UX VS UI, Design and Usability

UX VS UI, Design and Usability

The user interface (UI) is very easy to explain since it is possible to see and touch (most of the time) the User Experience (UX) in counterpart is a more intangible concept that accompanies but exceeds the UI. What are their differences and their relationship to design and usability?

 What is the UI?

The UI or user interface also called dry interface is the means by which a person controls a software or hardware.The first user interfaces were batch, very rudimentary; The users had to adapt to the computers and the software was developed to maintain the processor to its maximum capacity. The input was punch cards.

IOS 7 for Ipad

Currently in almost all software programs the user interface is usually graphical GUI. The first computer that used one was the Xerox Alto and that until today.

 What is UX?

UX (acronym for User Experience in English) is famously complicated to describe and in some ways a controversial concept.There are many definitions, one of the most concise is ISO 9241-210

The perceptions of a person and the responses resulting from the intended use or use of a product, system or service 
ISO 9241-210

The origin of the term is attributed to Donald Norman in the mid-90 when he worked on the Apple team.He invented the title of User Experience Architect to describe his functions because he thought, that the user interface and Usability were too narrow a way. He intended to cover all aspects of a person’s experience with a system including industrial design, graphic design, interface, physical interaction and manual.

This reflected the disciplines in which a designer of UX should be competent:

  • Visual design
  • Interface design
  • Navigation Design
  • Information Architecture (IA)
  • The design of information
  • The interaction design (IxD)
  • Functional Specification
  • Content Requirements
  • Research User (user needs)
  • UX Strategy (Site Objectives)


Difference in terms of design

According to WebEsperto “The UX is traditionally difficult to define and an ambiguous concept”.

The UI design focuses on anticipating what users might need to do and making sure that the interface has elements that are easily accessible, understood, and used to facilitate those actions.

The design of UI is a big part of the UX, in most cases the designer UX actually design the interface but the UX is not UI.

The design UX is the process of increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.

According to UXPA design User Experience as discipline is concerned with all the elements that interface, including the layout, visual design, text, branding, sound and interaction.

It is clearly a broader definition. An interface can be excellent but still the user experience may be unsuccessful.

As Nielsen says an example would be a movie reviews site with a good search engine but that does not give results when a user looks for a launch of a small independent studio.

In many cases the design definition of UI refers to UX because it is the best way to design an interface.

UX and Usability

It is probably the concept that is most confused with UX and one of the false myths about UX although the Usability is very important for the UX is the latter is a broader concept.

Usability plays an essential role in making experiences effective and enjoyable, but there are factors such as Information Architecture, interaction design, accessibility, visual design … which also have their place.
One way to illustrate this is with concentric circles, Usability is a subset of the UX very close to the center where it would be the most essential: utility but with other levels above.