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UX + UI: One in the Same?

Hanna Glenn

By Hannah Glenn

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are two commonly confused (and typically overlapped) areas within website development. Both are essential to creating an easy-to-use and effective website.

In this introduction to UX and UI design, we’ll dive into what they are, what kind of people make the best UX and UI designers, and how effective UX and UI design can help your business increase conversions through customer retention, loyalty, and satisfaction.

What is User Interface?

UI is about creating an overall pleasant and straightforward experience on a website.

Some pieces that a UI designer may work on are creating forms to fill out, interface elements, and the process of navigating through websites. UI design focuses on making sure each step on your website “makes sense” and is easy to navigate.

For example, if you were to go to a landing page after clicking on an Instagram advertisement for tasty salsa, you wouldn’t want to arrive on a page that includes tortilla chips, right? It’s not what you intended to see by clicking the advertisement. Instead, you should see photos, information, and details about the salsa and an opportunity to purchase.

Efficient UI design prevents an ineffective or confusing landing page and reduces the product purchase steps.

What is User Experience?

User experience can include messaging, color palettes, graphics, and the underlying message sent to the user.  

You could even think of UX designers as part-time Art Director, as they are responsible for the visual elements that users see when they scroll through your website. UX designers implement these designs and functions through “user testing” — pretending to be a customer using the website — to ensure that your site targets the right audience and fits your brand messaging.

So, what’s the difference?

UX Designers work alongside business analysts and marketing teams to ensure that the site reaches the correct audience, represents the brand effectively, and creates a positive “user experience.”

UI Designers focus on functionality and user-friendliness.  They work alongside developers to ensure that the website is easy to use and can efficiently get a user from point A to point B.

Not all companies will have separate teams for UX and UI — sometimes, they will be the same person or the same people!

What Type of Person Works in UX/UI?

No matter how the team is set up, all UX & UI designers are responsible for creating a website with the user in mind. It’s in the name!

One of Ideas Collide’s Lead Designers, Ryan Lowry, says that “high emotional intelligence, a sense of empathy, and a lack of ego” are common traits he sees in UX & UI designers. These necessary traits can be categorized under the broader umbrella of people skills because this is a job that requires working and communicating well with others.

UX and UI designers work closely within and outside of their respective teams to make sure all site functions align with client company goals – and this can require a lot of back and forth.

“Being able to collaborate and work well on a team is a MUST.”
– Ryan Lowry, Lead Designer

After all, it would be challenging to make a website when you don’t know your audience or your website’s brand.

What are the most common needs of UX/UI designers?

With the vast Internet expanse, businesses need to represent their brand effectively through their website.

A simple statistic from Adobe, presented by The Realtime Report, shows that 38% of people will leave a website if it is confusing or visually unattractive, so having an innovative website that catches and keeps attention is paramount.

Every business is different, so everyone will have different needs for their website — and that’s normal! For example, a website for a humane society and an organic local dairy farm is likely not to have a lot in common.

Most businesses will be looking for these features on their website, interpreted in a way that showcases their business:

  • Streamlined Experience.
  • Built to Scale.
  • Can Deliver Results Fast.

These popular requests aim to create a unique website that leaves an impact, the ability to add on features later down the road and convert users into customers.

All businesses have unique needs based on their customer base, but the beauty of UX/UI design is their ability to problem solve and interpret your needs to create a custom website for your business.

While UX and UI designers have different roles in creating a website, their jobs will inevitably overlap. You can expect that most people within these roles will be personable and able to translate your business needs into an effective website.

No matter the need — whether to simplify, expand, or increase conversions — UX/UI designers are there to answer the call.

If you’re a business looking to improve your website performance and experience, we’re ready to answer the call.


At Ideas Collide, we have helped numerous clients take their website and user experience from a place that holds information to a place of engagement, connection, and opportunity. Let’s work together to take your website to this new and exciting level.