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  /  Design   /  What do UX and UI mean in website design?

The terms UX and UI get brought up a lot by different website design and development agencies in Dubai, but there isn’t always much substance to it and a lot of non-experts aren’t clear about what these terms stand for. 

Some of the common questions are – What is UX design and why is it important? What makes a good UX design in the first place? Is there any difference between UX and UI? 

A great website design & development company will be able to explain this to their customers in a simple way – it isn’t that complicated after all. But there are some nuances that you should be aware of so that you can understand the value of it, as well as recognize when an agency is just using the terms as a jargon without any meaning attached. 

So, what is UX design?

Shortly, UX stands for User Experience. What does that mean? It means how a user feels when they use your website – the emotions they experience (enjoyment vs. frustration..), their engagement, their thought process and sensory reactions. It means not just look and feel but finding elegant solutions to problems the user might run into. 

The term was coined by Donald Norman during his days as Apple’s vice president. He found the terms “human interface and usability” to be too narrow and wanted to cover the full personal experience with the system. He wanted us to think about how all aspects of the platform make the website users feel, from functionality, design and graphics to interface and interaction.

When people hear “website design” a layman usually thinks of the graphic design alone – is the website good-looking or not? UX is more than that. It stands for human-centred design.

The UX designers consider the following questions when working on a website:

  1. Who are the end-users and what do they need? The UX designer puts him or herself into their shoes to create a product that will resonate with the user. 
  2. What is the client’s business objective? The UX designer has to create a digital product that will compel the users to act in a way that is beneficial to the client.
  3. What kind of technology do we have at our disposal to create optimal results? The UX designer has to be up-to-date with the newest website technology and know how best to apply it for the benefit of the users and the client.

Considering that your website is judged by the visitors, you can understand how important the UX approach is in website design and development. Most users spend about 2-3 seconds on the website before closing it if they aren’t instantly attracted to it. It needs to grab their attention and then maintain the hold for as long as it takes to achieve the business objective. It needs to also leave an impact that will last after the transaction and make the users come back to the website. 

A good UX design will also adapt to product functionalities and brand personalities.

Should UX design matter to your brand?

A lot of companies make a mistake to assume that website design & development isn’t necessary for their company – either because they still sell their products onsite or are within a very niche industry where they are known to their clients. Many businesses desperately need a digital transformation but stick to their old ways and use shortcuts. 

This kind of thinking, unfortunately, will render a company obsolete. If not today then tomorrow. All industries are developing in the digital direction, and as new generations step up you might find yourself in a position where you’re catching up to the competition instead of leading. 

A good UX website design creates a joyful digital experience for the people you are trying to impress – your existing and potential clients. A big part of it is that it makes their lives easier and saves them some effort, money and time. 

This is one of the reasons why customers increasingly prefer to shop online. An excellent e-commerce website empowers your customer to shop several products in just a few minutes of browsing your website on a mobile phone. It is convenient and easy, or at least it should be with a good UX design. 

If however, the digital experience is cumbersome, overly complicated and non-intuitive, the customer will get frustrated and leave your website, never to come back again. Even the best-looking websites need to be easy to navigate and have functionalities that simplify the process. Have you experienced a website you constantly have to log in again? Where you started filling a form but got interrupted, only to find out none of the information got saved and you have to do it all over? Today, no one has time for that. 

Poor UX is fatal to the business. Not only will it make your potential customers lose interest in your website and business, but it will also make them have negative associations with your brand. It will also mean that your other digital marketing efforts are useless – what is the point of SEO, GoogleAds and Social Media Advertising if you lose your audience the moment they come to your website?

So yes, UX design matters to every brand. It’s as simple as that.

What makes a good UX design?

The real question is, what is the digital experience that your target audience will appreciate. What will make them feel, think and engage? What will make them come back for more and develop positive associations with your brand, building strong brand loyalty?

This requires research and understanding of your audience and their psychology. A full-service branding and digital agency should be able to conduct the necessary research and analysis to guide your brand through the digital realm.

Then there are some general things to keep in mind, applicable to all humans. A good website is dependable, intuitive, fast-loading, mobile-friendly, personable, efficient (quick, simple) and interactive. There are also some proven tricks to help a website instantly capture attention using visual means. An experienced web design & development company will do a good job making sure that every detail serves a purpose that furthers your business goals. 

Emotional connection can’t be overstated. Even a very functional and convenient website can serve for nothing more than a one-off transaction if it fails to resonate with the client on a deeper level. Many people don’t even remember all the websites whose services they used at some point because nothing got their attention enough to create brand recall and evoke emotions. A good understanding of branding should be in the background of a truly great website design & development.  

Don’t forget your objective

In the end, companies invest in social media management with clear business goals in mind – to increase brand awareness, to sell a product, to promote a service… when framing your results, the main thing the readers will take out is how they further these objectives. 

Always keep in mind who is the one reading the report. Some readers will want it simplified, more analytical ones will want a lot of flesh. If you are talking to your team you might want to be a bit more informal and blunt. If writing for a client you want to be helpful.

Give everyone what they’re looking for (and if you are the client, don’t hesitate to demand your social media agency to accommodate your company’s needs.)

What is the difference between UX and UI design?

The word “design” is quite a broad term and can be applied in any industry. When it comes to web development, UX and UI are both deeply connected and together create unforgettable digital experiences. 

UI stands for User Interface, and a good way to think of it is as the destination of the journey UX takes. Sometimes, the terms are used almost interchangeably so you don’t have to worry that UI will be left out of the equation that focuses on the term UX – it is a part of it.

UX is the big picture, the entire functionality that drives your website. It is based on research and expert-level domain knowledge. UX designers analyze the users, the business, outline the journey, predict and solve problems, sketch wireframes, build prototypes and test the website. 

Then UI steps in. It is the final form of your digital product, the part that the user directly interfaces with. Good UI design means that the product is intuitive to users, which it achieves by understanding their psychology, behaviour and thought-process. 

Intuitiveness matters. The question every great web developer needs to ask is whether or not their digital product will be understandable and easy to navigate for someone inexperienced who is using it for the first time. The audience should not have to learn how to use your website, they should get it right away. The best web design agencies anticipate how the user will behave and think, and solve potential problems before they happen. 

UI also includes the look & feel, the attractiveness and responsiveness of the website. It encompasses graphic design, brand identity (design system, typography, colours), interactivity and other visual means to make the website representative of your brand as well as highly appealing and beautiful to the user.

Conclusion

Every good digital product is first and foremost UX-centered. Think of design as problem-solving and you will better understand the complexity that goes behind designing a truly great website. 

Your website is the core of your business and should not be neglected. Consult with professional website designers & developers in Dubai to get the best solutions for your brand.