Roles of UX and UI are very often confused and misunderstood in IT world. These terms are connected with the word “user” which may cause many missteps. One thing is certain, both roles take care of the user’s work comfort on delivered software. So what exactly is the difference between UX and UI during software development process? In this post I would like to introduce it in simple words.
People who fulfill the role of UX quite often are called UX Designer. If we focus on the word – designer it will be easier for us to understand the responsibilities of UX. UX Designer takes care of usability and user-friendly sides of applications. This software has to be intuitive enough to let the users achieve their goals and working with it should be pleasant, without any problems and frustrations.
UX Designer identifies with the users and knows their needs really good. Thanks to that UX knows how perfectly design the arrangement and choose type of controls on the application’s interface. UX’s products include among other things wireframes and prototypes, which are systematically tested by default users.
It is crucial to emphasize that UX in its wireframes and prototypes doesn't focus on graphic visualization of application. Usually they are crude, black and white or grey. It just concentrates on logical and intuitive flow of information. UX doesn’t decide about using colors, fonts, images or technical aspects of user interface. This area is reserved for UI, who as a graphic designer, is also responsible for visual side of the application.
For UI mango, watermelon or cherry are not only fruits! Unlike “classical” developers, UI can see colors in those words by default. Regardless of gender, UI designer is capable of pointing the difference between ecru, beige, pearl and white. Sounds weird? Of course it is! And that’s why UI person often take part in designing high-fidelity graphic layouts with the use of advanced graphic software e.g. Photoshop.
Apart from the sense of aesthetics, UI designers are able to create, review and advise on any piece of HTML and CSS code, even if awaken in the middle of the night. They are responsible for correct coding of any user interface element and they can help you to make them compatible with any of web browsers (IE also) or mobile devices. And so by chance it happens that we often call UI “the Developers” – this is handy, because they spend most of their time coding user interfaces, but for sure it does not reflect fully their skills.
So next time, when you need a piece of responsive CSS, when you have to review some inherited LESS code, you’ve got a layout issue with IE8, know that the UI designer is a friend you should be looking for. Write to us!