The biggest differences between UI and UX are that UX covers user testing and research while UI covers the visual aesthetic and interactability of the final product.
It can be a lot more complicated than that, though.
Best for UX (User Experience)
Best for UI (User Interface)
Table of Contents
- What Is the Difference Between UI and UX?
- What Does a UX Designer Do?
- What Are UX Designers' Primary Responsibilities?
- What Qualifications and Skills Does a UX Designer Need?
- What Deliverables Will UX Designers Produce?
- How Much Do UX Designers Typically Charge?
- What Does a UI Designer Do?
- What Are UI Designers' Primary Responsibilities?
- What Qualifications and Skills Does a UI Designer Need?
- What Deliverables Will a UI Designer Produce?
- How Much do UI Designers Typically Charge?
- The Similarities of UI and UX Design: How Do They Work Together?
- UI vs. UX: How Do I Know Which One I Need?
- Where to Find UI and UX Designers?
What Is the Difference Between UI and UX?
UI stands for User Interface and entails all front-end design components of an application or software, including the final product's look, branding, and design.
UX stands for User Experience and is a more comprehensive position, covering every step of product design, including user research, informational architecture, and overall functionality of the product, either physical or digital. Essentially, the functionality of the product.
The big difference here is scope. While a UX designer will look at the entire pathway of the user experience, a UI designer focuses on the visual aspects of the final product that the user will interact with directly.
Check out the key differences and how to figure out which one you need.
|Qualifications and Skills|
What Does a UX Designer Do?
A UX designer conducts user research and ensures the design of a product provides the user with a positive experience.
The UX designer needs to do all the background work to understand the user and brand and then design a functional product that users will enjoy.
What Are UX Designers' Primary Responsibilities?
A UX designer's responsibilities can vary based on how large and complicated the project is.
Smaller projects may require one person to be responsible for everything, while larger ones may have a bigger team of specialists in charge of each separate task.
These responsibilities include:
- User research – identify user needs, goals, and pain points using A/B testing or one-on-one interviews.
- Develop personas and scenarios
- Conduct usability testing
- Create wireframes, storyboards, and prototypes
- Design the product based on this research
- Analyze the data collected and improve the product, then test again
What Qualifications and Skills Does a UX Designer Need?
A degree isn’t necessary for a UX designer, but getting one in computer science or human-computer interaction could create more opportunities for UX designers.
Since a UX designer position can require many different duties, there are a large variety of skills necessary to be a successful UX designer.
Some of the hard skills required include:
- User research and testing
- Information Architecture
- Wireframing and prototyping
- Design and related design software
Since UX designers are working with either a client or a full team, there are soft skills required for UX designers, including:
- Collaboration and communication
- Critical thinking and problem-solving
What Deliverables Will UX Designers Produce?
UX designers are responsible for producing and delivering tangible research and designs, including:
- Competitive analysis report
- User research, including personas
- User flow and experience maps
- Sitemaps and information architecture
- Functional prototypes
- Design, including mood boards and sketches
- Usability testing
- Usage and analytics reports
- Brand style guide for future developers
How Much Do UX Designers Typically Charge?
UX designers charge differently based on their skill set, level of experience, and how many deliverables a client requests from them.
Generalist UX designers that can do every step of UX design will often charge more since they are providing more services, while niche specialists may cost less.
UX designers typically charge anywhere from $25 to upwards of $200 per hour.
What Does a UI Designer Do?
A UI designer is in charge of the look and feel of the final product. UI designers work specifically on digital products, so this includes the visual aesthetic of every touch point a user has with the software or application.
A UI designer starts working on a product after a UX designer has done the back-end work.
What Are UI Designers' Primary Responsibilities?
UI designers’ responsibilities include:
- Organizing layouts for a digital product
- Selecting color schemes and typography for the software or application
- Branding and graphic design for the final product
- Designing interactive elements like scrolling, buttons, icons, drop-down menus, and more
- Creating high-fidelity wireframes and prototypes
- Working closely with the UX designer and client to create the final digital product
- Ensuring usability across multiple devices (like mobile, computer, and tablet)
What Qualifications and Skills Does a UI Designer Need?
UI designers typically need more visual-based skills than UX designers.
Some of the hard skills a UI designer needs include:
- Visual branding skills like typography
- Graphic design skills and knowledge
- Knowledge of color theory
- Experience with interactive elements
- Knowledge of how to work with design and prototyping tools
The UI designer will also need to possess some soft skills that will make them capable of collaborating on a team. For instance:
What Deliverables Will a UI Designer Produce?
Concrete examples of the deliverable that UI designers produce include:
- Wireframes and prototypes
- Visualization mockups
- Branding concepts and brand style guides
How Much do UI Designers Typically Charge?
Freelance UI designers typically charge anywhere from $20 to over $150 per hour.
The Similarities of UI and UX Design: How Do They Work Together?
There is quite a bit of overlap when it comes to UI and UX, which is why there are many freelance designers who offer both UI and UX designing services.
On projects where both UX and UI designers are hired, the two roles almost always require interaction and collaboration to ensure continuity and cohesiveness in a final design product.
They also often require similar skill sets. For instance, both UI and UX designers need to know how to create wireframes and prototypes, conduct customer analysis, and use design and prototyping tools and software.
The two will also require similar soft skills. Empathy, collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving are all necessary for a UI and UX designer to possess in order to create the final product.
UI vs. UX: How Do I Know Which One I Need?
Not every product design will require both a UI and a UX designer, so how do you figure out which you might need?
If you have a physical product, then you will not need a UI designer, as this position only exists in the digital product space.
In the creation of just about every product, you will probably need a UX designer to ensure the best possible experience for whoever uses your product.
If you do have a digital product like software or application, a UI designer is necessary to make the product aesthetically pleasing and interactive for the target audience.
For companies that think they need a little bit of both, a UI/UX designer may be the right option.
Check out our hiring guide for UI and UX specialists.
Where to Find UI and UX Designers?
We love services like Upwork and Fiverr for affordable UI/UX designers and sites like ManyPixels and Awesomic for highly-vetted UI/UX talent.
Best for UX (User Experience)
Best for UI (User Interface)
When should I hire a UI designer?
Ideally, you should hire a UI designer at the beginning of the project, but you can hire one halfway through the UX design process if necessary.
When should I hire a UX designer?
You should hire a UX designer at the very beginning of your project.
What is the main difference between UI and UX?
The main difference between UI and UX is that UX design focuses on user research, information architecture, analysis, and wireframing for any product while UI design focuses on visual design, interactive elements, and prototyping for a digital product.
What comes first in the design process, UI or UX?
UX comes first in the design process, followed by UI.