UX is not UI!

UX is not UI!

It's not that complicated to get the difference, if you want to understand it.

After just another job offer as UX/UI Designer that had nothing to do with UX, I feel the urge to rant about it. You've been warned.

The experience the user may or not may have with your product is not defined solely by the interface you're offering. While in the digital realm it's easy to fall for the idea, that the UX is all about the UI, yet this is just lazy and short-sighted. I'm very aware, that many before me have explained this, but please let me add my voice to the choir.

Meanwhile I came to the believe that many people intentionally misunderstand UX. Because dealing with UX like part of the UI design solves so many "problems". Because you can't design an experience, you only can design for an experience. That leaves the impact of your design decisions unclear and out of your control. To be honest about UX, would also mean to admit, that for a fair amount of people the service or product experience is bad and not as advertised. It would also mean to admit that you have no clue about the experience your next new user will have. You might can make educated guesses based on solid research, but that's it. That these educated guesses based on research are much better than the guesses from your stakeholders or to just copy what is currently succesful somewhere else is not questioned here.

Of course this truth doesn't sell well. But UX is currently a big thing, so everybody needs to do UX. The easy way: Talk about UX like a feature of the UI and you're good to go. Those in charge won't recognize the difference anyway.

Shaping the environment or your product for a certain experience or at least make some experiences more likely is hard work - and it doesn't start or end with the UI of your website, app or whatnot. It includes all touchpoints with your service, app or website and is influenced by the context and environment of the user, as well as his or her abilities, disabilities and mental state. To actively engage with the experience of your users you need a systemic design approach and the will to work across functions in your company. The UI of your website or app is just a fragment.

So, please stop asking for UX Design, when you just want a shiny and glitzy GUI for your app or website. But yes, please care about the experience your users are having, too. Hire some clever user researchers and systemic designers to figure out, what you actually need to solve. Please, put yourself to the risk, that it's not just another feature for the app you're responsible for. You're doing the right thing, it's just complicated. Thank you.

pissoir with pee interface after interaction