What is the difference between UI and UX

The discussion on the differences between UI and UX comes up quite frequently in the world of ecommerce. Any UI?UX designer will tell you that the answer is quite simple. They are exactly the same but at the same time, they are completely different. Confusing right?

Many people confuse UI and UX because they are so closely linked.

UI is an abbreviation for User Interface and is mainly the interaction between the computer and users and is purely the design that a user sees when looking at a website or an app.

UX is an abbreviation for User Experience which is the architecture behind that design and represents the experience that a user has with the overall product, service or brand.

User Experience and User Interface go hand in hand and cannot exist without the other.

What is UX

UX is the fundamental building block that is needed for anything on your site to work. Whether it’s a printed box, leaflet or website, UX is the method that is applied from the very beginning right through to the end.

User Experience needs to evoke a positive emotion. A simple, yet clever design will leave users with a positive journey and experience while navigating through your site. This can only be done if you have a clear understanding of your users and their overall needs, pain points, and goals.

UX Questions you should always ask yourself when looking at an ecommerce store are:

- Is the website you're looking at easy to use?

- Can you navigate through it easily?

- Are you able to shop quickly without getting frustrated?

Where is UX used?

UX is (and should) be used across the entirety of your site. From branding and marketing, and even down to your printed materials.

That User Experience is the thought behind how your brand fits your target audience. If you need to create a baby shampoo brand, you need to ensure that your logo appeals to mums and children. Therein lies the User Experience.

What forms of UX are used to build a website?

The first thing that needs to be understood is the mission and vision of the business. Its pain points, and its strengths and weaknesses.

Next, it’s important to form a structure of the customer base.

Thanks to Google Analytics, we can take a look at any clients customers base and gain an understanding of who they are based on their age, gender, and demographic. Taking this information, coupled with the businesses target audience, Personas are born.

Once you have created your personas, the real magic can begin.

Informational Architecture will establish what the right content is needed on your site. This content and layout will form the wireframes, prototypes and next steps for your site.

After this has been fleshed out and agreed upon by all parties, User Research can begin. Talking to customers (whether moderated or unmoderated methods) is supremely important as the information you receive from User Testing is needed to start forming the new design of your site.

But which one is better? UI or UX?

Having enough data and best practices from many different places such as HotJar Heatmaps, User Testing Sessions, and Google Analytics is what will inevitably lead to a great user experience. Great brand guidelines, vision, and tone of voice lead to a great UI.

So which one is more important?

Years of research, data and extensive understanding of what goes into a great experience on a site would lead us to prefer User Experience. Simply because it is the first thing to consider. User experience is used to understand the end goal, whereas UI is the tool that transforms that vision into reality.

While many designers will have differing opinions, the simple fact of the matter is that both UI and UX are equally important.

Note from our Brand and Creative Lead Stephan.

“I’ve been doing this well over 10 years and every step of the way, UX is the first thing on my mind. It’s the first thing that is on our client’s minds too. Therefore I never stop enhancing the user experience across the websites for our new and existing Shopify or Shopify Plus merchants. I'm always thinking about testing, analysing and iterating the work that we have done to make it even better month in and month out.”

So, how do we do this at Blend? That’s really easy, getting to know you first.

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