Developers, UX is not UI, learn that and stop trivializing!

Dear visitor: Please keep in mind that this post is originally from Vibor Cipan's personal blog, the name of which we eventually adopted as our company name together with its conveniently-named URL. We're keeping the posts on our official company blog for all the subscribers to Vibor's blog who have read and commented on his previous posts. Please be aware that this post represents Vibor's personal thinking few years ago and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the UX Passion as a company today. 

Rarely passes a day when I don’t get invitation to some product demonstration, technology showcase claiming to be a presentation about UX. In most cases  – developers show new UI controls, tech, code and claim to be „talking about UX“. I say stop trivializing – and learn the facts!

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned

I do come from developer and science background. I do understand and write some code therefore I understand developers’ lingo and overall logic. What I don’t understand is when developers who claim to be talking about UX (user experience) , just keep demoing new UI controls and show us some technology demonstrations. Nice, neat, extremely important and cool I’d say – but that is not UX. Stop trivializing it and learn the facts.

Today, on Twitter, and later on the e-mail I’ve received an invitation to the LiveMeeting named something like „Building great user experiences with Silverlight 4“, before that, last week while at Microsoft Windays conference – same story – two lectures, two developers, really respected in their field and community demoing some nice tech things and calling it user experience. It was painful, frustrating and just plain wrong. (I’ll ignore the missed facts even in the tech part of the presentation – hell people can get confused thinking that Silverlight 4 is something that is powering Windows Phone 7 devices even if those people are MVPs. We all end up making mistakes and that is not a problem here…) However, talking about new user interface controls like RichtTextBox and showing the code how to connect it to database and work with that is simply not UX. It can be called UI, UI development, even UI design (somewhat) but it is not UX. So, please, stop trivializing it and learn the facts.

And while this might be just my personal feeling,  I am under impression that this kind of misunderstanding and trivialization of UX comes mostly from the developer-centric cultures like ones from Microsoft, Sun and IBM. Reason more for those companies to keep investing and educating all parties involved – you owe that to the customers and to the community of practice! Good things have been done so far – but obviously much more needs to be done.

But we love buzzwords (though we have no idea what they mean)

I know UX is cool buzzword, (there are many more, most of them are acronyms…)  and it is sometimes so tempting to use those buzzwords without really understanding what they mean – but, apart from the fact that this will make you look like a dilettante in the community of practice, it is just wrong. If we tend to call ourselves a professionals then we should act like ones – and that means being ready to accept and learn new things even if they are not in our primary field of expertise. If I’m talking about new controls and UI patterns being built with *Insert_Your_Technology_Here* then let’s call them UI and not UX things.

Definition of UX?

What is UX then? I’m not going to reinvent the wheel but here are some popular resources that will help you to understand (and learn) the difference:

And one of the nicest articles on this topic: UX design versus UI development by  UX Matters and Mike Hughes.

But at least, if you just can’t help yourself and like to use UX and talk about user experience (even though you know you are talking about UI and UI development), then, for the sake of your clients and users – practice at least some of the UX approaches and techniques. Or ask for a help form UX professional – there are many great, bright and talented people out there. And they really do UX, not just talk about it.

Let’s keep in touch – You should follow me on Twitter now!

Comments (54)

  1. Actually technologies are driving the UX, so “Building great user experiences with Silverlight 4″ is absolutely relevant. Or you can build a great UX having tools for building only Console applications?

    • Building UX is not equal to building user interfaces. Tools and technologies here are just something that helps you build UX. Console apps? Sure – they can be examples of great user experiences if they perform well, fulfill user’s expectations and contribute to the client’s bottom line. So yes – technologies, tools, methods, patterns and processes are extremely important – they do contribute significantly (if not mostly) to the end user’s experiences, but they are not UX itself. Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it!

      • Agree, for me, the best tools for doing much things with text files are grep and sed. Well thought and easy to remember syntax, powerfull, fast. Ok, user is here CLI user but I think it is important to note one thing. UX is not about UI but It is also not about GUI.

