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October 21, 2023
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Understanding the Basics of UI and UX Design: Importance, Differences, and Fundamentals

The contribution of a good UI UX design of a product is undeniable. To achieve an optimized user experience let’s take a deeper look at UI and UX design.

Arzu Özkan-  Digital Marketing Manager
Zehra Yavuz
Digital Marketing Intern

The interaction of the end user with a product is the determinant of whether your product will be appreciated or abandoned. User satisfaction and brand loyalty cannot be achieved through only adequate technical assets but also you need to apply UI UX technologies. Before the incorporation of an efficient UI and UX design, let’s take a closer look at why UI UX is important, UX best practices, and UI design fundamentals

Table of Contents

Understanding UI/UX Design

UI and UX design are a wide field; however, it can be briefly defined as the process of designing the interface of a technological product and shaping the experience it will provide to users. The design of an interface is a direct determinant of level of user satisfaction. In case of an inefficient UI UX design the efforts on the underlying technology may not be conveyed to the end user.

Definition of UI and UX Design

UI and UX design are the process of increasing satisfaction and enhancing the interaction between the user and the product. Through the application of an efficient UI UX design, you can convey all the efforts and improvements on technical assets to the user.

Why UI & UX Design is Important

Think about an average consumer who is considering your product. Do they pay attention to the effort on the product or do they attention to how the product is useful and whether the visual features appeal or not?  The end user does not have the same knowledge about the product's underlying technology as you, so you must convey the improved technology to the UI and UX design so that the efforts on the product impact the buying process of the potential customer.

In human-computer interaction, the UI and UX design appeals to humans while the technical aspects appeal to computers. “Computer” refers to the technological end product including apps, websites, and services; thus, combining these two to build a successful user experience is a must.

The Impact of UI and UX Design on Human Perception and Interaction with Technology

No matter how good the product is if you do not take into account human perception and human-computer interaction (HCI). It is possible for human-related aspects to not be valued enough since the other processes may be distracting and challenging. But keep in mind that the end user is a human whose consuming behaviors are being formed by their feelings and mental processes. At this point, it is essential to exactly know what human-computer interaction (HCI) is and what are UI design fundamentals to improve the product's ability to engage with users.

The focus on HCI has grown rapidly and it has become an interdisciplinary area that requires the collaboration of multiple disciplines such as psychology, engineering, design, or even sociology.  

The field of HCI starts with accepting that humans have limited and constrained abilities and some key points can enhance the experience of a user with limited capacity. Understanding those limitations is essential for designers and UI design. In addition to these limitations, the user experience and in which ways a product can be enhanced may depend on the cultural background of the end user.  

Designing For Human Behavior

When incorporating HCI Dynamics into your UI/UX design processes, pursuing cognitive sciences and psychology as the primary principles is crucial. UI UX designers should be able to predict the way humans interact with the product and understand their habits. As stated before, the way the user interacts with the computer may be partially impacted by the cultural background which leads experts to conduct cross-cultural studies.  

In one of these cross-cultural studies titled "The influence of user interface design on consumer perceptions: A cross-cultural comparison" Fei-Fei Cheng, Chin-Shan Wu, and Bianca Leiner drove attention to the significance of understanding cultural differences across countries to develop effective UI UX design. As they point out, "the language, consumer behavior, and preferences are different for people with different cultural backgrounds and countries."

Price and colors are considered the main two stimuli impacting the customer’s buying decision process and interaction with the product.

A part of the study is based on the comparison between the influences of red, blue, and white. The participants showed a higher level of arousal when they interact with an interface with a red background, compared to the level of arousal toward a white background (control stimuli). On the other hand, a red background resulted in higher arousal than a blue background as well. When it comes to exhibiting preference, German people are more likely to prefer a blue background while Taiwanese people are more responsive to the red background.

The Relationship Between UI and UX Design

The Relationship Between UI and UX Design

Before jumping into the importance of user interface and UI UX design let's take a closer look at why UI UX design is important and the difference between them.  

