Commonly confused thin line between UX & UI

In the recent past we have been introduced to two acronyms UX and UI, particularly used by professionals in the digital industry. We understand that UX stands for User Experience and UI for User Interface, but the terms are most commonly misunderstood by people around us and often interchangeably used by professionals in the field. In this article I’ll try to define and distinguish these two terms in the simplest way possible for better understanding.

User Experience (UX)

User experience is everything through which a user, customer, visitor or viewer interacts with a product or company, as per the definition provided by Wikipedia. Notice that there is no mentioning of digital or tech in the definition, which implies that the term can be applied to almost anything with which a human interacts. But, why is it treated as a digital jargon? A history check on the term indicates that UX was first used in the late 90’s by Don Norman, co-founder of Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, which implies all interaction of the end user with the product or company. But, the acronym become popular somewhere around the time when digital industry was blooming and since then it is exclusively used to represent a digital notion.

User Interface (UI)

User interface on the other hand is associated with the overall layout and feel of a project, assisting the user experience in some way. It is just the compliment of User experience that is how the product is presented and its interactivity with the user. Like UX, the industries that employ UI Designers often get easily confused by it. If job post for User Interface is noted, it will be  found that the profession interpretations are similar to graphic design and it is sometimes extended to front end development and design of a brand. Whereas the experts define the User Interface similar to the User Experience even with the same structural techniques. But none of them is correct. They both are close in some ways. User Interface Design is a multi-faceted and exciting role. The conversion of a product’s research, content, development and layout into a responsive, guiding and attractive experience for users depends on it.

We have observed a repetitive use of UX and UI in defining a person’s profession, role, duties, experience or expertise. This is where we can define a line between the two for better understanding. UX is a mix of marketing research, competitor analysis, product structure and content creation, the other part includes the wireframes, project prototypes and testing, then finally coordination with UI developers, tracking goals and integration. On the other hand, UI is more related to the entire look and feel, layout, interactivity, animation and branding, more importantly the impact that a particular color scheme, design or visual has one the user. So, in a nutshell, UI is the transference of brand strengths and visual assets into the interface of a product.


Shahrukh Saeed is a design savvy digital enthusiast focused to share latest tools, tricks & techniques of the web, digital marketing UX/UI & SEO with business startups and learn from experts in the field.

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