The two abbreviations UX and UI are frequently used, although many people are often unsure what exactly is meant by them.
UI - The connection between user and application
UI is the abbreviation for "User Interface". It describes the part of an application or system with which the user comes into direct contact. Via the UI, users interact with the functions or receive the desired information. It thus represents the interface between man and machine.
For example, the user interface of a smartphone's start screen is defined as a UI. Likewise, the buttons on a smartphone represent a user interface, since the control of certain functions is implemented in this way. The UI can therefore be hardware or software or a combination of both. In the meantime, there are many different user interfaces in IT. One of the newer variants is voice control. With systems such as Alexa or Siri, functions are called up by means of voice commands. This also represents a UI. The same applies to virtual environments that are controlled by movement. Here sensors and cameras are the interface between user and machine.
One of the oldest user interfaces is the TUI - the text-based interface. Before the era of graphical user interfaces began with Windows, programs and operating systems were primarily controlled by entering text commands. The familiar keyboard is used as the input device, which thus also represents a user interface.
The main task when creating user interfaces is to provide functions and to record and display information. The main task is therefore to give the user access to the technical side of a system
UX - Focus on user experiences and impressions
The abbreviation UX stands for User Experience. This field is primarily concerned with the experiences and impressions that users gain when interacting with systems. In the field of IT and application development, these are primarily experiences with the design, suitability and also the user interface as well as the interaction between man and machine itself. Accordingly, the area of UX is divided into several subcategories.
A subarea of the User Experience is the visual design. This includes both the visual user interface of programs as well as real interfaces through which the user interacts. This includes buttons or switches, for example. In the context of application development, the aim here is to create a user interface that is easy to understand and simple to use. Ideally, an inexperienced user should be able to operate the system without instruction or guidance, as the design is intuitive. Good examples of successful visual design are the buttons on CD players. Everyone is familiar with the symbols such as stop or start, or can deduce the function from their appearance. Colors are used in a similar way. Red is known as a signal or warning color and immediately draws attention to a problem. This intuitive perception can be used in design. The more extensive the functionality of a system is, the more complex and elaborate the visual design becomes. For applications, the development of an easy-to-use user interface is a major challenge.
It is possible to measure the different aspects of the user experience. On a professional level, tests are conducted that objectively evaluate stability, usefulness and beauty. For example, eye-tracking methods are used to test how users react to a new website. Ultimately, UX is about determining how quickly a user grasps the meaning, concept, operation and purpose of an application. It is also important to determine the effectiveness in everyday life.
Interactions between UI and UX
Subareas of UI and UX overlap at many points. The closest connection is probably in the visual design of user interfaces. However, the focus of the two topics is on other factors. A good example is the design of graphical user interfaces. While UI design is primarily concerned with providing the best possible access to all functions, the focus of user experience is on a clear and intuitive layout. As a result, the work of the two areas sometimes overlaps, although the tasks and approaches could hardly be more different. However, the goal of both areas is essentially the same. UX and UI want to create an interface that is intuitive and provides access to all functions.
GAL Digital has been active in the field of application development for many years and is therefore familiar with the design of user interfaces. The services include the development and programming of user interfaces as well as UX optimization and usability testing. Contact GAL Digital directly if you need user interfaces for applications or if you want to optimize the user experience of your application.