At the UXSG Meetup #21, I posted a topic “UX and UI: So which one is more important”? As a UXDI Singapore graduate from General Assembly (GA), I had the opportunity to listen to many speakers from different backgrounds (UX designer, product manager, etc) who were invited by GA and shared with us their experiences in class. I’m always intrigued to understand how others, apart from those in my class, view UX and UI as many I spoke to tend to think UX=UI.
We started off by talking about the elements of UX and UI. A couple of entrepreneurs shared their takes on UX and how they felt UI played certain roles in it. Flows, intuitive, functionality were mentioned almost throughout and it was interesting to hear how they felt UX and UI play important roles. Some felt that UI is something that you can’t totally ignore, which many agreed.
After an insightful 35 minutes of discussion, I’ve listed a few key points that were derived from it:
Usability testing is important
Usability testing was brought up – observation on how your target users navigate the website or app was important for informing design. However, a participant shared that there were situations where they couldn’t find users to test. One commented that her previous employer tested within the company. It wasn’t the most ideal but some information was better than none.
Technicality plays a part too
A participant who used to work for a travel start up shared how she received feedback from customers about the difficulty or frustration on navigating their website. As much as they wanted to make the experience less frustrating for their customers, they discovered that the technical team found it difficult to improve the experience due to technical constraints.
Content, content, content
UX is also not just about making the experience delightful; content plays a huge part too. As much as UI makes visual impactful, the product may not be useful or relevant without the right content that speaks to users in the way they want or helps them complete a task.
One participant quoted an example of a news app: The objective of news is for users to read the content. While you could design the app as beautiful as possible, your goal is to engage readers by helping them read the news they want easily and quickly.
At the end of discussion, I posted a question “What does UX mean to you?”. Surprisingly, we heard different definitions from the group but the key takeaway that we gathered was that UI is a subset of UX. In summary, everyone wants to design the best, or at least a delightful and enjoyable experience for the products’ users. Like the saying goes, “It’s not about what you make, but it’s about HOW you make.”