The difference between UX and UI that anyone can understand

Here’s the difference between UI and UX in the most simple way:

UI is the series of pages, buttons and visual elements that your user interacts with. 

UX is the overall experience that the user has when interacting with a company’s product, services and products. 

That is a quick and easy way to pinpoint the difference between UX and UI. 

If you’re still confused between the two, that’s ok. It’s pretty common to mix the two up, as they’re often used interchangeably – and incorrectly – even by industry professionals. 

So let’s clear them up and get a better understanding of both!

What actually is UI?

In the most layman way possible, UI (User Interface) is anything that a user interacts with when using a digital product or service. In terms of software, the UI designer connects the user to the ‘back end’ of the product.

UI designers now work in the VR realm, with augmented reality, and with sounds (like Siri and Alexa) and gesture controls.  

UI designers have an ever-evolving role. With a larger population using more and more digital products, the UI designer is under more pressure to create an interface that’s easy to understand, efficient and accessible for users with all types of abilities. 

It’s worth noting that UI also encompasses hardware. Screen, touchscreen, lights, sounds, so on. UI is very much the mating of the on-screen and off-screen elements. 

What is UX?

UX (User Experience) is the complete experience a user has with a company.

Does the user’s experience ebb and flow from the moment the user discovers the company, or is it challenging to find out what a company does and then actually use that product or service?

The UX designer has a job, not unlike a shepherd herding his sheep into a pen. 

Does moving to the left make all the sheep go right, or split them up?

Does adding more internal links to a blog article get users to click through more or complicate their experience?

The UX designer always thinks about the goals of their audience – what do we want our user to do, and how do we get them to do that?

So what’s the difference between UX and UI?

Are you still confused about the difference between UX and UI? 

Here’s another quick analogy:

Here’s a fantastic little picture that sums up the difference quite well:

To better describe the difference between UX and UI, let’s take a look at something we’re all familiar with. 


Even if you don’t use Amazon, you know that it’s the biggest e-commerce store on the planet. You can find just about anything. 

When you go to Amazon, you’re shown products that are on special, but also product that are related to your previous purchases. The search bar is at the top and in the centre of the page so that you and quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. 

Because of Amazon’s incredible search engine, even a vague keyword search will more than likely turn up the product that you’re looking for. 

This is good UX (a quick, simple search of a massive database that finds the product you want) combined with good UI (related products, latest specials, well-placed search bar). 

Now imagine for a moment, that the search bar was placed in the footer of the page. The products are still there, but they’re harder to search for. 

That’s bad UI. 

Now consider for a moment that Amazon functions the way it does now, but it has only 500 products and can only be shipped the US East Coast. 

That’s bad UX. 

In the first situation, a quality company struggles to delivery it’s products to its users, but in the second, a user’s experience with that brand is compromised.  

How UX and UI work together

‘UI is the bridge that gets us where we want to go, UX is the feeling when we arrive’, says Jason Ogle of the User Defenders podcast.

The argument of ‘UX vs UI’ is as old as time itself, and it’s important to know that both of them work in harmony. 

You can create a fantastic product, but if there’s no market fit, that’s a UX failing. Similarly, you can have a fantastic idea that you know people want, but your solution just doesn’t function, that’s a UI failing. 

Both need to work hand in hand for a product and company to be successful. 

When talking about product design, UX and UI must work together to create an all-encompassing solution for your user. With many industries being flooded with similar products, harmonious UX and UI is the only real way to make yourself stand out and be seen. 

The roles of UX and UI designers

Both UX and UI designers have a wide range of soft skills that often overlap. So while it’s near impossible to say that a UI designer does this but not this, some skills are unique to each role. 

Common UI designer tasks:

The UI designer’s roles are somewhat more ‘technical’ and hands-on that a UI developer. UI designers interact with raw code and different coding languages a lot more often than a UX designer. 

Common UX designer tasks:

The UX designer’s roles take skills from marketing, project management, business analysis. The UX designer’s core responsibility is to take business goals and connect them with an audience’s needs. 

Still confused? Don’t worry

The UX vs UI definition is tricky if you’re not in an industry or business that has both. Even to many UI and UX designers, the definition can be troublesome! If you’re still struggling to get your head around the two, don’t panic. The most important thing to remember is that there is a difference and both roles should be treated differently. 

At Move Closer, we’ve got some of the best UX and UI designers and developers in Eastern Europe. If you want to put them to work for your brand, get in contact with us and tell us the problem that you need to be solved.

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