UI design versus UX design
UI stands for user interface while UX stands for user experience. UI typically refers to all the visual components associated with a website or mobile app, whereas user experience has more to do with the planning and design of a user journey through your product.
“The goal of UI is to create clear, aesthetically pleasing designs that allow users to accomplish their goals efficiently,” explains Lauren Dahlenburg, Lead UI/UX Designer at Bit-Wizards.
While UI is mostly the look and feel of a website or mobile app, Dahlenburg says it also has an impact on the perceived user experience.
“The primary goal of UX is to provide users with a positive experience with your products in order to help solve their needs without barriers or frustrations,” she says.
The UI/UX design process
Dahlenburg says UI design actually tends to fall within UX design.
“UX design is more of your grand total process of establishing the user’s interaction with your product,” she explains. “So, UI design is a part of that.”
Dahlenburg and the rest of the Bit-Wizards' design team follow the Design Thinking methodology, a DesignOps ideology that has become widely accepted as the gold standard approach to design over the last decade:
Empathize: Understand users’ needs.
Define: Take findings and come up with a problem definition/hypothesis.
Ideate: Brainstorm solutions.
Prototype: Create possible designs.
Test: Validation of solution.
From there, Dahlenburg says UI design can be broken up into five subphases: content development, functionality, information architecture, visual design, and interaction design.
"Once you go through the UI design process, you go back and test,” says Dahlenburg. “You have to evaluate to make sure the design you created is effective. Depending on your results, you either continue to iterate or move onto the next phase, which is implementation.”
Why effective UI/UX design is important
Solutions and features stay user-focused
“If you’re not developing for the user, then you’re dead on arrival,” says Dahlenburg. “Your user is what it’s all about. These are the people that are going to be using your products on a day-to-day basis, so you need to make sure you’re meeting their needs, otherwise they have no use for your product.”
If the development and design process for your solution is solely focused on producing deliverables and meeting a set of requirements, Dahlenburg says you will miss the full picture.
“If you focus on meeting the users’ needs, it’ll set the tone for the whole project and identify, from a user’s perspective, what you’re trying to achieve,” explains Dahlenburg. "It's about placing the project focus on helping users achieve positive outcomes, rather than on producing acceptable outputs from a development perspective.”
Unnecessary problems are avoided
“If you’re not developing for the user, and you’re not performing usability tests or identifying pain points, you may come up with a solution that you think is meeting your users’ needs, when in reality, that wasn’t even a pain point to begin with,” explains Dahlenburg.
She says you could end up adding unnecessary complexity to the product or creating an additional burden for your users.
“Going through the UI/UX design process properly helps you avoid creating problems where there are none, or even solving the wrong problem,” says Dahlenburg.
Project efficiency increases
“Having good design and good design processes should reduce the need for iteration,” explains Dahlenburg.
She says this will increase efficiency and project turnaround.
“If you do your homework, you'll cut out a lot of waste and expedite a successful implementation, and that’s a win for the project as a whole,” says Dahlenburg.
Why UI/UX design is crucial to custom software development
“UI/UX Designers bring the voice of the user to a project,” Dahlenburg explains. “And it’s just good business.”
Dahlenburg says good UI/UX is profitable, whereas bad UI/UX is expensive because users are less likely to accomplish their goals, which means you’re less likely to have conversions.
“Good UI/UX increases your brand loyalty, fuels engagement, and increases traffic and return users,” says Dahlenburg. “If you have a poorly designed interface, and it’s confusing and frustrating, you’re going to lose customers, and ultimately, you’re not going to achieve the business outcomes you’re looking for.”
At Bit-Wizards, we have dedicated front end development, mobile/web design, and UI/UX design professionals who bridge the software development and marketing realms to create well-designed, user-focused solutions. Our team continuously builds upon their knowledge and expertise through courses, trainings, and certifications so they can create cutting-edge software solutions for clients. Need help with UI/UX for a custom software development project? Get in touch.