Firstly, introductions. My name is Sophie and I have recently joined the Web Usability team as their Marketing and Recruitment Executive. With a Creative Industries background but no prior experience in the User Experience field, it is a challenging but exciting time for myself as I navigate into the world of UX.
In my previous job I was responsible for maintaining a website – mainly considering design elements such as colour, fonts, and buttons. These elements are the visual touchpoints of a UI or User Interface that the user would interact with during a digital experience. However, in retrospect I was considering the branding side of things rather than taking a user-first approach. Since joining the team and after doing some of my own research, I have been on journey to discover some of the key differences between UX and UI.
Understanding the user experience beyond the user interface
I found that this video on the NN/g website explains the differences between UX and UI in a simple and analogical way. Sarah Gibbons uses the analogy of a cake in the video to express the distinction between the User Interface and the User Experience. Each cake has a different User Interface in terms of its design (the sprinkles, icing, shape, and size). She then turns the cakes around to reveal the inside, the User Experience. The cake itself is the core of the experience, (whether it tastes good and delivers on needs).
In other terms, whilst UI is the aesthetics of the experience, UX is about understanding and empathising with the needs and goals of the user interacting with the UI. You can read more here about what the team at Web Usability understand UX to mean.
Other helpful resources for UX novices
Similarly, whilst trying to grasp some of the new terminology (phrases like iterative design, information architecture, wireframing, and agile) I have found a few resources particularly useful in my learning. Thanks to Lucy, our Senior UX Consultant for recommending these resources to me!
- UX Planet have a section on their website titled ‘UX for Beginners’. Beginner being exactly what I am, I felt compelled to click. What it brought up was numerous articles exploring a range of topics surrounding UX. Most Common UX Design Methods and Techniques and About UX both made for interesting reads. This is no doubt a website I will return to, so I am able to keep up with emerging trends and developing technologies in the UX world.
- The Nielsen Norman Group are considered pioneers of UX. The website is encompassing of their research reports but also useful short video clips from different specialists in the area, along with a variety of articles. We would recommend this resource for novices and experts alike!