UX vs UI: what is the difference between UI and UX design?

As we gradually experience a full-blown digital economy, UI and UX design are at the forefront, increasing the demand for its experts. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for designers to grow by 1.6 percent annually until 2032.

Despite this, the difference between UX and UI design is still a mystery for many people. This guide will extensively discuss and compare UX vs. UI design so that you can easily tell all the similarities and differences. Ready? Let's dive in!

What is UI design?

The UI in "UI design" stands for "user interface" — the part of a product or service we can see, feel, and interact with. In other words, the user interface is the contact point by which we experience a product. Contrary to many beliefs, UI design goes beyond designing graphical interfaces. In fact, it's a discipline that considers user experience (UX) design principles. Moreover, like UX design, UI design aims to simplify complex ideas into practical products that solve user problems, using design elements like fonts, colors, animation, etc.

Key processes in UI design

Another way of comprehending the differences between UX and UI design is by knowing the processes involved in them. That said, here are some of the common activities UI designers must carry out to give you a great product:

Understanding the user and the brand

Proper knowledge of the brand, clients, target users, and project scope is essential to the success of the UI design. This knowledge shapes the overall ideology of the project. Also, it helps the designers settle for the best color, font style, size, or interactive features that suit the brand or portray its image or philosophies.

Apart from sharing relevant details of your business and brands with the designers, you may have to hold calls or in-person discovery meetings so they can understand what you do better. Similarly, the designers must consciously try to understand the target users and any persona they drafted.

Conducting user research

One way to understand the user better is to conduct user research. This must be done before starting any modern-day design projects. You must ensure that the UI design team uses proven strategies to find relevant information on the potential market (users and competitors) to build a great product. Common strategies they could employ include online/offline surveys and one-on-one interviews with relevant stakeholders.

Analyzing data and content

Once the research is completed and data collected, the next step is for the team to analyze the gathered information properly. The outcome of the analysis will guide the UI designer in knowing the right design for the project. Most times, this may be slightly different from the concept you had in mind when you hired them. As such, they must inform you of their findings and work closely with you to make necessary iterations.


This is the actual design stage, which involves using popular design elements and tools like Figma, Sketch, Adobe tools, etc., to build interactive prototypes and high-fidelity designs that satisfy the core scope and needs of the project. Designing may seem like the main thing to do in UI design, but the above prelims are essential. In fact, the current shift in human-centered design implores abiding by the prelims mentioned above before the actual design if you must develop practical and acceptable products.


Presentation or visualization is all about communication. It's the only way the designers can keep you updated on the project or explain their ideas to you, the developers, or the UI testers. Expert designers understand that a presentation can save time and resources. Hence, they follow industry-standard principles to make it smooth and clear. These include mapping, wireframing, and verbal or visual communication or illustration using tools like Figma, Sketch, or InVision.

Conducting UI testing

After designing and presenting the SaaS product design, UI testing is where the designers can conclude what's practical or feasible. It also ensures that the result of the design after development is a high-fidelity prototype that meets your and potential end users' needs. Usually, UI testing involves visualization, collaboration, and iterations or corrections.

With that said, let's now see what UX design is and how it relates to or compares to UI design.

What is UX design?

The "UX" in UX design stands for user experience. It relates to what the users encounter or feel as they use a product or service. User experience design prioritizes users' overall interest or involvement in a product or service. An example of user experience will be an app's speed. Usually, you do not want to use a slow app as it's annoying and worrying.

Do you know that a one-second delay in the loading time of a website or app can result in a mass reduction in conversions? Now, imagine what a brand could lose when its entire app is slow. As such, improving the speed of such an app becomes the priority of UX design since it affects the interest and behavior of the app's users.

With such a mindset, you can agree that UX design needs to maintain a human-centered approach to building products and services. To make the process even more human, UX design considers the product content, arrangement, navigation process, general sentiments and brand behind the product, and functionalities or features that make this product accessible and usable.

Key processes in UX design

As with UI design, the UX design team must engage in essential activities for any project they undertake. Although both often go hand-in-hand, you could describe or differentiate between UX and UI design through these activities.

User research

User research is crucial to UX design. It's the key to establishing a strong UX foundation that allows the designers to create products or services you and the end users would appreciate. With user research, the design team can understand your users' pain points and behavior based on facts and data. Then, they will empathize and conceive insights and ideas for building the right product.


Every UX design expert knows that wireframing is a necessary communication skill and must be treated as such. As a presentation strategy, wireframing shows the basic sketch of the product or service and all the essential components or elements in their respective positions, sections, or screens when developing low or high-fidelity prototypes.


Prototyping in product design means developing a product with basic presentable or usable features that may need further iterations with more feedback from the client or users. Usually, prototyping comes after wireframing. By then, there had been a brainstorming session evaluating and concluding what's feasible and desirable and what's not. In fact, this is usually where UX and UI designers work together the most. Needless to say, the rules may differ for different design projects.

Usability testing

Like other UX activities, usability testing is another main step in UX design. This is because it ensures products meet you and your users' demands through feedback, surveys, or inspections. The procedure allows the designers to test the product with real users. Through their feedback, they can make improvements or adjustments to the prototype. This would, in turn, prevent wasting resources and time. Even after launching the product, you must ensure that the designers actively monitor the results as more users come on board.

