UI vs UX: Teamwork = Success

May 22, 2019

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While there is a noticeable difference between the major roles played throughout the design process, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are almost inextricable from each other. Good UI cannot happen without good UX and vice versa. Therefore, using UI and UX teams to collaborate on projects is highly recommended.

UI and UX teams are constantly working together to ensure a product is of its highest quality when entering the market. When designing a website or application, teams need to work with the same intention to carry out a graceful design. This is where both user experience and user interface experts are needed. What’s the difference between the two? How can they work together to help your application succeed beyond your wildest dreams?

The design process starts with user experience, more specifically, figuring out what problem a  website or application is solving. It could be anything from trying to help people find their parking spot, tutor them in a new subject, or a daily reminder to feed an exotic fish.  

 After choosing a problem to solve, it’s time to decide on a path to solution. This is done by selecting a target audience and beginning the formation of a minimal viable product (MVP). An MVP is a product that has just enough features to be efficient and effective for the user. Typically, a UX designer will form the MVP of an app through a combination of research, live interviews and data collection.

With a clear goal in mind, specific user requirements can be defined through documents, user flows and wireframes that are used for collaboration between the UX team and the UI team. After reviewing these assets,  the UI designer is ready to begin the visual design process. The UI designer begins implementing the user actions and requirements discovered during the UX research phase with the product’s brand in mind.

Throughout the design process, the two disciplines consistently interact in order to discuss how the design fulfills the UX requirements before moving on to user testing. There are numerous ways to test users, but one of the more common ways is through the use of a clickable prototype. The prototype gives users a full experience of the product while providing the UI/UX team insight on potential issues with usability, accessibility or design. User testing is crucial to ensure a product is ready for the market. 

Once a prototype has passed user testing, it is now ready for development. In this stage, UI/UX teams and development teams work together to discuss design notes, MVP features and any other questions concerning the prototype. While the developers analyze the information given, they can then accurately estimate the time and effort required for implementation. As a direct result, the company can approximate a budget for the buildout of the product.

Author/Copyright holder: Teo Yu Siang and Interaction Design Foundation.
Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

A Worthwhile Investment

Twenty years ago, user interface and user experience were unknown disciplines. Today, many companies find a growing need for specialized UI/UX teams for their digital products. Doing the necessary research at the beginning of a project saves time and money for companies in the long run. Fixing a problem in development costs 10 times as much as fixing it in design, and 100 times as much if you’re trying to fix the problem in a product that’s already been released (Pressman 1992).

At Crafted, our team members wear multiple hats. Our UX designers know about UI and our UI designers know about UX. This makes our design process fast and efficient as they can anticipate the needs of the other. For this reason, our clients get the websites and applications they need quickly and with great design and functionality. Take a look at the work that we did with USA Football, a fast and reliable web app that handled a Super Bowl’s worth of web traffic.