Modern website expectations are drastically different from what they were in the 90s. Actually, less than 1% of the world’s population used the internet during the year of its inception. Fast forward a few decades and over 70% of the world is online, scrolling through websites that are now a dime a dozen. With so many users and opportunity for exposure, you should work to improve your website and ensure it stands out among competitors.
An excellent method of giving your online presence an edge is by investing in professional software architecture. Specifically, you should analyze your implementation of UI and UX design. If your website is lacking in its intuitiveness or functionality, you should consider custom software development and hire a UI or UX designer to make your virtual presence more competitive.
UX and UI: Defining 2 Players in Software Architecture
First things first, let’s talk about basic definitions. “UX” design is short for “user experience design,” while UI design is shorthand for “user interface design.” In the computer and business worlds, these design elements have a close-knit, professional relationship. Although they are (and should be) considered and applied in tandem, they are actually two distinctive aspects of a product or website’s development.
User Experience design refers to the interaction between the user and the product. It is a design term that applies for both physical and digital products and can be traced back to the 90s. Originally coined by Don Norman, cofounder of the Nielsen Norman Group, “user experience” references all components of a user’s “interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
For example, to get into your car, you will have to interact with the design of its door—this means its material, physical appearance, color, and more—which may have an influence on how you feel about the interaction. A poorly designed door will lead to a poor interaction and experience. In the digital realm, the same standards for UX apply to your digital products and web presences.
The 4 key questions to determine good or bad UX design are:
- Is it pleasant to use this product?
- Does it offer any value to me?
- Is it a functional product?
- Is it easy and intuitive?
Your key areas of focus, then, should be on general impressions, value, function, and usability. UX design focuses on the broader application of your software architecture. Proper UX groundwork will ensure you have a solid foundation for UI implementation. If you have any concern about the current state of your website’s or product’s UX, you should consult with or hire a UX designer to improve your design and offer a better experience to your users and customers.
User Interface design is the process of taking a human-first approach to a digital product’s aesthetics. It focuses on interactivity, feel, and look– UI design aims to create the easiest and most visually appealing product possible. The easiest way to distinguish UI from UX is by considering UI design as the finer details of your digital product or site. User interface design focuses on the smaller aspects of software architecture that UX lays the foundation for. Think of a house: UX creates the structural components (foundation, support beams, etc.) and UI provides the interior details (color scheme, furnishings, etc.). The two aspects of custom software development work together to create the most optimal user interaction.
The primary elements of UI design include:
1. User Input Controls
These controls are the items on a webpage that allow its users to input information. Common applications include buttons, text boxes or fields, drop down lists and checkboxes.
2. Informational Elements
These components are similar to user input controls, except they communicate information to the user, rather than the user inputting information. They are used as a means of conveying instructions and other important messages. Examples include message boxes, progress bars, and notifications.
A “container” on a website is similar to a container in the physical world. They’re a useful tool for grouping similar content into subsections that link them together. They may be expandable, have dividers, drop down actions, and more. A common example of a container on a webpage is the “accordion menu.” This type of menu includes a vertically oriented list of headers. Users may interact with each header with a tap or click to show or hide its content.
4. Navigational Elements
As the name suggests, these elements in a UI are implemented to assist users in navigating an interface. Think of search fields, tags, and icons.
Improve Your Software Architecture Using UI & UX
Maintaining a basic understanding of the differences between UI and UX is the first step towards improving your digital presence. Websites don’t require much effort to be launched, but the amount of consideration you spend on its details will help you gain traffic and retain users.
To have a successful interface, it’s critical to invest a minimum amount of custom software development into your software architecture. Whether you hire a UX designer and UI consultant or choose to go at it alone, remember that users respond to even the smallest detail on your interface that you might have otherwise overlooked.
Keep in mind the principles of UX and UI we’ve laid out above to get started improving your software. Taking the time to review your digital presence in conjunction with UI and UX design methodology will ultimately leave your users with a more intuitive and accessible experience.
If you find yourself needing an extra hand, the 245TECH team is full of industry professionals who can provide answers and personal consultations. Send us a message or reach us by phone at (865) 465-4040.