You are currently viewing The basics of UI and UX design-2021
The basics of UI and UX design-2021

The basics of UI and UX design-2021

If you’re looking forward to learn about UI UX design, you’ve come to the right place!

Have you ever ordered a product online because you really liked the designs shown in images and were totally impressed by the beautifully written description? But when the product arrived and you actually got to use it, it turned out to be a big flop? I hope it was returnable…

UI design without UX is like beauty without brains
UI design without UX is like beauty without brains

Human eyes are easily deceived by aesthetically pleasing things. But if these things are not really useful to us, their only place is in the showcase of our homes.

Let’s talk about beautiful apps and websites which do not help us in anyway. We cannot even use them for decoration purposes, right? In short, they’re totally waste.

To gain human loyalty, aesthetics are not enough. The product needs to add some value to the user’s life.

We buy a product by looking at its UI design while we keep a product for its UX
We buy a product by looking at its UI design while we keep a product for its UX
Your views about a product before using it, is an impact of its UI design while your views about a product after using it, is an impact of its UX design.

Don’t worry if you don’t get this statement right now. By the end of this article, you surely will. Don’t be scared by the length of this article. I promise you that it is going to be super simple to understand. In this article, we are going to cover up the following major topics about UI UX design-

Content

  1. What is UI design?
  2. What is UX design?
  3. Relationship between UI and UX design?
  4. What is the difference between UI and UX design?
  5. Why is UI UX design important?

1) What is UI design?

Full form of UI design is User Interface Design. The name suggests that we are designing an interface for the users. Before we start discussing it, we need to know what exactly is interface.

What is an interface?

An interface is the bridge or medium which connects a user to the content of a product. If an app or website is the product, then your smartphone’s touchscreen is the interface. If a coffee machine or ATM machine is the product, then the buttons present on it is the interface.

In this article, we will mostly be referring to products having Graphical user interfaces (apps, website, etc) while you can still relate to other types of interfaces.

Learn how to design an app in 5 simple steps

UI and UX design : The buttons of a coffee machine act as an interface for the user
UI and UX design : The buttons of a coffee machine act as an interface for the user

Interface is your first point of contact when you try to interact with a product. This is the reason why it needs to be designed perfectly. It will decide if you want to explore the website further or like Ariana said – thank you next (next)!

Now, how is a designer supposed to design your smartphone’s screen? Pretty sure this question can arise if you’re a new born in the world of UI UX design. No, we don’t judge people here.

The answer is simple! Whenever you use an app, your screen’s space is given to that app. Then the content of that app forms the interface. So, designing screen just means designing the app’s content which will be displayed through the screen. This is what we call user interface design.

Defining UI Design

I think now we can give a definition to UI design. User interface design is the process of designing the contents of a product which the user will be able to access or interact with through a medium. The person who designs the contents of a product such that the users can easily access it through a medium is called a UI Designer.

Difference between web designers and developers

UI design focuses on looks and aesthetics of a product. Since, it is the first impression of a product, it should look good. But how do we decide if it’s good or bad?

What is good UI design and bad UI design?

Good UI design

Good user interface design enhances the look and feel of the product and looks inviting. As we all have heard, less is more. So, it should look clean and clutter free.

Only the content which is truly required should be presented to the users. The information which is not vital should be removed as it can confuse the users. Overall, it should look easy to use and make the user feel like this product can do the job.

Bad UI design

Bad user interface looks clumsy and sometimes doesn’t make sense. The content structure isn’t proper or the color scheme is painful to the eyes of the users. Typography and serif & sans serif fonts are not used thoughtfully. A normal user won’t be able to understand a content if it uses a lot of jargons or technical terms. A user feels irritated by the bad interface and quickly moves on to the next option.

In the below image I’ve given an idea about good and bad UI considering only a few basic rules. Sorry in advance for the bad UI…

UI and UX design : Good UI design vs Bad UI design
UI and UX design : Good UI design vs Bad UI design

Now look at both the images carefully and compare the following-

  • Color contrast between text and background
  • Legibility of typeface
  • Font size
  • Content structure
Good UI

In the good UI, we have black text over gray-ish background. So, the color contrast is good. The typeface is also legible as we are easily able to recognize each character. Font size is enough, making it easy to read. There is proper spacing, alignment and hierarchy so the content structure is also good.

