The new frontier of marketing is here - and it involves anticipating your user’s needs with UI and UX design.
UI and UX are the hottest new buzzwords in the marketing world. While the terms may seem like they’re interchangeable, these two approaches to product design are actually very different. Here’s why...
User Interface (UI) vs. User Experience (UX)
User interface design (UI) has a broader application but typically refers to any type of interface that a user may interact with when utilizing a product or service. User interface design refers to digital products only and has a focus on mostly visual and aesthetic touch-points. Those who optimize their UI design have considered the look and feel of the product or website, the presentation from a human-centred perspective, and its resultant interactivity at the end-user stage. Some examples of user interfaces include the buttons on your kitchen appliance, the touchscreen on your smart thermostat, or any website or app that you use daily. The ultimate goal with UI design is to thrill your end-user and delight them aesthetically to transform them into loyal fans of the product.
Think about some of the products you use and their design – have you ever purchased a product solely because you preferred its interface design to a competitor’s?
User experience design (UX) is a term that was coined in the 1990s and refers to all aspects of how the end-user interacts with a company’s services or products. The user experience design method can be applied to both physical and digital products and focuses on a smooth customer experience end-to-end. UX design implements solutions for challenges that users may encounter along their entire journey with a product. These solutions are prioritized over the aesthetic look of a product. One example of great user experience design would be the Netflix “Play Something” feature that takes the work out of the user’s hands in terms of finding a show or movie to watch. Another example is the built-in feedback loops in your apps or shopping experiences (ex. How was your experience today?). While we’ve all experienced these types of survey processes, most will agree that some feedback loops are noticeably better than others. The ultimate goal of UX design is to have your customer so excited about the ease and efficiency of your product or service that they keep coming back (time and time again). Oh - and if the user doesn’t notice how easy the process was, that’s an added bonus.
Think about some of the products that you use and the experience end-to-end. Have you ever purchased a product solely because you preferred its function over another?
Let’s recap. Designed aesthetics versus designed functionality. At the end of the day, UI boils down to aesthetic design. How does a product look and feel in the hands of the user? User interface design implements colour palettes, animations, imagery, typography, buttons or other structural aesthetic details. Alternatively, UX boils down to functionality design. How does a product or service work for the user from the first interaction to the final touchpoint? User experience design focuses on every piece of the user’s journey with the product or service and strives to make the end-to-end interaction seamless and efficient.
The Process of UI and UX Design The process of UI or UX design may be extremely complex depending on the project or goal. If the scope of the task is large or unique, an outsourced contractor or marketing company with specialized UI design professionals may be the best way to go. However, if you’re looking to try a smaller UI or UX design project on your own, there are some common best practices that you might consider along your process. Here are some common UI Design practices:
● A simplistic interface that is clear in language and element design
● Strategic use of colour, light, and contrast to direct attention to important elements
● Typography that is clear, legible, and makes sense for the overall design
● Consider defaults to make the interface easier to use
● Improve built-in feedback loops for your user by incorporating visual cues or simple messaging
Here are some common UX Design practices:
● Just like UI design, keep your user experience simple and consistent
● Strive for functionality over beauty - the product has to be functional at its core
● Don’t work in isolation and understand that while you may know your audience... you are NOT the audience
● Test, test, and more tests! Build-in feedback loops and touchpoints to learn more about your user and their goals, challenges, and needs
● If you’re updating a current digital product, start with data (ex. where are your users currently falling off on your sales funnel and why?)
The Benefits of UX and UI Design Ah, let us count the many ways that great UI and UX design benefits a product or service. Of course, there’s the obvious benefit of increased conversions, sales, and improved user uptake. If your product is easier to use or more aesthetically pleasing - everyone wins in that equation.
In addition to sales, making your product more accessible and readily available to receive user feedback ultimately benefits the product creator and the end-user. For example, the original design for your app didn’t account for persons with visual impairment. Due to a built-in feedback loop as a result of an improved UX design, you realize there is an entire market segment that you’re missing out on. You and a UX UI Designer Team are able to make some simple tweaks to the interface and to the overall functionality for those who use screen-reading technology... and bingo! Your app ultimately becomes more functional, you see an uptick in sales, and your community becomes more inclusive for all.
Putting UI and UX together for a better website While UX and UI design can be applied to a multitude of products, let’s consider the ways that it can impact a website.
UI design can transform your website to be more visually appealing, accessible, and simpler to navigate. A professional UI design team can uplevel your current website in terms of typography, colour, contrast, and texture. A beautiful and easy-to-use website makes for a happy end-user! UX design can transform your website end-to-end. A professional UX design team can upgrade your user experience to be functional, efficient, and accessible. If you’re not sure how to incorporate an effective feedback loop into your website - a UX designer can help you with that too. A website with fewer pain points for your consumer means more long-term fans of your brand!
While UI and UX may be DIY-able, this realm is similar to coding. To really implement UI or UX design properly, it takes years of professional knowledge, experience, and a deep understanding of the back-end of web design. There’s no doubt that professional ability will matter in this new frontier of digital marketing!
Check on this list of best websites to see some amazing UX and UI Designs!