UX design can be defined as the field of complete user experience including also the other elements such as information architecture, user research, and so on. Unlike UX, UI is a more specific field that just covers the issues of visual design and interface. Although UX is a more comprehensive field that covers UI so we can say that they complement each other.  

Differences Between UI and UX Design

  • UI just covers visuality such as the structure of the interface, how the interface is easy to understand, and to which extent it contributes to user experience.  
  • UX on the other hand, is about the whole user experience that is formed by its usability and functions. Thus, UX is beyond visual aspects but more than that.  
  • While UI is the first element that catches the end-user’s attention, UX contributes to the long-run experience. In other words, while UI shapes the first impression of the end-user, UX makes users loyal to the product by providing an efficient overall user experience.
  • While UI designers are concerned about the visuality of interfaces that makes the product easy to use and appealing, UX designers run their processes and shape their method based on customer feedback and their needs and emotions.

UI Design Fundamentals

Consistency:

Consistency is key to building an effective UI based on the dynamics of human perception. Consistency in this context refers to a harmonious and coherent structure of UI features that work in accordance with each other in a user-friendly way. “Consistency creates familiarity” as Mike Gilfillan, Technical Lead Developer at Edge of the Web, said.

UI Design Fundamentals consistency

A consistent and coherent UI design creates familiarity in the consumer's behavior and habits, which amplifies customer loyalty. An app, website, or any other product with a well-structured and harmonious UI and UX design is more likely to retain users and build brand loyalty as users interact with it.

Simpleness:

Setting the balance between functionality and simplicity paves the way for a successful user experience. To ensure clarity and simplicity in your UI design, it is important to determine priorities for your design structures. Adding more functionality and details to your UI design does not always create a better user experience. Instead, it's important to carefully consider what elements are necessary and prioritize them accordingly to create a clear and appealing UI design.

Undo Functionality:

In the case of a product where the user can work in a progressing and cumulative way, undo function becomes a game-changer feature. Being able to redo the action you’ve just made provides an easier and more secure way of working.

undo functionality for better ui and ux

Having an undo function not only makes a workflow safer and easier but also helps to accelerate progress. Users are more likely to take steps dynamically when they could undo their actions, leading to a more efficient and productive workflow.

User Empowerment:

One of the essential UI design fundamentals is allowing users to navigate and personalize the interface based on their preferences. This contributes to efficiency and productivity by enabling users to work in a way that suits their needs and preferences. User empowerment in UI design stands for giving users the authority to navigate and personalize their interactions with the interface. This can include features such as customizability, preference settings, and the ability to easily access and manage features. User empowerment in UI design aims to create a user-centric interface that gives users a sense of control and allows them to personalize their interactions with the product.

Helpful Feedback Loop:

When it comes to adapting and developing the interface based on HCI dynamics, consider the product and user as two ends of mutual communication. In this communication, feedback plays a crucial role in creating a helpful and user-friendly interface.  

helpful feedback

UX Design Fundamentals

When you are developing a product, developing a good UX design successfully should be one of your priorities. To create a good UX design it is essential to understand why UI UX is important and what is UI UX design. In addition to having a well understanding of UI and UX design, it is crucial to learn the dynamics of UI UX technologies and UX best principles.

User-Centricity:

Giving attention to user-centricity is one of these UX best principles. The term user-centricity refers to prioritizing the needs of end users and taking into consideration their mental processes. User research can help acquire insights into the user's thought process as a customer. This includes understanding their expectations, their thoughts on the product or service, and areas that could be improved. Through user research, designers can understand better the needs and wants of their current and potential customers and create a user centric good UX design that satisfies their expectations.

Context-driven Design:

Context-driven design is one of the fundamentals of good UX design. Instead of staying in your bubble, it suggests avoiding a biased perspective and considering the various contextual factors that have strong impacts on the user’s level of satisfaction. Understanding the buyer persona and the environment in which they will interact with and navigate the product is essential in designing a product that completely meets their needs. The process of a context-driven design requires successful user research. By gathering insights into the user's mental processes, expectations, and preferences, you can conceive a user-centric interface that streamlines their interaction with the product. In addition to user research, considering factors such as the environment, device usage, and other situational factors enhance the user experience.

