What is UI and UX?

Aaron and Cris discuss the definitions of and differences between UI/UX. They also discuss why starting your project from a user’s perspective is essential.

Full Transcript Below:

Cris:

Or why is it important that we keep UI and UX in mind when we’re developing a custom application?

Aaron:

And they’re always kind of mentioned in the same breath, UI, UX.

Aaron:

So yeah, there’s some confusion generally around these two terms, but-

Cris:

What are differences? How do those break down?

Aaron:

Right.

Cris:

Because even you saying that I’m like, “so it’s the same thing.” Right?

Aaron:

Right.

Cris:

How’s it going, Aaron?

Aaron:

It’s going good. How are you?

Cris:

I’m doing well, doing well. I’m excited to have you back in the studio here talking about UI UX.

Aaron:

Yes.

Cris:

So we get to basically break down here for everyone watching, what does UI stand for? And what does UX stand for?

Aaron:

Right. So-

Cris:

Because some people might think they’re the same thing.

Aaron:

Yeah. And they’re always kind of mentioned in the same breath, UI, UX.

Cris:

You’re right.

Aaron:

Yeah.

Cris:

You always hear so UI kind of goes together. Yeah.

Aaron:

But yeah. UI is stands for user interface whereas UX is user experience and…

Cris:

What are differences? How do those break down?

Aaron:

Right.

Cris:

Because even you saying that I’m like, “so it’s the same thing.” Right?

Aaron:

Right. So yeah, there is some confusion generally around these two terms, but how it works is user interface, UI, is a component of user experience.

Cris:

Okay.

Aaron:

And user experience is the more umbrella term for the whole journey through your app and through your brand of that the user takes from the moment they see the first ad to where they buy your product or service. Whereas UI is a more focused, what is the visual elements on the page look like that they interact with?

Cris:

Hmm.

Aaron:

So, yeah.

Cris:

Interesting. So maybe even I always like to take everything back to automobile design. So maybe the user experience is the way it makes you feel when you’re behind the wheel of the car, whereas the actual, the UI, the user interface of it is like, what does the steering wheel actually look like?

Aaron:

Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

Cris:

Cool. That’s interesting.

Aaron:

That’s a perfect analogy.

Cris:

So why is it important when we’re developing here at Bixly, when we’re developing something for a customer, why is it important that we keep UI and UX in mind when we’re developing a custom application for them?

Aaron:

Yeah. Yeah. Great question. So, I think it comes down to putting the user focus, putting the focus on the user rather, and that it really helps build a foundation for any future decisions, design decisions to development decisions by having that foundation of who are your users? What are their goals? What are their motivations? And just having everyone on the same page about who the user is. I think that’s the main importance of going down this user centric design route.

Cris:

Otherwise, you can pop out on the other side of it, designing something. Again, back to the cars, you go design the monster truck with four foot lifted tires for the person that’s five foot one.

Aaron:

Yeah, exactly.

Cris:

There’s literally nothing wrong with being five foot one, but you probably don’t want to crawl into that truck every day.

Aaron:

Yeah.

Cris:

You might want something that’s, doesn’t have as big of tires on it.

Aaron:

Yeah. Exactly.

Cris:

And so when we are building through these applications kind of designing them out, scoping them, we want to know who’s going to interact with it. So that way the interface of it makes sense for their needs.

Aaron:

Right. Yeah.

Cris:

I like that. How do we discover these kind of problems that start popping up? Because as best as we can plan, we’re going to, but things are going to start to kind of pop up along the way with the user experience and kind of the interaction. How do we kind of go about documenting these things, seeing them? How do they actually come up? And then how do we fix them?

Aaron:

Right. So I think some red flags to look out for that kind of indicate that you might have a-

Cris:

Might be off the beaten path of your UI and UX-

Aaron:

Is like, if you’re having to explain over and over again to… If you introduce a new designer to the team and there’s been nothing established about who the user is or their goals but you kind of have the idea in the back of your head, that you have to onboard this new person, so to speak as to like all the subconscious ideas about what the user wants. And so if you’re having to repeat things a lot and like, “oh no, that doesn’t look quite right.” Or “I don’t think the user would really like that.” But that happens because you didn’t do that at the beginning, and everyone’s not on the same page about-

Cris:

Interesting.

