what is
ui ux
design?

What Is A
User Interface Designer ?

Article at a Glance

...And What Is A User Experience Designer?

These two words are thrown around frequently the last few years. They float around everywhere between coffee shop talks, digital job forums, digital product reviews, and of course anywhere that digital design is present. The difference between ui (user interface design) and ux (user experience design) has become extremely blurred due to the two words intermixed usage. Due to this, people either forget or don’t know that these terms are very different practices. Let’s solve this problem by answering these questions in simple terminology first, with an in-depth description thereafter.

1st: What Is A User Interface Design

This is the digital design of an app or website that has a visual aspect on the page. Say for an example, the menus, tabs, icons, and list structures on a webpage. The entire visual layout is considered the interface. It also describes the cohesive mixing of the graphic design (mainly images, logos, icons, and photographs) within the entire scope of the webpage.

A good design is clean and not too cluttered with text, design or graphical assets. Minimalism is the the key to a good user interface, to make it easy for a user to quickly understand and decide what the page is about and where the user may need to go.

Here are two graphic examples of a good and bad user interface design.

Good User Interface Design

Easy 1 finger navigation

Bad User Interface Design

Whose finger is small enough?

2nd: What Is User Experience Design?

User interface design is the design of the experience that a user has with accomplishing his goals on an app or website. For example, how easily can a user add an item to an e-commerce cart and pay for it. It depends on how well the the user experience was planned, tested, redesigned, and retested. This is a never ending process of testing users reactions to an interface, a/b-ing alternate design options, paying attention to page statistics, and experimenting with different options to get a user to the quickest and smoothest conversions as possible.

So, What Is The Difference Between
UI And UX?

Visual Site Design Vs. A Site's Feeling

User interface (ui) is the visual design made to an application or website that gives it decorative appeal, a visual hierarchy of components (buttons, text, etc.), and a quick understanding of how to navigate  through the site or application. Whereas the user experience (ux) is the feeling you get from an application after you use it, as well as the ease of understanding how to accomplish your goals on the site. So you could easily say UI is the design and UX is the feeling of the site. They are 2 different skill sets that combine to make a well performing, goal focused website.

For large companies that have specific specialist teams, the UIUX job title is more often 2 separate positions: UI Designer and UX Designer. In smaller companies the title is combined, usually paid quite a bit less, and given both positions at once. This is a UIUX Designer. Due to the fact that the titling for the position has frequently become UIUX Designer, the definition of what the positions are is very confusing for people to grasp.

What Programs Do I Need To Design UIUX With?

So what is the essential application knowledge required to do UI UX design? For the UI designer it’s necessary to at least know one prototype, wireframe, mockup application. There are quite a few out there, but my preferred tool is Adobe XD. It’s the easiest to get your head around, it’s compatible with the other Adobe products, it’s on both Mac and PC, and it has a free version or the full version for $9.99 USD per month (or packaged in with the $52.99 full Adobe Subscription). There’s also Sketch (Mac only), Figma, Marvel, and many new prototyping tools that frequently release.  As far as which are more in demand for work, I’d say Sketch and XD are the most commonly asked for in job listings.

Currently the jobs are pretty well paid, depending on the experience. Most listings In my recent searches have shown up as a combined UI UX position, so you’d have to have experience to the appropriate level in both User Interface Design as well as User Experience Design. In the tech field, they are usually separate positions, and pay about 10-20% higher if specifically profiled as a User Interface Designer or a User Experience Designer.

What is the average UI UX Salary In 2024?

Position
Annual Salary $USD
JUNIOR USER INTERFACE DESIGNER
$60k - $75k a year
SENIOR USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
$75k- $100k a year
JUNIOR USER EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
$70k - $85k a year
SENIOR USER INTERFACE DESIGNER
$85k - $110k a year
JUNIOR UIUX DESIGNER
$60k - $75k a year
MID LEVEL UIUX DESIGNER
$75k - $80k a year

This is a guide made by averaged prices in pre Covid-19 times. Prices may fluctuate with location. Therefore a higher pay value being in high demand cities, such as San Francisco, New York, and Seattle.

After the Covid-19 has settled, we will reevaluate and update price on this table.

We Didn't Forget the Product Designers

There is a third job title which can easily fit into the job description with UIUX, which is a Product Designer. This is generally a manager of the UI UX planning and web design team. They deal with communications with internal company staff and external companies, as well as between executive teams and design teams and ultimately set goals, deliverables, and organization of planning. If your researching what a UIUX designer is, there’s a high probability your skill set is not yet at the level required to work in this position, but its good to see where your UIUX career could take you.

