Difference between UI and UX

UI Vs UX is an ongoing debate that comes into scene whenever a new technology, new gadget or for that matter, anything new comes into the market.  UI stands for the User Interface  , which refers to the space where interaction between the machine and human takes place. And UX stands for User Experience which means feelings of the users about using a service, product or system.  Though UI and UX are two different things, they are related. For instance, when you see a new mobile phone in the market, you might be attracted by its looks, its model, its features on the very first glance. This attraction for this gadget is due to its UI. However, when you start using it for calling, chatting, emailing or whatever, you use it in real sense. At that time, you are having user experience or UX. UX can be either good or bad no matter how good is the UI of that mobile phone.

Before we start delving deep into this UI vs. UX debate, let us first get some peek into the terms UI and UX.

What is a user interface?

You might have heard User Interface or UI at times from computer salespersons to other tech persons. But, do you know what this tech jargon means?

Actually, User Interface  is quite simple to understand as it refers to the components and parts of the computer and software that  users see, hear to and touch. If we talk about computers, user interface includes all those parts of the computer or the machines that let us, humans, interact and communicate with it. For instance, now you are reading on this computer screen,  this screen is the part of user interface. Similarly, when you use your mobile phone, its screen is the part of user interface. In these cases, screen communicates with you by showing the message.

One thing to be noticed here is User interface is not just, what the machine shows you. In fact, it is a two way channel where both, the user and the machine, interact with each other.  To make use of the machine, users give  their  instructions  through user interface. It is called input. On the other hand, the machine or the computer gives the results in the form user asked for like on the screen or printer or whatever. This is known as the output. The input given and the output received, entirely depends upon the User Interface.

What means by User Experience

The success of a product, service or system, entirely depends upon the user experience.  In fact, the user interface is designed to give the best user experience.  What the term User experience means?   User experience includes all the aspects of the user’s interaction with the product or the machine. The best user experience ensures not only the ease of use but also the joy to use that particular product. The true user experience goes just beyond providing the checklist of features; it provides much more than what user expect for.

To provide best user experience, user interface design should be such that user need not pay much attention to. It should be easy to use and user need not keep fumbling for the buttons or keys to use that.

A user experience reflects the meaningful and valuable aspects of human  machine interaction. In addition, it also includes the user’s perception of the practical aspects such as utility, efficiency and the ease of use of the machine. However, User experience is subjective in nature and it is quite tedious to quantify it.  How well a user perceives a machine depends upon his or her feelings and thoughts about the system. At the same time, it is dynamic too as it changes with change of circumstances.

Difference between UI and UX

Now, let us talk difference between UI and UX.

Let us take an example of good user interface; the ubiquitous Google Home page which is the first page of Google search.  User only has to deal with one obvious search box and one button and is done. At the same time, a web page, where you cannot find a button to click on or find even after a thorough search, is the example of bad UI.   Without knowing how they work, we, user, will decide whether they are good or bad UIs. We will decide by their look  and layout; the interface.

However, when we talk about UX, it is much deeper than UI. User experience, apart from layout and display, involves certain more important aspects. User interface is only one part of the User experience.

While user interface is about the design, layout, pixel publishing, button placement or so, user experience is something holistic and creative. You can say User interface is just about the surfaces which let users interact with the system. On the contrary, User experience is “skin deep”.

Unlike User interface, you cannot just design User experience and move on. It needs to be continuously integrated into whatever we do. It is important to listen to the user’s demands  and feedback about the user experience to make it more enriching.

Most user experience designers agree that user experience is not even about technology. In fact, user experience designers make use of technology to help people make best use of resources around them.

The vital component of a User interface, which makes it a tool to good user experience, is its usability, functionality and ease to use. A user interface that looks good at first glance may not provide you even an iota of good user experience.


The most important thing to remember in this context is UX is a broader term involving everything from brand perception, usability, content, hardware, software and more. On the other hand, UI is just what you see on the screen, touch or hear to.

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