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What is UI and UX and how are they different from one another?

30th December 2020                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The culmination of AI technologies integrated for a company’s online presence and the overall satisfaction of these technologies are measured by metrics known as UX and UI. Although different, UX and UI interrelate with each other.  

To start, User Interface, commonly known as UI, is the series of screens, pages and visual elements, including buttons and icons, that enable a person to interact with a product or service. These forms may include AI-based technologies in an effort to bring a personalised and engaging service. This leads to the term, User Experience.  

User Experience– dubbed UX for short, can be defined as the overall experience you have when you are using or interacting with something. This is known to be a measure of success for your User Interface efforts. It is an important term to familiarise yourself with as User Experience undoubtedly receives more attention- when it is both bad and when it is good. It will leave a lasting impression on your client base as the ease of use will reflect the quality of your service in person. A pleasing user interface can be seamless that we do not think about it. We do what we need to do and move on with our day – however in times when it is not, we notice it. Anger fuels our mind and our fingers as we aimlessly click our mouse hoping for an action, and we inherently remember the negative experience for a longer time.  

Source: Usability Geek 

Above is a graphical representation presenting all areas that should be developed around the user to create an impressive user experience. User experience has always been an important concept for businesses to consider, however with the movement towards automated and software-based solutions, the empathy and emotional connection that a human counterpart has previously provided is no longer present. The best IT service providers will be the ones who actively ensure that their software solutions address the needs, desires, habits, expectations and thought processes of their end users. This would therefore require businesses to shift their business structure to provide better user experience.  

The ‘Usability Honeycomb’ 

Here I present another useful diagram to help explain the foundation for best UX professionals. This combination presents equally important touchpoints with the user including: 

  • How they would discover your company’s product 
  • The sequence of actions they take as they interact with the interface 
  • The thoughts and feelings that arise as they try to accomplish their task 
  • The impressions they take away from the interaction as a whole 

Why Should We Care about UI and UX? 

With an action plan on how to deliver great UX through a detailed UI strategy, a customer’s overall experience with your product or service could very well make the difference between whether they will buy or, more importantly, whether they will come back to buy again or look elsewhere.  

If your business relies on one source as their online presence- be simply a website without social media, or social media alone, then these sources will play an important role in attracting and maintaining customer engagement and repeat business. And for a lot of potential customers, it will only be a matter of seconds to decide whether to stay on your platform or click ‘Back’ to search for a competitor who has a better UI and UX strategy.  

To ultimately achieve the goal of ‘user delight’ and thus prove a successful UI/UX strategy, below are a few tips: 

  1. Anticipate the users’ needs and be one step ahead of them. It is unexpectedly pleasing when a product knows what the user is trying to do before they attempt to do it. 
  1. Be Smart; Prevent your platform from making errors. Make resolving problems easy and friction-free. 
  1. Find ways of turning negative experiences back into positive experiences. Things can and will go wrong, however it is important to leave the user feeling positive and hopeful about how the organisation is responding.  
  1. Be consistent across all your online platforms. Consistency will build trust, which further leads to loyalty. Delight cannot be achieved if that trust is broken. 

As human-centred thought processes evolve, the terms UI and UX have become a basic term in the corporate world. However, it is not uncommon for people to mix up the terms or use them interchangeably. It is important to understand the vital role each profession plays in the wider realm of customer-centric design.  

Vidhya Lakshmi Yegappan

Marketing at AI Australia

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