UX vs. UI Web Design – Which is more important?
When it comes to web design, there is nothing more satisfying than striking the perfect balance between data-driven user experience (UX) and visually stimulating user interface (UI). But what if UX and UI stepped into the ring, which they often do, who do you think would win? While we hope for 12 rounds and a perfect blend of the two, at the end of the day, which of these two will take the champion’s trophy?
Gone are the days when websites only needed to be visually gorgeous to make the cut. Today’s savvy users are demanding design that not only looks amazing but offers them a memorable experience. At the end of the day, if something is not functional, it doesn’t matter how pretty is.
So read on to find out how user experience can affect the growth or even survival of a website in today’s competitive online environment.
01: The difference between UX and UI
02: The UX value proposition
03: It’s not UX vs. UI at all
01: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UX AND UI
User interface design and user experience design always overlap, but are you clear about their differences? Simply, UX design refers to user experience design and UI design refers to the user interface design. They have a close symbiotic relationship in web design but serve different roles. UX is how things work, while UI is how things look. UX is a process, while UI is a deliverable.
Even though UX and UI need to co-exist, there is strong evidence that UX may take an extra point or two when it comes to designing a website that converts traffic into paying customers (as found by Design Advisor):
- Every $1 invested in UX results in a return between $2 and $100.
- 52% of online shoppers claim that quick page loading influences their loyalty to a site.
- UX has the potential to raise conversion rates by as much as 400%.
- Bad mobile optimisation annoys 48% of users.
Understanding the value of user experience design and giving it the attention it deserves when planning the UI of a website can help prevent issues in the future and save your nerves, time and money in the long run.
Video Source: The Glow Studio
02: THE UX VALUE PROPOSITION
For a moment, image your website without its various fonts, colours and graphics. All that is left should be the functional elements like call-to-action buttons, sliders and links – well that is user experience design in its most basic form. You see, the value of UX lies in its ability to make your UI designed website functional. User experience design guides the user on a journey through your website content. The easier the journey, the longer the user will stay on your website and the higher the chance he or she will take the desired action (i.e., add to cart, make contact, etc.).
To improve the user experience on your website, ask yourself:
- How should visitors feel when they land on a webpage?
- What do you want your users to know?
- What action do your users want them to take?
- Is the call-to-action consistent throughout the website?
- Is the menu easily accessible and visible?
Taking a moment to answer these questions will prevent UX from being overlooked when you are thinking through the UI of your website. Remember, it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed your website is if the users can’t figure out how to use any of its features.
“Design is more than a feeling; it is a CEO-level priority for growth and long-term performance.”
– McKinsey Design
03: IT’S NOT UX VS. UI AT ALL
If UX and UI ever stepped into the ring, the reality is the match would end in a draw because good web design can only happen when UX and UI work together as a team. In other words, UX and UI go firmly hand in hand, and while there are examples of great websites with one and not the other, imagine how much more successful they might have been when strong in both UX and UI.
The UI design is like the icing on the UX cake. Imagine you hire a UX designer to conduct user research and help you figure out exactly what features your website should have, and how the entire user journey should be mapped out. Your website offers something that your target audience needs and wants; however, when they visit it, they find that the text on each screen is barely legible. What’s more, the buttons are too close together and they keep hitting the wrong button by mistake! This is a classic case of bad UI destroying what would have been good UX.
On the flip side, have you ever come across a really beautiful website only to find that, beyond the mind-blowing animations and on-point colour scheme, it’s a real pain to use? Good user interface can never make up for bad user experience; it’s like picking up a beautifully decorated cake that tastes awful when you bite into it.
“Good design is like a refrigerator – when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.”
– Irene Au
THE BOTTOM LINE
Good web design demands a marriage of function and fashion. When you focus on functionality over aesthetics, you may wind up with a very fast, responsive, yet bland and uninspiring website. So make sure you strike a balance between UX and UI design with designing your website if you want to be the bee’s knees in the competitive landscape that makes up your industry.
So, when it comes to web design, user experience and user interface should complement each other and in today’s competitive market, getting both aspects right is an absolute must.
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