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The basics of UX and UI
Not so many years ago, applications were bulky, tedious and beyond end user comprehension as they were built by software companies as per their convenience, not certainly for their users. Without months of training, one never could use the application, let alone master it.
Fast forward a decade or so and one can see the apps landscape is improving rapidly. The software development and delivery has seen tremendous changes, and today, the buzz is about ‘delivering compelling experiences’ to users. Every app delivered is assured that it is user-centric, easy to use & access while being smart in delivering data and functions – anytime, on any device, and anywhere. Here’s where UX and UI play a huge role and have become such an integral part of software app delivery.
So what are these acronyms stands for and why they are the most discussed?
UX refers to the term User Experience, while UI stands for User Interface. Interestingly, these terms are the most confused and misused terms in software field, yet these elements are crucial to a software product and are closely associated. But despite their vicinity, there are lot more to their execution process and design discipline. Let’s understand them in detail.
According to the Nielsen Norman Group, UX “encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products.” They also state that to achieve high-quality user experience, there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including industrial design and interface design, engineering and marketing.
In software development parlance, UX design relates to the overall user interaction and experience with an application or a website. It is well known that great user experience results in return customers and continued app usage. Hence the more importance. Typically the UX Design process include research, design, prototyping, testing and measurement. Lot of factors influence a UX process such as usability, utility, accessibility, design/aesthetics, performance, ergonomics, overall human interaction and marketing.
However, UX does not refer to usability, although they are related. UX relates to the experience, intuition, emotion and connection a user feels when using an application or browsing a website. Usability is more about the effectiveness of a site design and how user-friendly it is. Here’s where UI comes.
According to Wikipedia, “User Interface Design(UI) or user interface engineering is the design of user interfaces for machines and software, such as computers, home appliances, mobile devices and other electronic devices with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience. The goal of user interface design is to make the user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible, in terms of accomplishing user goals (user-centered design).
Graphic design and typography are utilized to support its usability, influencing how the user performs certain interactions and improving the aesthetic appeal of the design.
It is evident that User Interface (UI), in general is about visual and information design around screens. Though a lot of process go into this graphical element, UI as the name implies, is about the things the user will actually see and interact. It delivers tangible results and focuses on how an app or product surface looks and functions.
UX without UI means you’ve got just a great building structure to your house, but it’s not attractive and organized. While UI without UX means strong building, aesthetics and colors but having your front door lead straight into your kitchen. As you see, both are irreplaceable and are certainly needed to design awesome products that deliver superlative experiences.
Here is an ideal wireframe to design a great UX/UI for a product/application:
Making User personal
Use Case Diagram
Scenario / Story Board
Wireframe / Prototype