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5 statements about UX design: myths and truths

Are UX and UI the same thing? Is UX design determined by technology? Can artificial intelligence replace UX designers? What is rumor, and what is reality? Senior designer Alexei Suprunov sorts out myths from truths.

Senior designer Alexei Suprunov

Myth or truth #1: UX = UI

— In general, it’s a myth.

The user interface (UI) is the skin and muscles, while the user experience (UX) is the skeleton. UI refers to the screens, buttons, toggles, icons, and other visual elements that you interact with when using a website, app, or other electronic devices. UX refers to your interaction with a product, including how you feel about the interaction.

Nowadays, some designers have started to question this distinction, and I partly agree. In terms of digital products, the two are so closely related that it becomes difficult to perceive one without the other. UI designers who work with UI elements also try to consider the whole picture of the development to make the product look consistent or to simplify further product improvements. We call them UI designers, not visual designers, because they should be familiar with the UX role and the main processes of product development. It should be possible to implement and apply their UI design solutions to the solution provided by UX.

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Myth or truth #2: UX is expensive (both in time and money)

— I would say it’s a myth, and let me explain why.

Most companies and startups currently working with digital products have designers. I’m not aware of digital solutions in which user experience hasn’t aligned with UX specialists. UI designers can create a good-looking product that will attract new users and satisfy them. UX designers can improve the product to help users reach their goals faster and be satisfied. Simply put, the more satisfied users you have, the more customers you get. Designers can create experiences that save companies a lot of money overall; the cost of hiring a UX designer is far less than the money lost from a badly designed product.

Now let us think about the future of UX design. Watching how quickly new cutting-edge technologies, like AI, are being integrated into all domains, some may say that UX designers could be replaced with algorithms. To some extent, I consider that a real possibility. I’m not the best person to say how much it will affect product development processes in terms of time and money. I’m not sure, though, if AI will fully replace the designer role. Since the products are developed for human beings, the process still requires human involvement. Human replacement is very time-consuming, so let’s not waste our time waiting for that tipping point.

Myth or truth #3: UX is everyone’s cup of tea

— Truth.

I still meet some people unfamiliar with the term “user experience.” And when I start explaining what it means and how we work with it, they say something like: “Oh, I got it! This is something about a button on my kettle, right?” And that is true. In the IT industry, we usually associate the term “user experience” with the digital world. But the term “user experience” can be applied to any situation in which “user” and “experience” exist together. From tissues to aircraft control – everywhere we have users interacting with products, and we can explore the best way of doing so.

The best example of digital products nowadays is our smartphones. Everyone uses the provided interface and uses apps, and is either satisfied or unsatisfied with their experience. And each of those experiences was created, and can be improved, by a UX designer.

Myth or truth #4: UX is driven by technology

— I would say truth. But let’s add context.

As we previously noted, UX is everywhere. Saying that it’s driven by technology means that technology is always involved in the process and that it’s always related to a digital product. Let’s park this statement here and elaborate.

I believe that UX designers need to be familiar with the technologies that will be used in a provided design solution. The designer needs to know whether that design solution can be implemented. Knowing the code and being familiar with technologies means providing a solution that developers can easily implement. Technologies are changing fast, so designers might want to follow the trends.

Myth or truth #5: It’s easy to find a job or shift to a designer career

— It’s a truth. But also with context.

I’ll be honest: It’s not a big deal to become a designer.

You can learn trends, basic rules, design activities, pass design courses for beginners, prepare a portfolio, and be ready to answer the questions on your first job interview. But to consider yourself a professional, you need to gain experience.

How to start a career as a UX Designer

Our thanks to our partner site wearecommunity.io.

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