Bad UI

In the bad UI, we have yellow and 100% black text over 100% white background. Both the combinations are not good as these can be painful for the eyes of the reader (try it).

The legibility and readability of the content is also compromised. The typeface in the question is too decorative making it less legible. The font size of the options is too small making it difficult to read.

The alignment and spacing is also not consistent. I hope you got the difference now.

Best Practice: Never use 100% white and 100% black colors for text and background. This combination has maximum contrast and is painful for the eyes.

What does a UI designer do?

The responsibilities of a UI designer are as follows-

  • design mockups which are the hi-fidelity screens of the app or website
  • creates visual elements like buttons, icons, etc
  • design brand elements like logos, symbols, etc for the product or incorporate the pre-existing elements and persona of the brand in the product
  • takes care of content structure like content hierarchy, what goes where, spacing, etc
  • performs interface optimization by working on details of the interface and suggesting improvements in the model designed by UX designers
  • maintains consistency in the interface

What skills are needed for UI design?

UI designing requires the following skills-

  • Creativity
  • Content structure
  • Typography
  • Color theory
  • Knowledge of design conventions

2) What is UX design?

I’m pretty sure you must have gone through other people’s online reviews before buying a product. We do this because no one wants to make a purchase which isn’t worthy. While doing this can help us take a decision and get a general idea of the product, experience is totally personal.

Sometimes even after doing all the investigation, your experience might or might not relate to the reviews you read online. Some users might not even notice a small miss, but it might be a great deal for some.

UX design lays the foundation of a product on which the UI is designed
UX design lays the foundation of a product on which the UI is designed

A good product is designed in such a way that it takes into consideration the experiences of all it’s users and keeps on enhancing itself till every user is satisfied. This can be achieved through UX design which can be expanded as ‘User EXperience Design’.

Defining UX Design

I would like to quote Susan Weinschenk here-

“User Experience Design is the science and art of designing a product so that it’s – easy to use – fits expectations and – meets business goals.”

– Susan Weinschenk
Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO at the Team W

This small definition explains everything. It takes creative as well as logical problem solving to design user experience. User experience design lays the foundation of a product which needs to be very strong and transparent in every aspect. A strong foundation not just helps the users but also makes development of the product hassle-free.

UX design focuses on the functionality and usability of the product. The aim of UX design is to find easiest solutions for the users and effectively incorporate those solutions within the UI. This is why it requires a thorough user research to find the pain points and requirements of users.

Card Sorting – UX research technique

It also makes sure that the user can explore or navigate through the product without any difficulty and that the important features are highly visible in the product. All of this is achieved by proper planning, making prototype of the actual product and then testing it. This goes on iteratively to make further improvements.

Overall, it makes the product easy to use and tries to give the best possible experience to the users.

What is good UX design and bad UX design?

Good UX design

A good user experience design is when the user is easily able to achieve all the tasks and navigate through the product. The user is able to access all the important information and functions within a few clicks. A good UX design makes the user feel like he is controlling the UI.

Bad UX design

A bad user experience design is when the user faces difficulty in achieving tasks. The buttons are broken or do not navigate correctly. The user does not get any response from the interface even after taking an action.

For example, he clicks a button but there is no change in the state of button which can confuse the user if it has been clicked or not.

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Or the user can make a payment but doesn’t receive status on the screen if it is successful or not.

It is going to give a bad impression of the product to the user. This is why businesses like to invest in highly qualified or experienced UX designers to take care of the UX of their product.

Do you need a design degree to be a UX designer?

UI and UX design : Quality of User experience highly determines the customer satisfaction rate
UI and UX design : Quality of User experience highly determines the customer satisfaction rate
But what happens when a product has good UI design and bad UX or bad UI and good UX design?

A product with good UI design but bad UX is simply of no use. Have you ever heard someone say,”OMG! This app might not work but I’m still going to keep it because it looks sooo cute”?? If you have, stay away from them.

