UX and UI . . . What does it all mean?


User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) design might sound like jargon or slang words used to bamboozle people, but they are actually essential practices in the creation of a website.

Website design is constantly changing, but it has one common goal; to keep the user on your site and get them to where they need to go fast.

In short, UX encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products. UI on the other hand considers the look, feel, and interactivity of the product. I didn’t write that — it’s a quote from the late, great Don Norman, cognitive scientist and UX architect, but I think he put it perfectly.

We have to consider when designing a website that 80% of people will be looking at the site on their phone. The first thing a client likes to see when we are developing their website is the desktop version, as this is what we’re all used to. But, in reality most of their audience will be looking at it on a mobile. In the design studio at PMW we design every page for mobile and then focus on the desktop version after that.

Less is more

A 2015 study conducted by Microsoft found that the average human attention span has declined from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. This means that we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. In fact . . . you’re probably thinking about something else whilst reading this blog.

As designers, we need to adjust and cope with this behaviour, with the goal of getting people the information they need as quickly as possible.

Simple is as simple does

Great UX and UI design is simple and consistent. In context, simplicity means that it’s easy to understand and interact with a website. Your users shouldn’t need to read instructions to understand how to use your website. Make it clear and then subtly lead them.

Perfect harmony

Whilst UX and UI design are very different, the main objective is to make them work in harmony, think Lennon and McCartney.

Beautiful design can’t save an experience that’s clunky and confusing, but at the same time a great experience can be ruined by terrible design.

So, the next time you’re on a site and you’ve got the information you need quickly and easily, it’s because someone has perfected the UX/UI. Hopefully it’s one that PMW made.


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