UI vs UX: What’s the difference?

Have you thought about the way you interact with a digital product? Do you prefer to scroll or swipe? What encourages you more to click on call-to-action buttons? Do you enjoy moving images or do they just make you dizzy? 

All these elements of interaction fall under the label of design, and more specifically user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). It’s not difficult to blur the lines between the two terms, particularly when they are often huddled together in various contexts. Here, we aim to rectify any confusion by looking at the differences between UI and UX, and what each entails in order to develop your career and transform a user’s interaction with a digital product.

The differences between UI and UX

UI is the aesthetic interaction between a user and a digital product. Everything is focused on appearance and what the user sees on the screen in terms of the graphical layout of a product. Any kind of visual element that requires designing falls into the responsibility of a UI designer, whose focus is on how the interface looks.
UX is how the user interacts with a digital product. It is the culmination of designing a meaningful journey for a user, which includes branding, design, usability and a functional experience. It determines the level of satisfaction and difficulty of interaction between a user and, for example, an application. UX designers are responsible for how the interface works.

UI and UX in collaboration to create the perfect user journey

First impressions are 94% design-related, which emphasizes the importance of UI and UX and their roles in achieving a successful user journey. UI and UX very often find ways to weave into each other’s worlds. UI designers concentrate on building an essential part of the user experience, while UX designers take user interface beyond the aesthetic to determine how a user can go on a journey, and gain a purposeful experience.

UI and UX designers will focus on various different elements, but still have similar methods and goals the user journey in mind:


Collaborate with developers


Collaborate with analysts
Data analysis



User journey
Problem solving

Regardless of the specifics of each role, a digital product’s interface has to be visually stimulating as well as achieve a good flow. Every image or button design must have a purpose, but should also evoke personality. When combined, these elements have the ability to create a smooth, memorable and even personalized user journey. And that’s pretty important considering 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.

Other roles within UI and UX

It’s not only designers that create the whole picture for the UI and UX journey. Here are some other roles that help to connect the dots for a successful user-product interaction.

The field of UI:

Graphic Designer: Concerned about all things visual, this role focuses heavily on visual elements such as iconography, typography and high-quality designs to reflect a brand’s DNA.

UI Developer: Also known as a Front-End Developer, this role is responsible for the functional implementation of a product/application’s interface.

Motion Designer: What happens to the interface after a user interacts with it? This is the responsibility of the motion designer. Whether it’s animations or transitions, this role makes the product come to life
The field of UX:

UX Researcher/Analyst: Responsible for gathering user insights, planning and executing qualitative/quantitative research and providing data-centric recommendations that meet business needs.

UX Writer: Do you have a way with words? This role enables you to develop and create user-interface content by leveraging valuable user data and research.

Learn how to design impactful user journeys

A successful user interface and experience can lead to many positive outcomes for a company. Whether it’s for acquisition, onboarding, retention, productivity or awareness, UI and UX are vital for any brand’s campaign. In research conducted by US Market Research company, Forrester, it showed that on average, every dollar invested in UX can bring $100 in return, so clearly there’s a great return on investment.4 And when judgments on a website’s credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics, the importance of UI becomes undeniable for attraction, engagement and retention of your product.

At Hyper Island, we like to learn by doing. We have designed an intensive three-day course that will transform how you design and implement user journeys, while also giving you an overview of how to evaluate user quality.
Are you thinking of changing to a career in UI or UX design, or are simply keen to improve your design knowledge and skills?

Our course User Experience Lab will provide you with the competences to prototype and test solutions, identify optimal user experiences and confidently engage and present your ideas to a client.