitive and engaging.

The design of apps and websites is really challenging, since it shall:
- Make tasks and workflows easy.
- Allow users to understand and manage data.
- Satisfy a wide variety of user roles, needs and processes.

Reaching these aims is fundamental, since an effective design may influence positively productivity, effectiveness, accuracy and satisfaction in a wide range of sectors.

These are the functions of the User Experience (UX) and of the User Interface (UI).
They are very integrated with each other; despite this, the roles are quite different and involve different processes.

UX design
By “User Experience” design it is intended the process of creation of products, systems or services which provide users with meaningful and relevant experiences. Knowing who are the target customers and how to make their approach with the products more satisfying or “pleasant” is a task of the UX designer.

He manages the structure of both content and map of the website, he studies the behavior of the users and understands their interests with the aim to design improved digital experiences. Therefore, “functionality”, “usability” and “user adaptability” are the main principles of this area.

The final task is to connect the aims of the business to the needs of the users by testing and improving, therefore targeting the satisfaction of both parties involved in the relation.

Design principles
1 – Hierarchy
Hierarchy is one of the best tools available to help users to easily browse a product. It includes:
- Architecture of the information
(how the content is organised in the app or the website)
- Visual hierarchy
(it helps users to browse a section or a page more easily).

2 – Consistency

In other words, both visual and structural consistency of an interface. In most cases, it is possible to reach it by using a series of standard guidelines on how to design products for a specific device or format.

3 – Confirmation

Request a confirmation for every important or irreversible action in order to prevent mistakes that the user can accidentally commit.

4 – User control

The “cancel”, “back”, “search” buttons as well as the computer keyboard shortcuts are a perfect way to provide a user with the control on a website or an app.

5 – Accessibility
It is fundamental that the product is easy to use by as many persons as possible. The UX designer shall remove the obstacles for the persons using the products, no matter whether they are temporary or permanent obstacles.


UX Processes
Strategy and context:
Competitors analysis
Customer analysis
Product structure / strategy
Content development

Wireframing and prototyping:

Test / interaction
Planning of the development

Execution and analysis:

Coordination with UI UX designers
Coordination with developers
Tracking of the aims and integration
Analysis and interaction

UI design
By “User Interface” design it is intended the discipline of designing user interfaces for machines and software like computers, household appliances, mobile devices, with a special attention to the responsive layout and to aesthetics, thereby maximizing usability in order to provide a good user support. It is focused mainly on colours, typography, images. The UI design is normally a combination of:

- Visual Design (graphics)
- Interaction Design (how it works)

The UI designer makes the technology easy and intuitive for people, he works in the areas where users interact directly with the product. He is responsible for conveying the strengths and the visual resources of a brand to the interface (GUI - graphical user interface).

To be clear, let’s make an easy example: the UX designer concentrates on how to place a button in order to find it easily, while the UI designer thinks about how to make this button attractive in order to engage the user.

Principles of design
1 – Structure
It deals with the internal architecture of the user interfaces and states that the models shall be clear, consistent, recognizable and shall contain elements related to each other while separating the not relevant ones and making similar objects look like one another.

2 – Simplicity

The design shall facilitate activities and communicate in a clear and simple way using the user’s language. Shortcuts shall be used for more complex procedures.

3 - Visibility
Do not put redundant information, the design should make visible all options and materials for a specific function without distracting attention.

4 – Feedback
Users shall be informed and understand all relevant information, status or condition changes, mistakes or exceptions in a clear, concise and familiar way.

5 - Tolerance.
The design shall be flexible in order to minimize mistakes and a misleading use, thereby allowing both cancellation and repetition.

6 - Reuse
The design shall reuse internal and external components and behaviors while keeping consistency with the aim rather than a simple and arbitrary coherence.

UI Processes
Graphic appearance:
Customer analysis
Design research
Branding and graphic development
User guide

Responsivity and interactivity:
Prototyping of the user interface
Interactivity and animation
Adjustment to all dimensions of the device display
Implementation with the developer

UX vs UI: what aspect is more important?
Something that seems fantastic but is complicated to use is a perfect example of UI while it is less likely to be found in UX. Instead, something very easy to use despite its terrible aspect is an example of great UX and poor UI.

So as you see, both aspects are fundamental and shall work in a complementary and well balanced way. There are several examples of great products with only one of the two aspects. Imagine how they could be more successful if they could be powerful in both areas. We must admit that both roles are still quite confused, misinterpreted and falsely pursued. Therefore, if you are trying to enter these environments, you’d better turn to competent persons.



Why you should choose Kontagio

A good User Experience may influence the acquiring of new customers, the increase of people using a specific service, the capacity of long-term engagement of the users and, finally, the revenues generated.

In order to reach specific business goals, it is fundamental to analyse the users experience, their expectations and needs; this will allow to properly structure the development process, and minimise wasting. A constant research able to improve the project is necessary, which shall follow the customer step by step.

In order to properly support all aspects that we have discussed, Kontagio provides a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who, with responsibility and a careful strategy, are able to lead to concrete results thereby ensuring the effectiveness of your investments in marketing.

Riccardo Paciarotti



Are you interested in this service or do you want to discover what we can do for the communication of your business?

Contact us by phone or write us an e-mail.

328.7310369 diegociarloni@kontagio.eu