User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are two equally important components of app development. At its core, the UX is the experience that users have with a particular app. Developers need to pay special attention to this component as it’s what’s going to drive success for the app.

On the other hand, the user interface is the elements that users directly interact with when they’re using the app. This can be things like buttons, menu bars, windows, etc. It’s one of the ways that developers can make their creations truly unique.

What’s the difference between UX and UI design?

It’s actually quite common for the UX and UI terms to be used interchangeably, however, they are fundamentally different. Most people tend to use these terms interchangeably because both of these components are crucial for the success of a product.

An app needs to have a great user experience in addition to a unique user interface if it's to have any chance of succeeding in the very competitive app landscape. Therefore, each of these components have a distinct role to play. They each refer to a different aspect of the product development process.

The term user experience was coined by Don Norman, the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group design consultancy. At its core, UX is supposed to be a human-first way of designing products and services. This is an all-encompassing design philosophy that's not necessarily limited to the tech or digital medium.

Therefore, the job of a UX designer is to always strive to improve the quality of interaction between the user and the product. It's not concerned with specific visual elements, rather, UX is focused on the overall feeling that the product or service evokes from its user.

The user interface is there for a completely different reason. It's the first point of interaction between the digital product and the user. It’s also the first thing that users judge when they launch an app for the first time. If the interface has been poorly designed or is just too clunky, chances are that users won’t really give the app a second thought.

A user interface designer thus has to make sure that the app's interface is as great as it can be. They have to think clearly about all of the visual elements that are to be incorporated, be it the buttons, icons, fonts, colors, spacing between the visual elements, etc.

The importance of great user interface design can be underpinned by the fact that it’s difficult for an app to have a great user experience unless it doesn’t have a great user interface.

How important is UX/UI design to your custom app?

Even though they’re completely different in form and function, UX/UI design is extremely important for a custom app. It’s impossible for an app to succeed commercially, or even serve its intended purpose if it’s not meant to be a commercial app, unless the developers have nailed the UX/UI design.

There has been a significant shift in the way people interact particularly with mobile devices over the past decade. Smartphones have become larger and faster. Users these days have little patience for apps that don't look good or just feel too much of a bother to use.

This is what makes or breaks apps nowadays. For example, if a news aggregator app takes longer to load articles, the vast majority of its users would simply open up their respective app store and download another one of the many aggregator apps. They would always prefer apps that are quicker and more efficient.

What makes a good UX/UI design?

It doesn’t take much to achieve a good UX/UI design. What’s more important is the understanding of what the app is supposed to do and exactly how it’s supposed to make the lives of its users easier. Once there’s clarity on this, work can begin and it’s imperative that the focus must always be on improving the user experience.

Good UX design is focused on helping users do what they want to do when they interact with your app. It shouldn't confuse your users, shouldn't make them feel rushed or make it appear that the app is just trying to complicate their lives more. Keeping the feeling of your target demographic in mind will ensure that the UX design pleases people.

Given that we live in a fast-paced world, users prefer simplicity and being able to get the job done quickly. For an app, this means that the user flow should be clearly thought out. The user shouldn’t feel that they’re going round in circles or that they’re unable to find the information that they’re looking for.

As far as the user interface is concerned, most experts are of the view that the best UI is one that’s almost invisible to the user, in that it doesn’t take away from the experience by being too outlandish or disconnected with the reality of the app.

A good practice is to use common UI elements so that users aren’t taken by surprise when they navigate through the app. This will also make the UI appear consistent which will allow the user to feel comfortable.

Why UX/UI design is an important part of custom app development

You might have stumbled upon an app idea that truly does something that no other app on the market does. However, in order to transform that vision into reality, you actually need to develop the app. What you intend for it to do and the benefit that you aim to provide users with it will not be possible unless the UX and UI work in perfect harmony.

That’s why great UX/UI design is such an important part of custom app development. Users won’t be able to take the full advantage of the app’s functionality if the UI is too clunky and that would automatically result in an inferior user experience.

An app that can’t do what it’s supposed to, or makes it very difficult to access its core functionality, is basically worthless. Even if it’s just an app that’s supposed to be used internally within your organization, if it doesn’t help make users’ lives easier, then it doesn’t really serve a purpose.

It’s actually going to end up being counterproductive. If the custom app was developed to streamline processes and make everything more efficient, a clunky user interface would mean that time is wasted when trying to figure out just how to properly use the features.

This poses an even greater challenge for commercial apps. User retention will become impossible because once users have been driven away by a bad UX/UI, it’s highly unlikely that they would give the app another chance. They’re already spoilt for choice and it wouldn’t take them two seconds to find an alternative that does what your app is trying to do but better.

The word tends to travel fast about apps these days. If the launch of your custom app was hyped up but its implementation turns out to be completely botched, that hype can quickly run any future prospects of success into the ground.

People who were previously looking forward to it or hyping it up on social media would then use their platforms to sound the alarm against the app. It’s very difficult to recover from that kind of negative cover which is why it’s so important that the UX and UI elements are designed with great care.

Get the best UX/UI design for your app

By now, you have realized why both user experience and user interface are important components of app development. It would be a mistake to push ahead with the development of an app without paying due attention to both.

Allow Zibtek to make this easier for you. As one of the world's leading software development companies, Zibtek has worked with Fortune 500 companies and startups alike, developing custom apps for them that adhere to the best UX and UI design practices.

Its development team has spent a decade perfecting Zibtek's process of delivering UI and UX services. Customers can rest assured that all established design standards, workflows and guidelines will be followed to deliver them the product that they require, created by expert designers within the timeframe agreed upon.

That's in addition to the internal process that its team follows to produce compelling UX designs. The process relies significantly on user research, design, testing and iterative implementation.

Every project begins at the research stage in which the team tries to understand the people who will use your app and form a realization of their expectations from your product. Zibtek has offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and it also manages a global pool of highly skilled developers from within the United States. If you’re looking to get the best user experience and user interface design for your custom app, reach out to Zibtek today and see for yourself how they can bring your vision to life.