UX or user experience is less about the look and feel of a site and much more concerned with the way it functions; specifically, how users interact with it.
As the name suggests, it is all about the user.
User data plays a big part in what informs a UX designer.
By understanding user behaviors and ultimately patterns, their goal becomes focused on delighting the user by simultaneous helping them find the information they are seeking while also driving them to reach a specific goal on each and every page.
If your designer is doing their job correctly, they understand users so well they are able to inform their decisions before they even make them. Whoa. Pretty cool, right?
While UX designers can be gifted at UI design (more on that later), in most cases, they are the ones knee-deep in wireframes and very involved in the early stages of design projects.
What is UI?
UI picks up where UX leaves off.
While UX designers are largely involved up-front on most projects, UI comes in on the backend, taking those wireframes and that strategy and bringing them to life.
UI focuses on the aesthetics of a design.
It is a UI designer’s responsibility to be up-to-the-minute on proven design conventions as well as of-the-moment trends.
A beautiful design with no regard for user flow is going to ultimately fail because users are going to hate trying to use the site.
But, a site that has great functionality and absolutely no focus on aesthetics will fall equally as flat.
You need both!
For a deeper dive into the differences in disciplines, check out the infographic from Toptal below.
And for the record, you can find creative professionals who are equally versed in both disciplines. They are a special breed, but they do exist. In fact, their dual understanding makes them extraordinary designers.