The Difference in a Nutshell
Defining UI and UX is quite easy. UI or user interface is the visual side of design. It is what you do in Photoshop or Illustrator. UX or user experience, on the other hand, is what you do outside. How do you make your users feel about the product? How do you make them feel when they use the product? Are they happy? Angry? Satisfied?
Another way of putting it is UX design is the process which enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can be done by improving the usability, pleasure, and ease of use which happens when the customer interact with the product.
Therefore, the job of a UX designer also involves being a marketer as he develops the development and improvement of the quality which satisfies the customer as well as the business owner.
UI design, on the other hand, is similar to graphic design, but sometimes extend to brand design and even front end development. It is responsible for translating the the strength and visual assets of the brand to a product’s interface to make the user experience much better.
The Ketchup Metaphor
The best way to illustrate the difference between UX and UI is by using the ketchup metaphor.
A few years back, there was a ketchup company that designed a beautiful bottle for its ketchup. It had a wide bottom with a thick and narrow neck. It is designed to be always placed upright inside the refrigerator. However, when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, you have to shake the bottle hard in order to get the ketchup out of the bottle making the process a bit annoying to the user.
The ketchup company learned about this and they redesigned the bottle. The new bottle has a wider top which enables you to place it upside down without getting toppled. So when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, all you have to do is place it upside down and when you need it, it is easier to squeeze the ketchup out of the bottle. The users were happy about it.
The new design not only solved the problem, but it improved the experience of the user as made them loyal to the product. In terms of the aesthetics or the UI, the new design looked more beautiful and more useful.
Both UX and UI are interrelated and interwoven tightly. One cannot exist without the other. Moreover, they should never run on their own but should coordinate in order to achieve success in your design.