At Cube3, we design products with user interface and user experience in mind. Below is a simple explanation of what each of these disciplines means.
UI, otherwise known as user interface, is exactly that – anything that the user interacts with. This could simply be about where to put the on/off button on a new product, or it could be a complex touch screen interface and all things in between.
UX, also known as user experience, is about the whole journey for the customer; how the product is sold, how it looks and feels, how it works and even how it is disposed of at the end of its life. If any one of these is below standard, it can lower the user’s perception of the product.
Every product development requires consideration of the user interface and the user experience of the product in its entirety. For most products including physical devices, the user interface design has a significant bearing on the overall user experience, so it needs to be right. A good interface design is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The user’s goals should be accomplished simply and efficiently.
If the UI design is done well but other needs of the user are overlooked, then the user experience will be poor.
An example of this would be a supermarket self-scanning handset with a fantastic user interface; comfortable to hold, obvious and easy to use. However, the user discovers that some items in store are not recognized by the system – this is poor user experience design. The customer is inconvenienced and disappointed. A clear and comprehensive understanding of the user’s goals for the system the device is part of and enabling the user to achieve those goals will deliver a better user experience.