The combination of bad UI and good UX design can work in some urgent cases. For example, when a feature or information is available at limited places and required urgently. But it won’t be good in the long run as it won’t be able to make those users return. So, the villain of the story is bad UX.

What does a UX designer do?

The responsibilities of a UX designer are as follows-

  • performs user research to find target audience, user requirements, user personas, etc for the product
  • develops information architecture which includes deciding how many pages will be required, how navigation will be performed, what all functions will be needed, etc
  • creates sitemaps which defines all the pages, navigation and main functionalities of the product
  • designs wireframes which is the low- fidelity model of the product
  • builds prototypes which is a model of the final product and used for testing and refinement of the product

The list can look exhaustive but it comes with benefits. The salary of a UX designer is considered one of the best in market.

What skills are needed for UX design?

The responsibilities mentioned above are also included in the skills required for UX designing-

  • User empathy
  • Analytical skills
  • Decision making
  • User Research
  • Information architecture
  • Site mapping
  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping

3) What is the relationship between UI and UX design?

UX design is a more extensive field and UI design is a part of it. After all, good and bad UI also has some impact on the overall experience of the product. If UX design lays foundation of a product, UI designs the product over that foundation. Both the fields are equally important and work in harmony for the success of a product.

You must have heard of people who work as UI/UX designers. Yes, you can do both but you have to select your dominant field. It is not possible to work equally as a UI designer and UX designer since both require full-time efforts and different skill sets. We don’t want to be Jack of all and master of none.

Don’t worry if you have just started to work as both. With time and experience you will naturally start feeling inclined towards one.

If you are into UI design or UX design, it is anyway good to have some knowledge of the other. With a little understanding of the other field, both the UI and UX designers will be able to work together better as a team towards the designing of an excellent product.

4) What is the difference between UI and UX design?

There isn’t actually any similarity between the two. But for a better understanding, we can differentiate between UI and UX design taking the following points into consideration-

S.No.UI DesignUX Design
1)design-centricuser-centric
2)focuses on looks & aestheticsfocuses on usability & functionality
3)first impression of a productlast impression of a product
4)attracts new usersmakes users loyal
5)requires creativityrequires empathy and logic
6)can be touchedcan be felt
Difference between UI and UX design

5) Why is UI/UX design Important?

Why is UI design important?

Whenever you open an app or a website, the product has few seconds to impress you and make you stay before you get bored or find it not useful and decide to switch to another product. Since, user interface is the first impression of the product and plays a major role in making users want to explore the product, business hires professional user interface designers to make UI look the best.

This is why designers also use various web design tools which take away a lot of burden from their shoulders.

How to design a website in WordPress in 7 steps

Fact: People decide if they like a product within 90 seconds or less.

Why is UX design important?

Now when the user interface has already captivated your attention, user experience design comes into play. The user would want to navigate through the app and achieve some tasks using the product like selecting items, ordering food, making payment, etc. With the right UI design, the product will be straightforward and easy to use.

The user won’t have any problem while using the product and will be easily able to carry out all the tasks. He will be satisfied with the product and spread good words about it. The user will return again and again and will become a loyal customer.

This is ultimately going to benefit the business and this is the reason why they hire professional user experience designers to provide the best possible experience to their users.

Best practice: The user should be able to achieve any task within least possible clicks without compromising the quality of experience.

Conclusion

Your views about a product before using it is an impact of its UI design while your views about a product after using it is an impact of its UX design. I’m sure the basics are crystal clear now. In this article we learnt about

  • what is UI and UX design
  • the responsibilities and skills of UI designers and UX designers
  • the relationship and differences between UI design and UX design
  • the importance of UI UX design

If you still have any questions left about the basics of UI UX design, you can feel free to ask in the comments below. You can also connect with us on social media. If you liked this article, leave us your feedback in the comment section. If this article helped you in some way, don’t forget to share it with your friends.

We will be coming up with a lot of interesting articles about UI and UX design soon. So, stay tuned. See ya soon…

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Suraksha

    Awesome insights Ritika .Really a thoughtful article.

  2. KMSingh

    Very nice and useful article.Keep it writing. 👍

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