User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design thinking: The role of UI & UX Principles in designing customer solutions
The world has become so competitive that it is vital for companies to differentiate themselves by providing their customers with solutions that are meaningful and relevant to them. To avoid losing them to the competition, the product, service or system solution you offer needs to help them solve their challenges quickly, efficiently and simply. That’s why user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design is so critical for modern businesses.
What’s the difference between UX and UI design?
It is very common to hear the terms user experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) used interchangeably. We also hear these terms being applied very loosely to describe a good website or mobile app. While these terms are in fact related, they do not mean the same thing. Further, using them to describe a beautiful website or app doesn’t even begin to do justice to their definition. So what exactly do they mean?
- UX design relates to anything, both on and off-screen, that affects the user's journey to solve a problem. The experience can be either positive or negative.
- UI design, on the other hand, focuses on the look and function of a product’s surfaces.
Simply put, if we take the example of a visit to a restaurant to have a meal, UX represents your experience - from parking your car at the restaurant to completing your meal and leaving - while the UI would be represented by the cutlery, the crockery and the food presentation.
In a nutshell, UX designers are architects of the journey and experience, while UI designers bring this to life by designing the aesthetic or ‘look & feel’.
Incorporating UI & UX design principles to design your digital solutions
Design thinking, and more specifically human-centered design, is at the heart of UX and UI design. The aim is to come up with a digital solution that addresses the challenges of the people it’s designed to serve. For this product, service or system solution to be efficient and easy to navigate, UX and UI design principles need to be seamlessly integrated - a process that begins with research.
Before product designers can begin the design process, they need to gather insights into the product and the users. The research phase is characterised by understanding the context of the product’s existence. Interviews with relevant stakeholders are carried out to generate outputs such as user personas, use cases or journey maps that facilitate the architecture design.
In this step, the UX design team plans the information architecture. They explore the different user flows to develop wireframes or sketches that help visualise the solution. This then becomes the foundation for the UI design (mockups & graphics) and prototypes.
This is the phase in which prototype development happens. The prototypes may be clickable or coded. UI designers bring the wireframes or UX sketches to life for people to experience the look and feel.
Once the prototypes are ready, they are validated through a series of tests to gauge whether the solution is acceptable by the end-users and stakeholders. Based on feedback, the testing may need to be tweaked and changed, sending it back to the brainstorming stages or it may be accepted as a final solution.
When designing digital products, services and systems, UX and UI both play major roles in determining whether a solution is acceptable and fit for purpose. The design process is iterative and isn’t always a one-size-fits-all, but the goal will always be to develop a solution that is relevant and meaningful to the people it is intended to serve.
By keeping your customer at the forefront of your business model, you’ll be able to reap massive benefits. Reach out to us today via email at email@example.com to design your customer-centric solution.