Written by Samir Patel
Being software consultants, we not only build hundreds of applications a year, but analyze many for our clients. A common problem we see are User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) being intermixed with each other. This also leads us to answering a common question of, “why is UX important?” In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two and the importance of UX.
User Experience vs. User Interface
The most common mistake people make when it comes to designing an application is assuming that UX and the UI are one in the same. It is important to keep both in mind when designing an application. While poor UI can lead to a poor UX, it doesn’t mean that a great UI will lead to a great UX.
A better way to understand the two, is to liken them to a home. Does each room serve the function it was meant to? Does the layout make sense? Do the rooms flow naturally between each other? This is what is considered to be UX. The color of the walls and the decorations to make it look aesthetically pleasing is the UI.
In terms of an application, the UI is what the user sees when the user uses it. What are the colors, images, and text that is presented to me? Often, developers spend time to make sure that the website looks good but don’t consider if the layout makes sense, or the flow of the functionality makes sense to the user.
Why is UX Important?
So, why is UX important? UX plays an integral role in deciding whether a customer will choose you or a competitor. UI is just a part of the overall UX experience. UX ensures that the product we are designing is useful for its purpose. Everything is consistent to keep the user efficient. It should be intuitive to a point where little or no training is needed to use. And lastly, UX needs to consider the actual user’s pain points, needs and wants.
Still not convinced? Let’s ask again. Why is UX important? UX evokes an emotion from your user. Calling into a call center and having to go through 5 levels of menu prompts can leave people frustrated and lost. Being able to ask Siri a question in a conversational manner and getting the relevant information gives people a sense of satisfaction and closure.
Examples of UX
A great example of contracting user experiences comes in the form of messaging apps provided by both Google and Apple. Apple’s iMessage services provides an easy way to communicate with other iMessage users but also provides a way to send SMS messages without any extra configurations or key strokes on the user’s part. FaceTime allows the same simplicity for video chats. It works in a much less complicated way.
On the other hand, Google has 4 different applications to accomplish the same functionality, with confusion on which app does what. One can use Messenger or Hangouts to send SMS, while Hangouts or Allo allows users to send OTT messages. In addition, Hangouts and Duo can be used to make Video Calls. It can be hard for users to keep track of which to use in the right moment.
How you present yourself to a customer is just one side of the equation. How you treat them when you get there completes this experience. A user will not want to use your website if they cannot find what they are looking for quickly and accomplish the task they need efficiently. The easier the path is for the client to complete their task or purchase, not only produces a better customer experience but also results in increased ROI for the client.