14 Things They Did Not Tell You About UX And UI

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Remember the reviews and the feedback that followed the launch of Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge? The phones have a very good finish and a glassy back. Too good, users said. They were slippery. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge users soon had cracked front and back too. The phones were slipping off the fingers. Didn’t the UX (user experience) team find the flaw? Users wondered.

Remember #bendgate ? Everyone and their grandma had something to say about Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus that had bending issues. Users complained that the phones were bending after putting into back pockets. Competitors took potshots too.

That was again a UX issue. There had been reports that in past iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s had similar issues too but the Apple’s UX team ignored the complaints. Well, they shouldn’t have. The matter snowballed with their iPhone 6 Plus release.

Scott Adam’s Cartoon strip ‘Dilbert’ has been reflecting office culture satirically for more than two and a half decades now. This one where Alice, Dilbert’s co-worker searches for a way to quit Skype hits the nail on the head.

Skype

Skype has no ‘X’ button to click on to shut it down. Initially users complained that there was no easy way to shut Skype. You needed to go into menu and then log out. Users felt inconvenienced. This was a UI (User Interface) issue. I’m sure there must have been debates over this between Skype UI development and UX designing teams. This issue relates to the technicalities of the way Skype actually functions. A good amount of work goes into setting up Skype, contacts list and hybrid peer-to-peer and client-server network. You can read the thread ‘Why is it so hard to close Skype?’ here. Now everyone has learnt to live with the way Skype functions. There are several other applications like Skype now which have similar ways of logging out so it doesn’t bother us much.

A Research by Forrester Research  found that focus on customer’s experience increases the customer’s  willingness to buy another product from the same company by 14.4 %, the number of consumers who then are reluctant to switch to competitors increases by 15.8% and the customers are 16.6% more likely to recommend the product to others.

UI is the brakes, the wheel, the interiors, the gears and the body of the car, UX is the feeling, the way your hair feels or the rush and comfort you feel when driving your car. UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) may thus feel very similar but can be very different things. A good UI is always a part of a good UX.  Let’s find out more about them.

UX (User Experience)

#1 UX designers and developers provide information architecture. They organize and structure the content on the website or an app in such a way that the user can navigate through the intended paths in the architecture intuitively without hiccups.

#2  Responsibilities of a UX designer includes finalising the structure of the product, content strategy development, Customer analysis, Competition analysis, Wire framing, Prototyping, developing and testing scenarios, development planning, coordinating with UI designers and developers, tracking goals and more.

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#3 UX makes the users trust the product. Users need to feel secure that they are being led into secure and comfortable path where no unpleasant surprises await them. The buttons and labels should be at the places where most of the people normally expect them to be. Proper images should be used to give right visual cue. UX ensures that the right and consistent tone is followed which helps win the user’s confidence. There has to be a narrative that unfolds through the interface.

#4 UX designers and developers are involved in every phase of the development of the product. From an idea to the finished product – the process is long and it is always possible that the user experience gets buried under technicalities, egos, other demands; UX designers and developers keep their flag flying high all the way and win the case for users. It is UX developer’s job to understand the users thoroughly.

#5  User experience is now a key business differentiator amongst competitors and organizations have realized that.  “If an error is possible, someone will make it,” said Donald Norman, the author of “The Design Of Everyday Things”. A good UX design ensures there is minimal possibility of error, if not zero.

#6 If you have a good UX designer don’t tell him what to make. Tell him what goals you want to achieve with your product and you would be pleasantly surprised by the well researched, thoughtful and creative responses he will come up with. Good UX helps you achieve goals.

UI (User Interface)

#7 Responsibilities of a UI designer are mostly related with how the product looks and feels, the responsiveness and the interactivity. They are responsible for design research, branding and graphic development, layout, prototyping, interactivity, Coordination with developers, coders and more.

#8 UI helps the user through a product’s interface as intended by the UX with the help of intuitive and interactive layout across all screens and platforms. A UI designer is responsible for creating defaults. He fine tunes primary and secondary navigation.

#9 UI Designers need to use their researching and designing skills to understand what kind of product, concept or a design people would prefer to use. They need to have a good understanding of human behaviour and psyche and their sense of comfort. This understanding then helps them make right decisions. They need to place the elements in their right places.  UI designers are mostly from creative background with good sense of size, colors, space, etc., but they really aren’t much into coding or building things. They are primarily responsible for the look and feel of the product. They ensure the design adapts to all the screens and more.

#10 UI Developers combine their technical skills and creative sensibilities. They code and build things and make things work and can also tell you how many buttons a menu normally should have before it gets too long and inconveniences people. They can produce visual designs in photoshop and turn them into codes so that they work on a browser or in an app. They use visual layout tools which helps them create prototypes, mock-ups, user-interface roadmaps and wireframes.

#11 A UI should not be too complex. Non-standard use of GUI interface should be avoided. UI should be learnable so that users adapt to it and get familiarised with it as soon as possible. Users shouldn’t be made to spend their brainpower on figuring out things that should come to them naturally. Designers  should enable them to reach their goals with minimum fuss. There should be consistency in style, UI elements, language and content.

#12  If there is a ‘trick’ to it, the UI is broken. A good product can be operated and used by all. If it works only with some trick, you need to work on the UI.

#13 In Android Applications specifically, layouts affect the user experience. Poor layouts lead to a memory hungry application which has a slow UI.

#14 A good UI design travels with the user. It is important to provide feedback whenever you can. Show adequate yet unobtrusive progress indicators. Anytime a user clicks on something, performs an action successfully or fails at an action, provide prompt feedback. It increases engagement.

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Wrapping up

Technology Columnist James Kendrick says, “The ability to pick up a gadget and do things without overthinking how it works is not only a good thing, it’s what buyers have come to expect.”

We must not forget that the boundary between UX and UI is blurred. A good UI is a big part of a good UX. UI ensures there is more engagement. UI creates the tools that make you happy, content and comfortable. UX is the whole experience with the product. UI makes UX wholesome. When you have a great product experience, it always starts with great usability which is then followed by equally good UI. Again, there could be many products that do the job, but the one that catches your eye is the one with better engagement, better UI. Both UX and UI are essential for the product’s success. When designing apps, there are guidelines from android and iOS which should be referred to and adhered to.

If the people handling UX and UI in a company are able to come together and work well together to provide better experience for users, they should continue as a team. Both UX/UI designers and developers thus are responsible for designing and developing a product that accomplishes the business goals of the company while making sure that the users reach theirs.

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author
Siften Halwai
AUTHOR

In addition to serving as a Content Writer & Content Marketing Strategist, Siften Halwai is a certified Cambridge English: Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) who empowers to create content that his targeted audience loves to read and engage with. His IT educational background and years of writing experience have given him a broad base for various content formats. Also, he’s a great cook, always ready to explore food, cultures, and adventures.

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