What’s the difference between UI and UX design?

Ana Maria Hernandez
August 6, 2021

Understanding the Importance of UI and UX design

Creating a genuinely great website or app requires a team of professionals working towards the same goal and keeping in mind the difference between UI and UX design. There are many components to a website, and two that put the “cherry on top” are UI and UX design; without them, exceptional copy and imagery could go to waste.  

But before starting to understand the difference between UI and UX design, it’s essential to understand what they actually are.

What is UI design?

User Interface design refers to the look, feel, and style of the interface designers are creating. It's the graphic layout of the website or app. The elements considered in the User Interface are the buttons the users will be clicking, the text they'll read, images they'll see, and how they're displayed, animations, transition, and other elements that the user will have to interact with during their visit.  

UI designer's job is complex since it's their responsibility to make the website aesthetically pleasing, cohesive, attractive to the user, visually appealing, all while matching the client's purpose and needs.

What is UX design?

Now, UX stands for User Experience. UX has become one of the most, if not the most critical elements of any website. Visitors are now demanding an incredible user experience for them to continue on your website for more than a couple of seconds. In fact, according to WebsiteBuilder, 53% of website visitors will leave if it takes the site more than three seconds to load.

The User Experience is determined by how well the visitor navigates through the website. Is there a logical flow to the website, or does the user get confused and click out fast? UX design must allow the visitor to interact with the user interface seamlessly.    

Six Difference between UI and UX design

Even though they’re usually thought of as the same, there’s a big difference between UI and UX design. One is not more important than the other; they live in a symbiotic relationship, and they both benefit from each other.  

Here are some main differences between UI and UX design:

  1. UI design is all about the product interface, how it looks and its functions.

A good UI allows users to feel in control when they’re on your site. If they feel in control, they’re most likely to stay on your site longer and get the information they’re searching for. UI designers must use the correct interactive elements to allow easy access to information. If they’re not where they want to be, it should be easy for them to go back to the beginning and continue navigating through your website.  

Pro tip: Use visual cues! They will let the user know exactly where they are, where they were, and where they'll go next.  

For example, clear page titles, highlighted navigation options, arrows, or specific images that include people looking towards the direction of an element you want your users to click on.    

  1. UX design is all about how the user will feel while visiting the website or app.

Here’s where the UX designers think like the users that are visiting their site. Is it easy to navigate? Am I getting the information I need quickly? If information is accessible, the user experience improves, and the visitor is more likely to stay on your site.

  1. UX designers must think about the user journey.

A UX designer must do some research on the user journey to understand the steps a visitor must take to obtain the information they’re looking for and how easily they get there. Knowing exactly how the regular visitor navigates through the website will allow UX designers to build a better site that’s easy to navigate.  

One element that the UX designers must consider here is the features the user might need to comprehend and digest the content better.

Hand drawing on white paper
  1. The UI designer focuses on the details that make the journey seamless.

Once the UX designer has laid out the skeleton, the UI designer must focus on the specific elements to make the journey seamless. They must consider the buttons, scrollbars, widgets, menus, animations, and visual cues to help users understand what they can do on the site and what will happen next.  

  1. UI designers must research the specific design elements to improve the experience.

Design research is essential to create the best interface design possible, considering the requirements of clients and the needs of your users. Searching for best practices, the best colors to use, understanding visual hierarchy, design cohesiveness, and general functionality tips will enhance the UI process and help them create even better interfaces.  

Even specifics like typography can make or break an interface design. Choosing the right typography for your website is essential since it projects your brand’s personality and increases readability.  

  1. UX designers deliver the wireframes.

UX designers are responsible for delivering the wireframes, which are blueprints that show exactly what elements go where. It allows the UI designer to understand the layout and the information architecture, spacing, and the intended functionalities of the website. They can be delivered in low or high fidelity, the first meaning no styling, just the basics, and the second referring to a fully styled and detailed format.  


Having a clear understanding of the difference between UI and UX will allow your processes to flow better since you’ll be able to know exactly who should take care of what aspects of the web design. UX and UI designers must work hand-in-hand to create unique websites that are attractive, appealing, scannable, and easy to navigate. With these objectives in mind, each designer should apply their knowledge and build incredible products that consider all the design and interactive elements, as well as the importance of the user experience.  


At Lean Marketing, we have partnered with many industries to create engaging and exciting websites. Our team of designers is skilled, creative, and eager to take your website to the next level. Contact our team and broaden your reach today!


Ana Maria is a mid-level web designer at Lean Marketing with experience in different industries. Ana has worked with multiple brands doing social media campaigns, web design, branding, and ideation for campaigns. Also, she has a master degree in digital marketing, and courses on creativity, UX design, and full-stack development, which give her a background in all the digital and marketing fields.

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