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UX vs. UI

education Aug 18, 2021
man sketching mobile screen

UX and UI are terms that are often used interchangeably but actually mean different things. If you are new to the design field or are interviewing for design positions, it is important that you understand the difference between UX and UI. 

Of course, the roles of UX and UI design are being redefined all the time. Roles can vary depending on the company you work for, but it’s still important to have a basic understanding of UX and UI.

The Guac is here to break down UX and UI, so if you are wondering if a career in UX or UI is right for you, grab some chips and let’s dig in!

What is UX design?

UX stands for User Experience. UX designers are concerned with creating a simple, useful experience for the user. UX design is focused on how a product works, not on visuals. 

UX designers need to ask the right questions in order to identify the user's needs so they can design the right interactions. 

While UX designers often work on mobile apps and websites, UX is not limited to the digital realm. UX can be applied to any product, service, or experience, from the lamp in your living room to the music app on your smartphone.

What Does a UX Designer Do?

Product and User Research

UX designers follow a process that begins with user and product research in order to get a better understanding of the user and their pain points. You can dive deeper into what a UX designer actually does here.

Information Architecture

UX designers also need to define the product’s Information Architecture,  deciding the most logical way to organize and present the content across the app, website, or product.


The next step is wireframing, which helps create a foundation for the final design while leaving room for flexibility and innovation.


UX designers need to be able to prototype. While a wireframe is more of a blueprint for the final product, a prototype is closer to the finished product and can simulate user and interface interactions. 

User Testing

UX designers evaluate the functionality of their designs through user testing. Which helps them understand any problems users may encounter when interacting with the product.

What is UI Design?

UI stands for User Interface design. UI deals with visual elements that make up a digital product or experience. UI designers think about how the buttons, screens, icons, and texts should look in order to create an aesthetically pleasing experience. 

UI designers also think about how the visual elements that a user interacts with are designed. UI is all about the look and feel of the application.

What does a UI Designer Do?

UI designers pick up where the UX designer leaves off. They transform basic wireframes and add visual design elements to make the interface more usable and appealing.

Design Research

UI designers must also conduct research so that they can identify user trends and design an interface that meets the expectations of users. 

Design Systems

UI designers also need to develop design systems, style guides, and pattern libraries that demonstrate how each component should look in order to enhance usability and consistency of the product.


UI designers often have to work with the marketing or creative teams in order to stay consistent and showcase the established brand identity.

Responsive Design

UI designers need to design interfaces so they adjust seamlessly to all devices, screen sizes, and platforms.


UI designers use interactive elements like transitions or animations.


 UI designers play an important role in prototyping. A prototype represents the final product and can simulate user and interface interactions, so the UI elements will need to be in place at this stage. 

What is the Difference Between UX and UI?

In the most basic terms, UX is how the product works while UI is how the product looks.

Check out some more key differences between UX and UI below:

  1. UX design deals with identifying and solving user problems while UI deals with creating aesthetically pleasing interactive interfaces.
  2. The UX designer creates the basic frame of the experience. Then, the UI designer completes the experience with visual elements
  3. UX can be applied to any kind of product or service while UI is applied to digital products.

UX VS. UI? Which Is Right for You?

UX designers need to be empathetic and enjoy problem-solving. You need to be both creative and analytical. 

UI designers also need to understand the user but are more focused on the visuals. If making digital projects beautiful and appealing sounds just quactastic, then UI is for you!

Can’t pick your favorite? You can always specialize in both UX and UI!

UX and UI design are both essential when it comes to good product design, which is why UX and UI complement each other. Yes, they have their differences, but nailing both aspects is necessary in the competitive market that we live in today. 

Whether you choose to work as a UI designer or UX designer, it is important that you understand both so you can collaborate with other designers on projects.

Ready to start a new career as a UX/UI designer? Schedule a free mentoring session with a UX/UI designer today!

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