Whether you’re a developer or you’re an idea man who is contacting developers for an app or mobile game, you’ve probably heard the terms UI and UX before. They’re much discussed in app and mobile game development, and having a good UI and UX can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful endeavor. But what exactly are these two things? How are they different? How are they similar? Here’s what you need to know about UI and UX and why they’re important to your app or game:
What is UI?
UI stands for User Interface. In the most basic terms, this is how the user of the app or game interacts with the media. It is any part of the app that dictates how someone can tell the app what to do or what it wants to do. It relates to the how the program looks, what mechanisms the user has to use in order to get the app or game to complete a desired action, and more. For example, if you have a newer smartphone, your user interface is probably fairly simple, consisting of only a few buttons, supplemented by on-screen icons.
What is UX?
UX, on the other hand, is the User Experience. This is how someone who downloads the app or game experiences the interface. If the interface is easy to navigate and understand, that user is more likely to have a positive user experience, while a complicated or clunky interface will result in a negative user experience.
How are they alike? How are they different?
These concepts are obviously very closely linked. Every game or app that you develop will, by its very nature, have a user interface. How streamlined this interface is, how simple it is to use, how intuitive it is, and how it looks, will all factor into the user experience. Apps with a very simplistic user interface are often better liked and more functional (especially across many different cultures and countries) than apps that have complex interfaces with steep learning curves. The interface is how to app/game interacts with the human. The experience is how humans use that interface. Both are vitally important and will require extensive field testing.