Last week I talked about UX design and its importance in product design. This week I would like to take the time to talk about UI and the differences between UI and UX design.
What’s the difference between UX and UI design?
People will often mistakingly interchange UX and UI design. UX, which stands for user experience, is concerned with creating a product that resonates well with the user. UI, which stands for user interface, is concerned with creating the visual parts of a product—like an app or website. Although these basic definitions sound very similar, it is important to note that they are not the same thing. Ken Norton, a partner at Google Ventures, simply states the difference: “UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem, UI is focused on how a product’s surfaces look and function.”
What does a UI designer do and which skills are needed?
As previously expressed, UI design is concerned with creating the visual components of what the user will interact with. According to Course Report, UI designers will work on the following:
- “Focusing on the visual design and flow of the product between interactions
- Creating visual assets (buttons, forms, etc)
- Build transitions between screens”
and that the following skills are needed in order to carry out the tasks above:
- “Prototyping what happens when a user clicks a specific button
- Creating a style guide to hand off to developers
- Knowing how to pair typefaces together to create legible copy
- Figuring out how the site will look like across different screen sizes
- Ensuring that the branding is consistent across all screens of a digital product
- Building out the final visual elements and designs user interactions based off of wireframes given to them from UX designers”
As you can tell above, UI designers must have extensive knowledge of graphic design principals. These design principals are then used to elevate the user experience. As you may notice, the UI designer is focused on more micro focused tasks–like the color scheme–and the UX designer is focused on more macro level issues–like creating the product. UX, UI, and programmers must all work together in order to create a product that solves user’s problems. They must all work together and all team members are integral to creating meaningful, functional products.
When comparing the tasks between the UX and UI designers, it’s important to take note that UI designers will have stronger interests with graphic design and the visual experience, while UX designers are more concerned with conducting user research and problem solving.
How much do UI designers make?
According to Glassdoor, UI designers have a median pay of $81,794 with a range of $58,000 to $113,000 depending on location and experience.