UX and UI Designers: What's the Difference?

UX and UI Designers are two of the most important people on a product team. They do different things, but they integrally complement each other to create the best possible product for their clients.

· 4 min read
UX and UI Designers: What's the Difference?
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UX Designers focus on usability and user experience, while UI Designers focus more on how something looks. This article will explore what these two types of designers do so you can decide which one is right for your project!

What does a UX Designer do?

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A UX Designer focuses on how usable and intuitive a product is.

They typically create personas, wireframes, and flow diagrams to show the process of using certain features to improve user experience. For example, they might research users' needs or goals through surveys and analytics tools like Google Analytics. Then based on that data, they might create a flow diagram to show how users can accomplish their goals using the product. They also conduct internal and external interviews with stakeholders, end-users, or anyone who could provide valuable input for improving the design of that particular feature.

UX Designers like to discover what problems exist in current systems, think about potential solutions, and then test them out with users to see if they were able to achieve the desired outcome. This process is called usability testing.

I took this photo to announce the UI/IX-Design workshop for the Digipool at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.
Photo by Olaf Val / Unsplash

What are the day-to-day responsibilities of a UX Designer?

A UX Designer’s day-to-day responsibilities can vary, but typically they will work on tasks such as conducting user research, designing wireframes and prototypes, and testing designs with users.

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UX Designers also often play a role in guiding the overall direction of a product or website.

UX Designers also collaborate with developers and other team members to make sure that the end product meets user needs and expectations.

What does a UI Designer do

A UI designer focuses on how something looks, or what it's even possible for an end-user to accomplish while using your product. They typically create mockups and clickable prototypes in Figma, Sketch, or InVision. They may also use prototyping tools such as Adobe XD, Principle, and Flinto to demonstrate interactions more robustly.

I work in a software company designed and structured an app for field staff. That day we made a tour of our flow and could not miss a shot of our work :)
Photo by Alvaro Reyes / Unsplash

What are the day-to-day responsibilities of a UI Designer?

A UI Designer’s main focus is on the look and feel of a product or website, including things like layout, typography, and color schemes. They work with graphics programs to create wireframes and mockups of a user interface, including the placements for text, images, buttons, and other elements.

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On a typical day, a designer would maintain the design system, work on the user interface, and create high-fidelity mocks and prototypes.

A UI Designer would also collaborate with the developers, providing assets, and iterating on feedback.

How do UX and UI Designers collaborate?

In general, the UX Designers will start working on a project very close to the beginning. They will be involved with research, discovery, usability testing, and taking care of the Information Architecture of an application or a website.

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The UI Designers will either assist the UX Designer in those early stages, or they will actively work on supporting them with building wireframes and prototypes.

They will usually start the bulk of their work after the UX part of the project is approved and a lot of standards are set.

Sponsored by Google Chromebooks
Photo by Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

Can a designer do both UX and UI?

Depending on the scale of the project, a team may have one UX Designer and one UI designer, or a team might have multiple people who can do both UX and UI design. It depends on the company’s needs.

In some cases, you may see a “UX Architect” role that is responsible for higher-level strategy and vision for how users will interact with an interface.

On smaller projects, a team may only have one UX or UI designer that will be responsible for all aspects of the design process.

Is it better to have one person do both UX and UI?

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Having a single designer handle both UX and UI may be an efficient way to complete projects, but you are also putting more responsibility on that individual’s shoulders. 

Depending on the project itself, this may not be optimal.

Conclusion

The role of a UX designer is to focus on the user and make sure that they have an enjoyable experience when using a product. UI designers are responsible for the look and feel of a product, while also ensuring that it is easy to use.

To create an amazing product, both roles need to collaborate closely together.

A UX designer will work with the UI designer to make sure that all of the elements in the design are visually appealing and easy to use, while the UI designer will help make sure that the overall design aesthetic is on point. By working together, they can ensure that the end product is not only beautiful but functional as well.

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