UX terminology: UI vs. UX

UI 🤝 UX. But what’s the difference?

Ariana Shives
5 min readApr 19


UI and UX are two vital, valuable concepts that go hand in hand to produce great design. They are often confused for one another, but are actually distinct concepts.

UX vs. UI. Original Image.

UX vs. UI

In the vast world of design, the terms “UX” and “UI” are often used interchangeably, which leads quickly to confusion about what each term means and how they differ. While they are related, UX and UI design are not the same things. Knowing the difference will help you better understand design, communicate with your design and development teams, and choose to specialize in one or the other.

User Experience (UX) Design

User experience (UX) is a term often associated with web applications and design, but it is a broader concept that existed long before the web. Various sources word the definition of “user experience” differently. Still, all conclude that user experience refers to users’ thoughts, feelings, and emotions throughout their entire encounter with a product or service.

User experience design is the systematic design of products and services to meet users’* needs. A UX designer’s goal is to create an experience that is intuitive, easy to use, and enjoyable.

*Note: your user (the person or entity who uses your product or service) may differ from your customer (the person who buys your product or service). We will consider them the same in this chapter for simplicity’s sake.

UX design is about creating products and services that are user centered. It focuses on creating intuitive, efficient, easy-to-use designs that provide a positive, maybe even joyful, experience for the user. These goals are achieved through research and analysis of the needs of the user, testing designs, and iterating until the final product produces the best possible user experience.

Like UX, a common misconception is that UX design is only related to digital products. In reality, we can apply UX design concepts to any product or service. For example, you can use UX design principles to create physical products such as furniture, household appliances, or a car dashboard.



Ariana Shives

Social entrepreneur and product designer stoked on design thinking, UX, and entrepreneurship⚡️