Difference between UX and UI design: which one should you hire?

4 min read • Felipe Alvarez

Many people when thinking about UX/UI design wonder about the difference between UX and UI design, are these the same? Well, they are not. UX and UI design have different tasks and objectives. In this post, we will talk about each type of design, who should you hire, and the process each UX/UI designer goes through in their projects.

What does a UX Designer do?

UX designers are the ones that build the experience. The objective of UX designers is to fulfill the user's needs effectively, generating a positive experience for the user. This is not original from the internet era. If you go to a coffee shop where they treat you like a friend, ask how your day has been, and serve a great Cappuccino, you will probably come back. With websites, it's the same process. We all know what torture a confusing and glitchy website can be. If there is any other page that can give us the same, but with a better UX design, we will definitely choose them next time. A correct UX design is also a benefit for the brand because it helps create a better relationship between the consumer and the buyer, also, investing in a good UX design improves the return on investment. A UX Designer knows how to apply certain psychological elements to generate an engagement with the user.


What does a UI Designer do?

UI designers somehow polish the user's experience. They use design elements to reinforce the relationship between the users and the product.  UI design can even “reward” customers.

In other words, UI design polish the functionality UX design generates. A good UI is key to a product's success because it helps in the connection with consumers.

A UI designer is able to engage in an emotional aspect by micro-interactions with the users, these are events that have the one and only purpose of delighting the user. These designers also know how to exploit visual elements such as animations to help the engage.

Should you hire a UX or UI designer?

Now that we know the difference between UX and UI design, it's time to decide which type of designer should you hire.

If you want a great product you'll need not only UX but also UI design. You can hire either two designers (one from each type) or one that will be able to work on both designs. But be careful! If they present themselves as UX/UI designers, there is a possibility that they aren't very specialized in any of those. You should take a look at their portfolio and talk to previous customers. A good UX and UI design is an amazing advantage, but if it's not correctly done your product will suffer huge consequences.

If you want better on know how to hire a UX/UI designer you should check out this article.


UX/UI design process

We've already briefly talked about the work these types of designers do. But there are 6 basic steps any UX/UI designers go through in every project.

1- Evaluating the customer

Every customer has different needs. A designer must understand the expectations each of these have. The client needs to give the professional every piece of information she or he requires, a misstep in this first stage will absolutely ruin the entire process.

2- Evaluating the industry

Once the designer has all the required data about the customer, he or she will have to understand the industry. Firstly, the professional will talk to the client to gather some information about its competitors. Then, the designer must do some deep research to start planning the product. This step is fundamental so the designer knows what elements are positive and which are avoidable for achieving a good experience.

3- Sketching

The first two stages are basically research. With the information already gathered, the designer is ready to start with the sketching. The designer must put a lot of work into this first sketch. Once it's done, it must be presented to the customer who will give its feedback. The designer must carefully listen to the client's corrections and doubts. If this does not happen, the designer will keep on creating a product that will not fulfill the client's expectations.

4- Final design

This is the step where the designer will use all the information acquired. Every correction the client has made must become an improvement. When the designer thinks the final prototype is done, he or she must get it tested. Team members, clients, colleagues… anyone can help with this process. Gathering feedback from people that have tested the product is the best way to determine how good a UX/UI design is.

5- Launching

When the product has received enough improvements, and the designer has heard enough feedback, the final design will already be done. The testing phase isn't actually done. The designer must talk to the client to see the first impressions and, if possible, contact the first users the product has. This will give you their own 100% real user experience.

6- Evaluation

A good UX/UI design process doesn't end with the launching. The designer will be constantly keeping track of the product and will do periodic evaluations to avoid problems. The client can also contact the designer when something is off.

Final thoughts

Its been established that there is a difference between UX and UI design. Summing up, a UX designer is responsible for the creation of the user experience. On the other hand, the UI designer will polish and refine this experience created by the other designer. Not always there will be two separate designers, one might do both jobs, but be careful: you must review previous work and reach out to previous customers, just to make sure that the professional is all right. There is a basic UX/UI design process. This has 6 stages where the designer must go through research and testing phases to achieve a good final product. These steps are: evaluating the customer, evaluating the industry, sketching, final design, launching, and evaluation. After all, UX and UI design are different but equally important for the creation of a good product.

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