User Interface vs. User Experience - Why It Really Matters for Your Business — Rise Marketing

While many people are under the impression that user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design are the same things, these terms are, in fact, different.

Digital marketers should become proficient in both types of design to increase the strength and influence of their businesses. A better understanding of these disciplines can help you broaden your marketing mastery and provide your business with the sharp competitive edge it needs to succeed.

Whether you want to learn more about design to help empower your website or app or you are considering becoming a digital designer, this article is a good starting point for your journey. We’ll discuss UX and UI design, the key differences and the responsibilities of designers in both areas.

What Is User Experience (UX) Design?

UX refers to how a user relates to a product or service. The goal is to create an effective and pleasing experience throughout the user’s interaction with the item or product. Theoretically, UX applies to “real” and digital experiences; however, UX design generally describes a user’s experience in the digital realm.

What Does a UX Designer Do?

UX design involves creating a user-friendly experience throughout the prospect or customer’s journey. What do users want and need to achieve their goals? To answer that question, a designer begins by observing, interviewing and analyzing research and marketing data to understand how people use products and shop for them.

Based on the results of these analyses, the designer should create a flow that guides the user from point A to point B and beyond. Successful UX design involves:

  • Understanding the way the product works.
  • Learning what goes into a good customer experience.
  • Knowledge of the competition.
  • Development of relevant and compelling content.
  • Knowing what is typically associated with website or app development.

A UX designer should consider all that when creating a strategy that directs the user’s digital journey most efficiently. Prototypes and wireframes are then built and tested to help the designer refine their strategy. Iterative improvements should be made until a design is finalized — one that ensures an optimal user experience.

What Is User Interface (UI) Design?

UI design is what users see and interact with when they visit your website or app. The words, buttons, typography, colors, images and other elements that users engage with are all part of UI design. Basically, the way a digital product looks, how it makes the user feel and the way it visually leads the user through the product is UI design.

What Does a UI Designer Do?

A UI designer takes the reins upon completing the UX design process. Working with the prototype of the site or app, a UI designer creates the visual design that the visitor experiences upon arrival, as well as the elements that help the user navigate the product.

Creating the product’s personality through design can help drive user engagement. Doing the job correctly means that a UI designer understands how the product works and where it fits into the company’s brand family and the competitive environment.

The UI designer must be familiar with the company’s brand standards to ensure that the product’s design is consistent with the business’s overall look. They do not select the color scheme, font style and image type in a vacuum but rather by specified standards and in collaboration with the UX designers and business decision-makers.

UI design aims to help the company succeed by creating an aesthetically pleasing visual hierarchy that enables buyers to complete their journeys without roadblocks along the way.

UX Design vs. UI Design in a Nutshell

The easiest way to understand the differences between UX and UI design is this: UX design makes interfaces useful, while UI design makes them beautiful.


  • Refers to how a physical or digital product works (i.e., its user-friendliness)
  • Can apply to physical products, digital products and services, and interfaces
  • Helps users accomplish goals


  • Is employed for user interfaces (e.g., computers and smartphones, smartwatch faces, appliance dashboards, etc.)
  • Refers to how a website or app looks
  • Involves the final design of the visual elements to engage and guide users

UI and UX design are essential to an app or website’s development. While distinct, both are necessary to create a smooth and successful user journey. The best websites and apps are easy to use and look great. UX and UI design must work together to create a product that meets the consumer’s desire for an aesthetically pleasing yet efficient user experience.

The opinions expressed here by Guest Contributors are their own, not those of Rise Marketing.

Aaron Wittersheim
Guest Contributor

Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Straight North, an Internet marketing and web design company.

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