Persona development

The concept of persona development helps UX designers predict their users' behavior and psychology and build products that satisfy their needs. In certain situations, persona development may be based entirely on history, perception, or random data from different sources like competitors. In other cases, it is backed with in-house data.

Understanding the difference between UX design and UI design

Now that you know what each concept entails, let's compare UI design vs UX design using parameters like focus, scope, goal, components, design, user interaction, etc.


UX design focuses on the user and abstract things about them that are relevant to the product design, such as users' feelings, problems, and attitudes. On the contrary, UI design often prioritizes the product's appearance more than the users' concerns and ensures that touchpoints are properly implemented.


UX design is broad and encompasses many processes and principles, including UI design, design thinking, user-centered design, data visualization, design specifications, etc. Meanwhile, UI design concerns the product's branding, design, usability, and features.


UX design aims to create acceptable and usable products that help users solve their daily problems or complete their daily tasks. Also, it positions your product better to make more money and minimize wastage.

Meanwhile, UI design aims to create visually appealing products with functional and interactive touchpoints. It doesn't care about how the product performs in the market or how users feel about the product or service — only that its features and elements are functional.


Generally, components of UX design are a mix of abstract and concrete features like strategy, scope, usability, desirability, structure, and the UI of the product or service. However, UI design components are concrete because they relate to the touchpoints of the product or service. They include input controls, navigation, containers, icons, breadcrumbs, buttons, dropdown menus, etc.


By design, we mean the order of things in UX design vs. UI design. Generally, UX design follows a pattern that includes strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface. Meanwhile, UI design goes from mapping to designing, presentation, and iteration.

In the context of UX design, "strategy" refers to laying the foundation of the design project, while "scope" refers to the project's main idea and reason. On the other hand, the "structure" goes on to determine how the content or key ideas will pan out. Finally, we see the "surface" in the final product.


UX and UI design don't have definite timelines or deadlines. This is because, to keep your product active and stable in the market, you must ensure there are constant iterations and improvements that meet the latest trends. And since the two overlap, hiring a design team with extensive knowledge in both can help make these trendy iterations possible.

User interaction

User interaction in UX design is limited as users do not see what happens behind the scenes; only the results are seen in the UI. On the contrary, UI design is open to users' feedback and criticisms because it's what you and the users can see and feel.

Feedback loop

Unlike the other parameters, a feedback loop is the same for UX and UI design. This includes a repeated pattern of tracking and evaluating feedback from clients and users. With a constant feedback system, the designers can improve your products and achieve accessibility and inclusiveness in UI/UX design.

Tabular comparison between UX and UI design

To make things clearer, this table highlights the core area that shows how UI and UX design differ or compare:

Difference between UI and UX with example

To understand the difference, let's look at an example of UX vs. UI design using an e-commerce app like Amazon. The UX of the app includes the app's speed, content arrangement and flow, storytelling, intuitiveness, and execution speed. On the other hand, the app's UI consists of the buttons, font colors and styles, and pictures or animation you see and use to place an order, checkout, sign up to the platform, etc.

Despite the apparent differences between UI and UX, you can't go for one without the other. It's safe to say that UX and UI overlap to give a defined result, as in the case of the Amazon app and every other web or mobile application.

Where UX and UI design overlap: how do they work together?

UX design dictates the product's algorithm during the development phase, while UI design considers the product's appearance and functionalities. It's more like a mastermind and executioner relationship. While a UX design finalizes the practical things or elements of the product, the UI design visualizes it graphically so that the developers can program or build it.

However, the shift to human-centered design has made both UI and UX design a cross-functional discipline that focuses on the user rather than just the product. And this design thinking process offers a fine blend between the two fields. As a result, we have overlapping product design concept examples like collaboration, user research, wireframing, prototyping, iteration, and usability testing, among others.

Improve your UI and UX design with Dworkz

The nutshell of this UX design vs. UI design article is that they must work together for great results to be possible. You need both for any successful design project. However, hiring different teams for them may be a hassle, especially if your project is big or complex and has a tight deadline.

As a company looking to hire UI or UX designers, you require a reliable partner with a team of dedicated experts who can handle both. With our decades of experience, we understand all the intricacies and differences between UX and UI development, so we can help you cut through the hiring noise and achieve more than you can imagine. Not convinced yet? You may check our case studies for proof of how we can handle your UI and UX design projects or contact us directly.


Why is understanding both UX and UI Important?

There's no choice between UX and UI design for faster and more convincing results. You need both. As a business owner or executive who needs a website or software, you need to know the differences between UI and UX so you can be on a level playing ground when interacting with your UI/UX designers.

What does a UI vs. UX designer do?

One of the main differences between the UI and UX debates is their scope of work. UI designers are responsible for creating interactive graphics outlooks of websites or applications. In contrast, UX designers are responsible for ensuring that the project's user experience is top-notch.

How much does it cost to hire a UI/UX designer?

The cost of hiring an expert UI/UX designer varies according to several factors, including their experience, proficiency, skill set, location, etc. To get seasoned UI/UX designers at a reasonable rate, contact Dworkz.

Read More


What does a UX designer actually do? An expert's guide

Read More

Data visualization – chart smart – vertical bars

Read More