Information Architecture:

Information architecture is the process of mapping the structure of design based on the functions of the product and overall goals. Information architecture is a prior step in UX design that involves organizing and structuring the features of a product. By mapping out the user flow and grouping related information, information architecture helps provide a clear and efficient user experience.

New Approaches in UI & UX Design

Design Thinking

A problem-solving methodology that emphasizes understanding the needs of users, generating ideas, and prototyping and testing solutions. It is a human-centered approach aiming to create solutions that meet user needs. Design thinking process is composed of incremental steps which help reaching the end goal through collaboration, iteration, and prototyping. Design thinking avoids a waterfall process that progress in a linear way but pursues an iterative and cycling progress.

Design Thinking

Let’s say you want to develop an organizational tool for individuals. Here are the six steps you will take according to design thinking principles.

  • Emphatize: Put yourself in the user’s shoes and try to think from their perspectives. Before taking this step, you should gather insights into your buyer persona and target auidience. What do they actually look for? What are their needs and how can you meet those needs through an efficient UI and UX design?
  • Define: After creating an outline of the user’s needs it’s time to define the vision and core features of your product based on the user persona.
  • Ideate: Ideate step requires a well cooperation and brainstorming within the team. In this step, you need to build upon each other's ideas for features and functions that solve the issues of the customer and meet their needs in the most efficient way.
  • Prototype: This is the step of taking some actions and conveying the ideas into a testable and tangible product. The aim is to form an experimental model to figure out if the ideas are implementable and suitable for the product and user.
  • Test: Since you formed a prototype, it is time to test its functionality and usability. Considering the feedbacks of the users and taking new actions accordingly is the key. Unlike a linear process you should be able to easily make inovations and alterations in response to user feedback and testing results.

Agile UX Design

Agile UX is a UX design approach that focuses on running software development and UX design processes together in a collaborative way for increased efficiency. Although agile methodology does not underemphasize the procedures and technologies, HCI and buyer persona are the main priorities. In addition to the significance of human dynamics, agile UX design adopts flexible and agile principles that can be easily transformed in accordance with user feedback and changing situations. Since Agile methodology adopts flexible and adaptive strategies it can be applied to many areas and types of businesses

Lean UX Design

Before jumping into the explanation of Lean UX Design let’s take a closer look at the word “lean” which comes from the concept of “lean startup”. It conveys the meaning of increasing efficiency, focusing on the end product, and taking action based on customer responses. On the other hand, Lean UX is a similar approach to agile UX design which aims to increase end-user satisfaction and channel all efforts to improve the user experience.  

Lean UX is a new approach that brings lean startup product management, agile engineering, and UX design processes together unlike the approaches that handle these three areas separately. In this way, the company will set achievable UX design goals and the processes will be run by product management and UX development processes.

Conclusion

The importance of user interface and UI UX design have gained significance recently. To better understand UI and UX design, having knowledge of human perception and HCI is key. Considering human dynamics, the development of a good UX design plays a major role in providing an efficient user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is UI & UX?

Although the answer to the question “What is UI & UX design” may not be explained in one sentence, UI UX design is the practice of product design that contributes to user experience and the level of overall satisfaction.  

Why is UX design important?

After having learned what is UI UX design, you may wonder why UX design is important. However, the technical aspects are critical, it is not possible to convey these technical aspects without applying Ux best practices and a good UX design. No matter how the technical assets are well-developed the end user will give their decisions based on the UI and UX design of the product.

Which design approach should I adopt?

Although we explained three separate approaches, applying these strategies together will bring the best outcome for various type of businesses. You should analyse the key points of your product design process in accordance with user needs to pursue the most suitable strategy.

👉🏻 If you're interested in design, maybe our The Top Graphic Design Tools and Resources article can help you to find the best design tool you need!

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