What is the difference between UI and UX? | Venturus

What is the difference between UI and UX?

Nowadays, it has become increasingly evident that UI and UX are essential for the development of most products, from physical ones to systems and applications. Creating products that meet the real needs of users is essential to avoid rework, unnecessary expenses and even restarting an entire project.

Although UI and UX are widely used, a lot of people still have questions about the meaning and roles of each of them in product development.

To understand this topic better, we talked to Antônio Salgado, Senior Designer and leader of the UX/UI Chapter at Venturus. He explained in detail the main differences between these two specialties, the benefits of their use and why it is worth investing in them. Check it out!


What is UI and UX?

UI — User Interface — and UX — User Experience— represent two areas of Design. Both aim to create products capable of providing the best possible user experience.

UI represents the graphical interface, that is, it is what the user sees and how they interact with a product. UX goes beyond the physical and seeks to understand the user mentally and emotionally.


What are the main differences between UI and UX?

In theory, UI is part of UX: interface is part of the user experience. In the professional market, however, there is a greater separation of skills and interests of these two specialties.

To explain the main differences between UI and UX, let’s think about the Double Diamond methodology, which divides creative projects into 4 specific stages: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

The Discover and Define stages are part of the first Diamond. In these stages, research and the definition of the project are carried out. The second Diamond, in turn, represents the Develop and Deliver phases.

A designer who works only with the first Diamond will focus on research and strategy. This professional is an UX expert. Within this field, there are still several sub-areas that can be reflected in specialized positions such as UX Researcher, UX Strategist or UX Writer.

UI designers are those who perform activities pertaining to the second Diamond. Working with digital products and interface, these professionals perform flowchart drawing, interaction design, prototyping and create interfaces, in addition to taking care of delivery and validation with users, as well as usability testing.


UI and UX are essential in product design

UI and UX are essential in product design


Designers focused on the second Diamond can also work with other types of physical products. In such cases, they help in the creation of the product itself, accessories and even its packaging.

Although a team may have distinct professionals working in these roles, it is important to understand that they do not work without contact. As Double Diamond itself implies, the research work should serve as the basis for the user interface which, in turn, needs to be validated through research.

Thus, these professionals work together in a team. It is quite common for a professional early in their career to be exposed to experiences in all areas of Design. In smaller teams, designers may be responsible for the entire process, but many end up specializing according to their interests and aptitude.

A professional who works with the entire Double Diamond is called a generalist designer. They perform both UX and UI activities. This professional can work on steps related to research, definition, strategy, prototyping and delivery. In the market, it can be called UX/UI designer or just UX designer.


What are the benefits of UI/UX and why invest in them now?

The main purpose of UI and UX is to deliver value to the user through the best possible experience. This is done directly or indirectly, through different benefits to a business:


Improved user experience

When a product is designed to meet users’ needs, it actually delivers value to them. This is only possible when there is a good level of understanding about what users need and how best to offer it to them.

To this end, research is carried out to understand user needs, business modeling and testing. Therefore, it is possible to think of a market strategy and product strategy that makes sense for the target audience.

An example of how to offer good user experience is Netflix. Until very recently, the concept of Home Entertainment was quite dependent on payed cable TV programming. The experience offered by Netflix has changed this standard format to something that no one knew they needed, turning streaming systems into the new reference for fun at home. Currently, this new model is already part of our daily lives.


User loyalty

Good usability of a product helps to gather the loyalty of users. This is because well-developed products add value to those who use them.

The user experience is defined by several elements. Peter Moville proposes a representation model of the user experience ecosystem called User Experience Honeycomb.

The model has 7 elements. According to them, a product should be:

  • Useful: you may have consumed useless products in the past. At first, they can excite, but the truth is that, when you realize they are essentially useless, you will only feel frustration;
  • Useable: the product must follow minimum usability rules so that the user reaches its goal satisfactorily;
  • Findable: how easy is it to find the product? The PS5, for example, was launched at the end of 2020 and there still is a waiting line for its purchase. What is the experience of those who have been in this queue for over a year? Are you still waiting or have you already migrated to another product?
  • Credible: what confidence does the product inspire? Some people associate trust with specific brands. Thus, they avoid or buy products according to their brand;
  • Desirable: your product should generate an emotional reaction of desire in potential users. Whether for aesthetic reasons, affective memory or other elements;
  • Accessible: create an experience that can be enjoyed by everyone, considering their differences. 15% of the world’s population have some kind of disability with varying degrees, it is essential to consider this when we design a product.


Improving image in the market

Who has never purchased a product because they saw an ad and then was disappointed after a short time of use? Poor user experience generates frustration and damages the image of the product in the market. When the user does not have a good experience with a product, the satisfaction rate will be low and this will generate detraction — that is, direct and indirect losses to the business.

On the other hand, products that promote good user experience fall into people’s good graces and become indispensable. The launch of Nubank (a Brazillian digital bank), for example, generated a change that ended up influencing banks with traditional models — and already established, with many customers — to adapt to the digital model.

They have started to offer a new range of services and experiences to remain competitive in the face of this change in the habits of their users.


Assertive development processes

Conducting good research on the viability of a product brings benefits once again, because with it, it is possible to get a better sense of what users need. This means that we can develop a more efficient solution. Even if some improvement needs to be made, it will be less than a product developed without this data.

Well-done studies and well-targeted interface reduce the cost of developing a product, as it results in increasingly assertive product iterations. Thus, the process requires fewer development cycles. The result is the reduction of expenses with the correction of the project, even with the use of agile methodologies, which carry out constant improvements in the products developed.


The discovery process with design

Product Discovery is a methodology used by Venturus to assist companies in the development of their products. It applies the Double Diamond method, using both UI and UX specialties and materializing all its benefits, helping teams design and validate the proposed product. That is, you can have a Product Discovery to help design a product, to validate it or even to understand what improvements it needs.

This process is essential for the success of products and services — it is imperative to check if there is a real need to be met and how it should be done. Many startups do not work out for exactly this reason: when the product is launched, there is no market interest in what is being offered.

Two other reasons are the lack of return on investments, which is a consequence of having a product that does not sell and the wrong the team makeup, resulting in the product being conceived wrongly. These reasons demonstrate that the lack of planning and study the initial project are crucial for this tragic outcome.

Product Discovery provides the advantage of actually validating the product that will be delivered. Thus, it is possible to check if there will be delivering value to users with that product, in addition to helping to identify points of improvement early in the research phase and in the definition of what really represents the validation of users’ desires.

To ensure the development of products with quality and able to delight its users, it is essential to understand the needs of the user. We hope that the explanations provided by Antônio Salgado have clarified the main doubts about UI and UX, about the benefits of their application for product development and how Product Discovery can help at this time.

Now that you know how important UI and UX are to the success of a product, visit our website and see how our solutions can help your business!

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