Aaron:

Yeah. About who the users are.

Cris:

Who your user is, who the audience. But also, I mean, is there some of kind of common themes too, when it comes to the way an application should look and feel? I mean, you’re being unique for your customer base, but also we’ve handled enough apps in our life, right, that we kind of know how an app should feel.

Aaron:

Right.

Cris:

And should operate. Is that the case too? Where you think, “oh, maybe we went down the wrong road because if I can’t just pass this to someone and they can’t kind of just know how to use it-“

Aaron:

Yeah.

Cris:

“I might have gotten too specific-“

Aaron:

Yeah.

Cris:

“With a certain vein of experience.” Is that kind of true?

Aaron:

Yeah. I think that can be true. If it’s not intuitive, then that definitely means your user didn’t come to the table with these kind of preconceived notions that you expected them to have. So that can come back to not knowing your user. Maybe your target audience hasn’t had much experience with this type of app, so they don’t know those kind of cues, but so, yeah, I think it always comes back to knowing your user and what’s their previous experience as well.

Cris:

Gotcha. And then that married with the idea of when you build an application, whether that’s for a website or for a mobile app, there’s certain rules that we kind of need to follow and we should use those as parameters for being specific to our users. But also we’re not just going to get way off the trail.

Aaron:

Right. Yeah.

Cris:

So if you’re in particular working with a designer or a marketing team or some company that’s developing out your UI and your UX, and they just start going way off the reservation with, “have you thought about having two different print screen buttons on this page?” You’re like-

Aaron:

Yeah.

Cris:

“Mmm, that’s a problem.”

Aaron:

Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Cris:

So what are some final thoughts? If you’re coming to develop an application with Bixly or if you’re just shopping around to try and find the right company, which by the way is us, what are you as a customer of trying to ask? And what’s important when you’re going down this journey of UI and UX?

Aaron:

I think, yeah, as a customer, it’s not always apparent that doing this UX route is important.

Cris:

Mm.

Aaron:

Sometimes they don’t see a lot of value in it. But I would say to those people, “when do you want to find out that you’re off base with your users?” Do you want to find out after you’ve spent, the 100,000? 50,000? Or do you want to find out at the very beginning when you’re planning this all out and you can change quickly and iterate? So yeah. I’d say to those people that the user centric approach pays dividends down the road.

Cris:

Yeah. It’s always harder to kind of steer the ship later when you’re deep out to sea and recourse your destination when, unless you’re right by the shoreline, you’re like, “oh, we want to go this way.”

Aaron:

Right. Exactly.

Cris:

Yeah. That makes sense. Cool. Well, I appreciate this. I hope some people kind of get an understanding of how, again, the user experience is the way that the people kind of feel and interact and, again, experience their applications. And that UI or that user interface is the way that they’re going to specifically work with a key area. And hopefully that clears up some of those pitfalls, lets people ask educated questions, and ultimately allow us to tutor them and kind of walk them through their own UI, UX journeys. So. Cool. Thanks Aaron. I appreciate it.

Aaron:

Yeah. Thanks a lot.

Alexandra:

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday with Aaron and Cris, as they were talking about UI, UX, the differences between the two, how they inter-relate and why it’s so important for your project. If you have any questions at all, go ahead and leave them in the comment section down below. And don’t forget to check out the description box down below. We have a couple of really helpful links down there for you guys, including a link to our free custom software guide that will give you a lot of tips and tricks about how to plan out your own app or website idea. And you can also check us out at bixly.com. And right at the top of the website is a big button that says “get started on my roadmap.” And that will actually get you a free 60 minute conversation with Cris about your app idea. And he’ll give you his advice, his feedback, and his expertise in that time. So we hope you’ll check that out. And until next time, this has been an episode of Bixly Tech Tuesday.