        • Hi Davor,
          Just had this discussion this morning in the office – console can be great UX given the circumstances and overall environment. As you put it nicely – UX is not about UI but it is also not about GUI! Thanks for that!

      • Thanks for defining UX in your own words…
        I am the prototypical developer you so incompletely ostracized with your rant here. Without clicking on any of the links you claim would give me the true definition, I can only imagine that UX is just another buzzword created by those with “developer and science background[s]” who chose rather to become an architect or “evangelist” or some such other obscure title and create new terminology every few months to describe the same old same old and then tell us we haven’t a clue what they’re talking about…which, in the end, is absolute fact; I have no idea what you are talking about.
        To say, only for example, that Silverlight is not a tool for creating great new user experience is to ignore the fact that it is. If the presenters in your example failed to touch on that by focusing only on UI tools, does that mean it’s not?
        One cannot “build” user experience. Sorry, but no matter what UX means to you or to anyone else, user experience is an intangible quality of a UI, good or bad, the user experience relies on the UI to be relevant. I have seen really bad UI which translates to really bad user experience. Conversely, I have seen great UI which curiously enough offers great user experience.
        So, as a developer, I can say, without reservation, hand me a good design, good requirements, and a good architecture, and I will develop an elegant UI that will provide a great user experience. However, as a designer or architect, the end resulting user experience is more on you than me, and berating us, once again for not wanting to know your job any more than you want to know ours doesn’t help make the development process any more synergistic. Oh, how you like that buzzword? I know it is passé now, having been replaced, I’m sure, by something even more obscure and cool sounding, but hey, I’m a developer; I still like TNG…

        • oh, and Dr. Pepper; I really like Dr. Pepper too!

          • Thanks for the comment iGanja. As I’ve said, my intention was not to ostracize anyone and also I’d suggest that you actually DO read the links and resources I’ve put in the post – so, UX is hardly a buzzword in terms you’ve described it to be, but – this is open blog and anyone can write whatever they want.

            I must say that I wholeheatedly agree with this:

            However, as a designer or architect, the end resulting user experience is more on you than me, and berating us, once again for not wanting to know your job any more than you want to know ours doesn’t help make the development process any more synergistic.

            And that is why conversations are important and mutual understanding is needed. Buzzwords? To hell with them anyhow…

            TNG fan here as well, TOS was not bad also.

            Thanks for the comment!

  2. Recently I heard form one developer that “a great user experience depends directly on your database – if you create a great model you will have a great UX”. But, as you mentioned, I understand what UX means to him. At least I think I understand…

    Nice read, though!

    • Hi Janko,
      Thanks for comment – database and its performance IS something that contributes to the UX. No doubt about that – fast and responsive apps, clear and understandable forms, well-sized objects for touch interactions, content, error messages – it’s all part of UX. But just adding the new UI controls on top of your app and saying how cool they are, how well they perform and how skinnable they are – it’s not UX. We can call it platform, we can agree that it is needed for great experiences (and it surely is) but we cannot out “equal” between showcasing new controls and technologies and UX.

      • Totally agree. I hear such stories almost daily and I think developers need to be educated more on the importance of UX and their role in the entire process. It makes a work of a designer easier :)

        • Yes – I mean, let’s face it – developers do have extremely important role – both as persons involved in process but also as ones who are often facilitating the development process itself. We, experience and service designers can offer them blueprints, guides, specs, wireframes, you name it – and eventually they will build it – if, along the way,, they do understand that UX and UX design is not “making controls to look nice” but rather something that has measurable ROI and significantly contributes to the brand, customer loyalty and retention and other business goals – then we are all heading good direction – one that will prove to be useful for our clients, and foremost, for end-users.

  3. what you’re saying maybe right, I’m not questioning that. however when are being extremely particular about the denifitions used by developers you should take care to double check your article so that it makes full sense and that it is grammatically correct!