Position
Annual Salary $USD
PRODUCT DESIGNER
$70k - $120k a year

The Summary Of UIUX Design

In the current market, there is still a high demand for good, experienced UIUX designers. The trend is of course becoming much more in demand, therefore the amount of people trying to study up and learn all the necessary ingredients of UIUX are high. As of now, if you ave the skillset, then jobs shouldn’t be too hard to cme across, but give it 5 or 6 years, and the marketplace will become much more flooded with talent. So basically, its best to get the appropriate skills for your chosen career, and push yourself in there, while the jobs are still plentiful. The time for UIUX is definitely now.

Interesting UIUX Facts

1. The First GUI (Graphical User Interface) Xerox Alto Computer The first official user interface was built in the 1970’s in a project called PARC, which stood for Palo Alto Research Center. PARC was a team of programers developed and funded by Xerox which in the mid 1970’s had developed the first GUI computer named the Xerox Alto. It had very rough, early versions of email, networked computers, object orientated programming, and the mouse. This computer and the team essentially birthed the modern day computer from that concept computer. Only 2000 Xerox Altos were manufactured but never put on the market. Unfortunately this device was never really thought of as a serious marketplace contender, as Xerox’s management had always wanted to focus more on commercial printing, which it had done very well in the previous years. In 1979, a few lucky digital entrepreneurs were lucky enough to get personal tours of the PARC studios, and shown the Xerox Alto. Steve Jobs of Apple, and also one of Apple’s first 3rd party software companies, Bill Gates of Microsoft. Of course the 2 were greatly influenced by the Alto computer. Little did Xerox know, they would actually change the world much more than just copy printers.
Donald Norman Photograph 2. In 1995, Donald Norman Coined The Term UX Designer The world’s first officially titled User Experience Designer was Donald Norman at Apple in 1995. He defined a User Experience Designer at Apple as the person who would think of the design of everything about the computer experience after purchase. Such as seeing the computer in the store, putting the box in the car, opening the box at home, and also interacting with the graphical user interface of the actual computer.
3. User Experience: Bad Vs. Good Bad User Experience Means A Broken Heart And Lost ROI The cost of not analyzing, testing and updating your sites user experience can be extremely drastic. Studies have shown that fr every dollar spent on uiux development, a hundred will be returned on investment. This happens due to 705% of customers abandoning purchase due to bad uiux. If a bad experience starts at purchase level, it’s a pretty clear sign that the product being purchase will be a bad experience also.

Interesting Elementor Facts

89% Of Consumers Trust Your Brand If You Share Their Values

1. The First GUI (Graphical User Interface) The first official user interface was built in the 1970’s in a project called PARC, which stood for Palo Alto Research Center. PARC was a team of programers developed and funded by Xerox which in the mid 1970’s had developed the first GUI computer named the Xerox Alto. It had very rough, early versions of email, networked computers, object orientated programming, and the mouse. This computer and the team essentially birthed the modern day computer from that concept computer. Only 2000 Xerox Altos were manufactured but never put on the market. Unfortunately this device was never really thought of as a serious marketplace contender, as Xerox’s management had always wanted to focus more on commercial printing, which it had done very well in the previous years. In 1979, a few lucky digital entrepreneurs were lucky enough to get personal tours of the PARC studios, and shown the Xerox Alto. Steve Jobs of Apple, and also one of Apple’s first 3rd party software companies, Bill Gates of Microsoft. Of course the 2 were greatly influenced by the Alto computer. Little did Xerox know, they would actually change the world much more than just copy printers.

Donald Norman Photograph

2. In 1995, Donald Norman Coined The Term UX Designer

The world’s first officially titled User Experience Designer was Donald Norman at Apple in 1995. He defined a User Experience Designer at Apple as the person who would think of the design of everything about the computer experience after purchase. Such as seeing the computer in the store, putting the box in the car, opening the box at home, and also interacting with the graphical user interface of the actual computer.

Bad User Experience Means A Broken Heart And Lost ROI

3. User Experience: Bad Vs. Good

The cost of not analyzing, testing and updating your sites user experience can be extremely drastic. Studies have shown that fr every dollar spent on uiux development, a hundred will be returned on investment. This happens due to 705% of customers abandoning purchase due to bad uiux. If a bad experience starts at purchase level, it’s a pretty clear sign that the product being purchase will be a bad experience also.

Author

Ethan D Miller

Ethan D Miller

Born in California, raised in NYC and lived in Japan for 5 years. UIUX Design and Web Design are his specialties. He loves using his cultured taste to design sites that appeal to hi-scale marketplaces.

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