What is UI/UX Design?

Achintha Isuru
4 min readApr 5, 2020

There are various avenues in the field of Information Technology or more commonly known as IT. Cloud Computing, IoT, Web Development are few of those avenues under IT. But today I am going to talk about an avenue which is quite different from many of its neighbouring avenues, it is UI/UX designing. Before diving into more details about UI/UX let’s understand a bit about why UI/UX is different. It is different because to develop UI/UX you do not need to know programming at all, you only require your creativity and designing skills and also the ability to understand the users’ and clients’ goals. Now we have a fair bit of knowledge about how UI/UX is different from other avenues therefore let’s move on to the main topic of the article, what is UI/UX design?

First of all, let’s talk about User Interface designing or more commonly known as UI designing. UI designing is the process of designing the look and feel of the interface. To design a good UI we must consider facts like,

· Using good typography fundamentals.

· Selecting a good colour scheme

· Selecting correct shapes for elements like text boxes, buttons etc.

These are only a few of many things that we should consider when developing a UI. Let me give you an example for good and bad UI design to get a better understanding of the concept.

If we consider the above example, in the case of the bad UI design, then the users of our UI may get confused on selecting the correct button, but in the good UI, we can see the difference between the ‘Cancel’ button and ‘Confirm’ button, which will make the users’ lives much easier and simpler when using this interface. I hope now you have a reasonable understanding of the concept of the UI design.

Now let’s move on to understanding what UX or User Experience design is. If we put it to the simplest term, we can say that UX designing is the process of designing the user’s experience of a particular application. Name of the product, page transitions, animations and gesture detections are all part of UX designing. Designing a user experience is a bit complex than designing a UI because UX requires more research and testing than UI. Now you may wonder why we need to research to develop a UX, isn’t it just like putting animations and page transitions to an interface? The answer to that question would be both yes and no. Yes, it is like putting animations and stuff to your set of interfaces. No, because to select which kind of animations we should choose, either it slides right or slides left, we need to do a research to understand how users will engage with our product, then we can get a better understanding on which animations we should use and which we should not. This can be done by developing user personas, looking at similar products and also using past data on users trends. It does not end here, UX designer has to align his designs with the client goals as well. For this, he can develop wireframes, low fidelity mockups, high fidelity mockups etc. I think now you have understood that UX designing is more complex than UI designing. Before moving to the next part of the article, let me show you some examples of good and bad UX design.

The above example is pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it 😉? I think we all have experienced how hard it is to pour sauce from the glass bottle, but if you use the plastic bottle it is pretty easy isn’t it? Therefore we can say that the user experience is better in the left one than the right one. I think now you have a good idea of what UX designing is.

Now let’s talk about some real-life examples of UX mistakes that cost companies millions. Walmart is a retail giant with over 11 thousand stores worldwide. In 2009 following a survey where customers were asked if they wanted less ‘clutter’ in the stores, Walmart listened to their customers and spent a lot of time and money radically reducing the amount of inventory and making the stores much more spacious. However, this resulted in plummeting of in-store sales by an estimated $1.85million. The team working on the project were fired, and all changes made to the stores had to be reversed. Although it is good that they were listening to their users, they were asking a leading question. Who would say -‘no’- to less clutter when they don’t know the context? (1)(2) Let me give you one more example, The UK government lost a whopping £12billion on failed NHS patient records management system. It’s said that the reason for the failure was, the developers did not do enough user research or testing before the development (2). I think now you understand the importance of the UI/UX design and what will happen if we did not do it properly.

Finally, if anyone is interested in learning more about UI/UX design, there are really good online tutorials and courses that you can follow and if you found this useful and interesting please feel free to share this among your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU!

REFERENCES

(1) https://w3-lab.com/web-design/bad-ux-choices-cost-companies-millions/

(2) https://speckyboy.com/ux-mistakes-cost-companies-millions/

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