At the most basic level the user interface refers to a series of screens, pages as well as visual elements such as icons and buttons which enables an individual interact with a product. User experience is the internal experience that an individual encounters while interacting with a product.
It is very common to use these items interchangeably however there exist a great difference between the terms. Simply put, user interface is anything a user interacts with either a digital product or service. This includes everything ranging from touch screens, keyboards, sounds, screens and even lights.
The history of graphic user interface dates back to the 1970s. if you wanted to use a computer back in the days then you had to use the command line. This is because the graphical user interface that exists today did not exist back then. In order for computers to work then one had to communicate through programming languages which required seemingly infinite lines of codes to complete a task.
The first graphical user interface was developed by computer scientists at Xerox and was a ground breaking innovation as it allowed users to interact with their personal computers by visually submitting commands through buttons, icons, menus and checkboxes. The shift in technology meant that everyone could use the computer since coding was required and the revolution of personal computer began.
By 1984 Macintosh produced the first personal computer that included a point and a click mouse. Macintosh was the first successful home computer to use the interface. The accessibility and perseverance of personal computers simply means that interfaces need to be designed with the users in mind. In case the users could not interact with their computers then it would not sell.
Modern day user interfaces have limitless opportunities and possibilities to work on websites, mobile apps, wearable technology as well as smartphone devices. As along as computers continue to be part of people’s lives then there will always be the need to have interfaces that engage the users of all ages, technical experience and background.
What is UX
User experience UX changed as a result of the changes in user interface. Once there was something for the users to interact with then the experience of the users changed whether positive, negative or neutral. User experience encompasses all aspects of the end user interaction. The broad definition is that it has the ability to encompass every possible interaction that an individual could have. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a digital experience. Some of the user experience professionals have gone as far as calling for the filed customer experience and others have gone as far as referring to the field as experience design.
Regardless of the definition the original definition of user experience revolves around the core of every experience design. User experience designers are usually responsible for ensuring that the company delivers goods and services that are able to meet needs of the customers and this allows them to seemingly achieve their desired outcome.
User experience designers tend to work closely with user interface designers in order to make researchers, marketers and products understand the users through research and experimentation. They use the insights gained to continually iterate and improve the user experiences based on quantitative and qualitative research.
Difference between UI and UX
At the most basic level, UI is made up of all the elements that enable an individual to interact with their product or services. User experience is what makes an individual interact with the product or service as it takes away their entire experience. It is very important to distinguish between user interface and user experience even though the user interface forms an extremely important part of the design. Take for example Google. Its simple look simply highlights how a great user experience doesn’t require bells and whistles. Google has focused on the needs of the user and most of their users desire only one thing and that is information. The fact that google is widely accepted shows how well the company delivers on that experience.
Different people have different perspective in relation to user experience and user interaction. Consequently, user experience designers are increasingly finding that employers require them to use not only user experience expertise but also user interface design skills.