UX & UI Design: What They Are and Why They’re so Important to the Success of a Website

April 29, 2015

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design: You may have heard or seen these terms used together, but they actually have very different concepts. While UX design is more focused on the sociology of people and how they relate to a product, UI design is geared more toward the aesthetics of a product, such as a website. This article will explain the differences between the two, how they go hand in hand, and how UX/UI design can make or break a website.

UX Design

UX design refers to the process by which a customer interacts with a product. This term can be applied to virtually anything, but is predominantly used within the digital industry. UX design involves research, strategy, content planning, testing, and analysis of the final product. If someone is in a UX role for your website, they will have a hands-on approach in ensuring your website is intuitive and user friendly from a functionality standpoint.

UX design is important because the way a user interacts with your website can affect your visitor retention.  After all, the goal is to have visitors continuing to return to your website, right? Proper planning and execution of your website’s functionality will help guarantee that your visitors have a great experience. The same can be said about a carefully planned and beautifully designed front end.

UI Design

UI design incorporates various techniques geared toward the visual enhancement of a product or website, making usability more effective and pleasant. In this role, the designer will examine how the website is laid out, considering the placement of various elements and how well a user may perceive each. This includes use case analysis, graphic design, interface prototyping, and collaboration with developers.

UI designers consider things like the amount of clicks it takes to perform a certain action and the accessibility of font colors and sizes. UI designers also consider visitors with disabilities, a website’s target audience, and industry design standards when planning out an interface design.

UI design is important to a website’s success because poor design can completely diminish a website’s functionality. If a user can’t find the navigation or read the content, the functionality is lost and the website becomes essentially useless.

How do these two roles go hand in hand?

Too much focus on one and not the other can lead to an overall poorly implemented website. Failing to properly plan out the website’s functionality can lead to headaches for visitors, causing them to never visit the site again.  Not placing enough focus on the design of the interface can leave visitors confused and frustrated with the website’s lack of accessibility. Having a successful website means effectively serving your visitors and ensuring they return. To achieve this requires both roles to be performed at their highest capacity. While both roles have different responsibilities, they do depend on each other to maintain the longevity of your website.

Now that you have a better understanding of how important great UX and UI design is to the success of your website, you can ensure your users have the best experience possible by taking a look at your content analytics and re-evaluating your Information Architecture. You can also evaluate your homepage layout to see if it best serves your target audience's needs.

If you need any assistance with creating a better user experience, check out the consulting services we offer. We have a team of industry experts that can help assess the usability of your website including focus group testing, IA and content editing, and multiple tools and analytics that can help determine what your users are looking for.

Jasmyne Dove

About the Author

Jasmyne is the Testing Lead for Digital Services Georgia. She is also a User Interface/User Experience developer, where she lends her expertise in user experience, interaction design, usability, and quality assurance.

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