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User Interface and User Experience can be confusing at first, so let’s start way back at the beginning. When it comes to design, User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are two of the main ingredients to a successful application or product. Your goal is to have a result that is the right balance between both UI and UX. But, what exactly are they and how are they different?

A good user experience (UX) is when a new user can quickly figure out the basics and then reasonably quickly deduce the device’s intermediate capabilities or interface. A good UX usually comes from a well-planned user interface (UI) which is how a user interacts with a given device or interface.

UI is the component that people see and interact with within a software application. This is the beginning of a project, the framework, or the design. In the design process, this is part where it is decided what is needed and how things are laid out on the screen. It is visual and it is the inner workings of the project. When you use a software application or go to a website, UI is the component you physically see. UI refers to the compilation of approaches and building blocks that allow users to interact with a system. UI does not, however, attend to details such as how the user reacts to the system, uses the system, and reuses it.

UX meets design when you see how people interact with your UI designs, their ideas and opinions about the design, and how they perceive the design and its uses. Once the UI is set, you can see how people interact with your design for the UX. Bottom line, UX is the practice that people have with the UI. UX includes a much greater picture than UI does but it still relies on the smallest features to drive it. A useful UI can result in a bad UX and a great UX can be had from a terrible UI.

The UI/UX design process must be completed and user tested before anything is coded. The UI UX design process happens right after requirements are gathered in the SDLC lifecycle but before development begins. Failure to do this phase properly will lead to low quality software and unsuccessful user experiences. As with anything, a right balance is essential. You want the design to be visually and mechanically friendly to users. Still, you also want it to be an experience that is positively memorable enough for users to enjoy and reuse the product or application.

My advice to us is to try and develop standards that can be reused throughout all your applications. Try to get some ideas proven out early and put stakeholders in the loop on the process. Also, try to involve customers and potential customers as early as possible to ensure that you are on the right track before you get too far down the road. Finally, try not to get married to your designs and ideas as they may not be well received and ultimately may need to be changed.

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