It’s common for the terms User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) to be grouped together, but there are significant differences between these two roles. Many people use these terms interchangeably, not realizing that those who work in these roles have different tasks and project goals. It can be difficult to explain the main differences between these types of designers, which is why this subject remains prominent in the professional design world.

To understand the difference between UX Designers and UI Designers, it’s crucial to understand each role individually and what their overall goals are. Both of these positions deal with web development and product design, but their area of focus and method of application differs greatly. 

What is User Experience (UX) Design?

User Experience (UX) Design is the process of creating products, websites, and services that are functional and accessible for users. Essentially, this means that UX designers are concerned with customer experience functions such as finding information, the ability to complete tasks quickly, and ease of use. These professionals have a focus on how user-friendly a product or website is for users and work to ensure the customer experience is positive. The daily tasks of a UX designer can vary with different types of employment, but some typical responsibilities are conducting research and product testing. 

What is User Interface (UI) Design?

User Interface (UI) Designers create the “look” of a website, advertisement, or app to ensure it meets the client’s creative vision and is easy for consumers to engage with. UI designers often work directly with UX professionals to ensure design plans are functional and visually engaging. It’s helpful for some to think of UI as a combination of visual design and interaction design, meaning it focuses on the look, feel, aesthetics, and visual elements of a product. The overall functionality and presentation of a product will determine how users interact with it, which is why UI is a crucial area of any product or website development.

What are the Main Differences Between UX and UI Designers?

Highlighting the differences between UX and UI Designers remains a challenge, even for those with years of experience in the industry. While each role has a unique set of tasks and practices, they work together and integrate with one another so effortlessly they are often grouped under one umbrella term. Below you will find some examples and explanations designed to simplify the process of describing the differences between these two creative roles.

  • UX focuses on the experience a user has while UI focuses on interactions based on aesthetics
  • UX creates functionality, UI creates a visually appealing interface
  • UX measures efficiency and overall experience while UI measures look and function

With technology and these creative industries constantly evolving, the definition and expectations for these roles will change over time. What we know of UX and UI may be different than what is standard practice in the next five or ten years, but professionals in the field can stay up to date and relevant with their skills by taking continuing education courses throughout their careers. Those who are new to UX or UI should sign up for a UX & UI Design Certificate course to learn the fundamental skills needed to make a career change.

How are UX and UI Design Similar?

Now that you understand the differences between UX and UI, you may wonder if these two positions have any similarities. There are some significant overlaps between these two career roles, as both positions work together to determine how a website or product will look and function. There is a strong focus on user needs and overall product goals, with both positions using this information to meet their goals. 

These two areas truly go hand in hand when you look at a product website or application. Without UX Designers, these platforms may not function efficiently. That can cause customers or potential clients to steer away from the product. This is why UX Designers conduct research on the functionality and ease of use of the product. UI Designers provide the look and text presentation to a product, meaning a poorly designed layout or hard to read text can cause engagement to drop. UX and UI Design use their goals, tasks, and research data to influence the other and provide an easy to use and visualize final product.

Be Sure to Stay Current with Software

When working as a UX Designer or UI Designer, staying current with industry software and popular trends is crucial to success. Technology changes rapidly each year, meaning software practices can change to function with these upgrades. Some of the most common programs used by these design professionals are AdobeXD, Sketch, and Figma. Whether you are new to creative design or have worked as a UX/UI professional for years, signing up for graphic design classes once or twice per year is an excellent way to refresh fundamental skills and learn new techniques on software in the field.

Switching career industries and starting over in a new area can be challenging, especially if you are currently working in a full time position. It can be hard to find classes around your work schedule that allow for commute time and other obligations. Taking live online graphic design bootcamp classes provide students with an immersive course curriculum that is designed for those new to the field looking to master the key skills needed to succeed. 

There is no worry of having to commute or make it to a campus location on time. These live online courses are held virtually, meaning they can be taken from any location with stable internet access. The field of graphic design is growing rapidly, with an estimated 23,900 new jobs opening each year through 2030. To get started on your new career path, start by searching for graphic design bootcamps in your area to see what options are available. With the anticipated growth in jobs over the next years, there is no better time than now to start the process of switching careers to a creative design position.