While we’ve known the word designer to represent many different roles in the past, it would be of no surprise if you were left scratching your head upon viewing this article’s banner. So, whether the terms UX and UI are completely new to you, or you’re well used to hearing them being thrown around, the lines between the two roles are often blurred. In this article, we’ll lay out what exactly it is that falls under each of the titles, how they differ, how they collaborate, and how common skills between the two are critical.
UX or user experience relates to the overall experience a user has when interacting with a company’s products or services. In the case of tech, this would be a website or app. We can classify good or bad user experience design as to how easy and enjoyable it is to interact and engage with each aspect of a user’s journey through the site or application.
There are 7 main facets to user experience design:
User interface design, on the other hand, refers to the look, feel, and layout of the service or product in question. To simplify things a bit further, user interface design is a solely digital term. It applies only to the point at which a user interacts with an app or webpage. Great examples of such would be Airbnb’s welcoming homepage, as well as their unintrusive prompts along the way, Spotify’s mood-setting colour gradients allow for visual reassurance while choosing your desired playlist and Mailchimp’s simple and clean interface promotes interaction and eases usability.
User interface design is often misinterpreted or confused with other roles, such as ux design for one. However, even companies hiring UI designers will often confuse their needs with those for graphic designers, branding designers, and even front-end development. A UI designer will think about icons and buttons, typography and color schemes, spacing, imagery, and responsive design. Like user experience design, user interface design is a multi-faceted and challenging role.
So How Do UX and UI Designers Collaborate?
Step 1: Begin With Discussions
At the outset, UX and UI designers meet and discuss the scope of their upcoming project. Other teams such as web development may also be present at this meeting so as to discuss the feasibility of any possible ideas. Having this discussion at the start of the task enables the team to work efficiently and effectively throughout the course of the project. Apart from feedback on productivity and feasibility, this process also helps estimate the scope of work that the project would demand and the resources that would be required for it.
Step 2: Research
After the introductory phase is complete, UX and UI designers head out to get their hands on some research and begin exploring. UX designers tend to stick to a rough outline of the scope of the work. Meanwhile, UI designers go far more into detail with their research. It is their job to understand user problems, behavior, needs, and responses. They do this by gathering data through various surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. The methods used for this research depend upon the nature of the project, its requirements, the kind of target audience, etc.
Step 3: Presentation of Findings
Once all the research is done, it’s time to lay it all on the table. Using their ideas from their initial discussions, concepts created by the UX team and information gathered during the UI designer’s research, they set about shaping their image for the project. Up until this point, all members of the team are building designs based on assumptions about user behavior. And unsupported assumptions are of no good to anyone! Therefore, at this point, the UI Designers give insights to the rest of the team about the perception of users over the new product/feature, the highlights, and the pain points so they can make derivations from it.
Step 4: Style Guide
This in turn leads them to be able to create a style guide. What is a style guide you might be wondering? “A style guide is a collection of agreed-upon design guidelines that help establish consistency across products and brands”. This provides the team with a single reference point for storing visual and functional information. It explains why certain design decisions may have been made during the initial phases, thus allowing for thought and design continuity throughout the scope of the project. This style guide generally contains guidance and information on a whole host of different design points such as:
- Voice and Tone
- Layout and Grids
This style guide enables the team to collaborate in an effective manner and create the best possible product using all the shared input from each cog in the teams’ engine.
So there you have it, with clear communication, enthusiasm, encouragement, and the necessary skills, all design possibilities can be brought to life. If you’d like to learn more about the world of UX/UI design why not take a look at our brochure HERE!