UI vs UX: Understanding the Difference

You might be surprised to learn that it is not uncommon to hear the terms ‘U’ and ‘X’ bundled up together. Digital designers want to go cultural. And because they know that in this cultural age the civilised world prefers blending old and new words in order to sound pluralistic, the term ‘digital’ has become rather multifarious. So enter the ‘UI’ (that’s ‘you-eye’) and ‘UX’ (that’s ‘you-ex’), such that the uninitiated label them interchangeably. The truth is that knowing the difference between UI and UX is an important endeavour for anyone involved with creating or managing products that are based in the digital world. Moreover, it is important to understand the difference as well as the conceptual and experiential distinction between the two. Here in this article we will unpack the difference between UX and UI and illustrate how these two concepts work together to create a human-centred, user-friendly interactive experience.

Defining UI and UX

In short, UI, short for user interface, is the visual design of the product a user uses, including the buttons, icons, typeography and colour schemes. Meanwhile, UX, short for user experience, is about the users’ interaction and the processes they go through with the product, including their whole journey from the first point of interaction to the last action taken within the product. You can read more about this in-depth here: UI vs UX by Rysen.

The Importance of UI and UX in Digital Design

UI and UX are instrumental in making any digital product successful. A good UI ensures that a user can easily navigate your product and complete the desired action, and a good UX ensures that a user has a good experience and will want to come back to the product, and recommending it to others. On the other hand UI and UX are complementary, and they must work together to achieve a consistent, enriching user experience. For example, a beautiful UI is useless if the UX is convoluted or user unfriendly; alternatively, a perfect UX can be undermined by a poorly designed UI. So there is a need for a balance.

Mapping the User Journey

Fundamental tools of UX design include the user journey map. The user journey endeavours to visualise the user’s experience from first interaction with the product to final action. As the designer seeks to explain and understand the user’s experience and needs, an analysis of opportunities, pain points, ideal experiences, and frustrations can be mapped. With the user journey, the designer will eliminate design flaws and craft creative solutions to seamlessly lead the user through a process resulting in final desired action. Rysen’s guide to User Journey Mapping provides a useful explanation of this process.


In summary, UI is different from UX, although they have different functions in the same digital suite, both concepts are equally important for the success of a digital product or platform. Knowledge and appreciation of difference between UI and UX, and impact of UI and UX in product development can assist businesses in producing products that not only look good but also provide happy and enjoyable feeling to the customer. For more information regarding UI and UX please visit Rysen, a digital design agency.