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UX and UI Design - are they not the same thing?

When people ask me what I do for a living, I answer them: "I'm an UX and UI Designer." They usually look at me and respond: "Oh, it sounds awesome! What is that?" And then I try my best to explain what is this “UX and UI Design” thing. I work in areas that everybody uses all the time, but no one notices!

So, what is this “UX and UI Design” thing?

First of all - and misconception #1 - they are two separate things. Although both areas complement each other, they are intrinsically different. UX stands for “User Experience” and UI stands for “User Interface”.

When you are using a product, you are experimenting it - User Experience. When you see the product´s colors, texts and shapes - you are seeing the User Interface of it.

On a basic level, UX (User Experience) is how you use a product, service or platform, how the features are designed and developed. UI (User Interface) is the visual aspect of it, where detail is the keyword.

And how do UX and UI Design work together?

Good question! Imagine that you need a backpack for your bicycle trips. You have specific preferences:

  • Medium size;
  • Adjustable shoulder straps;
  • Waterproof;
  • Light-weight;
  • Zipped exterior pocket;
  • Cool to use :)

This is when UX Design comes in! A designer draws a prototype based on your requests, in order to do a backpack that's easy and comfortable to use.


You test this prototype and notice that it has small issues to be resolved. The UX designer tries a new solution and tests it until the backpack fulfils its purposes.


But how about colors? Type of zippers? Materials? Patterns? In this phase, we are entering into the UI Design. Of course you want a practical backpack, but you also want to look great with it!


And there you go: a backpack fully designed for your needs. Let's ride!

As an UX and UI Designer, my job begins by creating the experience that users will have. To do so, I analyse pain points, research, develop personas, and make wireframes to be tested. Then comes UI Design part, when it has to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. Color schemes, typography, images, animations and interactions are choosen by user's needs, defined by personas. In the end, users must achieve their goals in an efficient and easy way... and be pleased with it!

  • UX Design is about how users accomplish the main tasks;
  • UI Design is about the overall look and feel. Making an interface that connects with users.

Miguel Pinto

Lookatitude CEO. Coder at heart. Aims to be the one who firstly opens the door for a great environment at the company, and who will ultimately drive people to share, learn and experiment.

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