    Also, a brief explanation of what you think UX is and it’s difference to UI would have made your rant much more credible, instead I feel mal-informed and now have to go somewhere else to find out the difference between UX and UI.
    Thanks for that.

    • Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry about grammatical mistakes – English is not my mother tongue. As for what “I think that UX is” – I’ll go along the lines of many fine people who have given their views on this – and you can read those by following links I’ve provided in the article. I don’t need to reinvent the wheel…

      Also, when you are saying that I’m being extremely particular about the definitions used by developers – what exactly do you refer to? I was referring to several presentations, web-casts, tutorials and other events where I was able to attend and that is what has been inspiration for this post.

      Again, many thanks for your comment and time you put in to read it! It is really appreciated.

    • Logs & motes, Sam: “it’s” means “it is.” ;)

      • UPDATE: Just went through my blog post and didn’t see those thingies :) Now I see you pointed at Sam’s comment.

        Thanks, will fix this right away, thanks Joe! Really, really, appreciated!

  4. I confess: Always confuse what is really UX. I read two text by Mashable and the concept presented on NN Group site and NOW, and now I finally understand what UX (UX Design too) represents.

    Great articles. And congratulations for more knowledge. =]

    • Thank you so much for this comment – I’m really happy that you’ve found it to be useful for you!

      All the best!

  5. You’re dead right on this one. At a recent Seedcamp I asked a startup what their thinking was on UX and then sat for half an hour listening to them tell me how great their UI was. And actually, they were right – it was a pretty nice looking UI. But the underlying UX sucked. Big time. Fundamental disconnect between the mental model of the average user and the way they had mapped the UX of the product.

    Sadly, I’m not sure that even after explaining it to them for 20 minutes they really understood my point. Oh well.

    Good post. Thanks


    • Thanks Ian for your comment and for sharing your experience. I think that UX is even more so crucial for startups since there are so many of them and utilizing the UX as a market differentiator might be key goal for them (apart from the fact that UX is there for users, of course).

  6. Now I’m confused….isn’t Silverlight powering Windows Phone 7??

    • It is, but it is Silverlight 3 not Silverlight 4 :)

      • OK, it is known fact that WP7 is powered by SL3. So you are saying that WP7 is a bad UX? Just trying to put that in context….

        • Oh, OK, I see – I’m sorry I’ve caused misunderstanding – While at WinDays conference I’ve been at some lectures where guys, MVPs, really respected in the industry were simply mixing the facts about what version of Silverlight will be powering Windows Phone 7 devices. They were claiming it will be 4, rather it is version 3. As for WP7 UX – I think it is, mark my words, superior to many other mobile experiences currently availble on market. However, we need to see devices since they are significant factor in the overall UX. If we limit ourselves only to what is available to us within emulators, demos and that kind of stuff – then I’m huge fan of both WP7 and its mobile user experience. As a matter of fact, you can expect to see some really great thing coming from FatDUX Zagreb related to those WP7 experiences and I’ll be sure to share those with you.

          I hope this puts thing better into the context!

          Thanks so much for your comment – it is really appreciated!

  7. Calling out the developers that use buzz words to try and pitch their ideas is what I love doing.

    Just posted a pic of the poster I have labeled “Designing the User Experience” –

    I am always careful to say that “This adds to the overall user experience.” or “This is part of the user experience.” Never do I call something UX just impress people. I still like what really cool UI can add to the overall UX.

  8. What offends me in this text is your interpretation that only developers mix concepts UI / UX and that only developers don’t understand what which concept represents. I think there is no need to generalized things, and if you had a case where a man (let’s call him developer) incorrectly expressed him self, it is matter of the individual.

    There is no need to talk only about Developers in this whole story, and I think you should correct the article (remove completely developers word).

    • Hello Haris,
      Thanks for comment. You are right to some extent – but inspiration for this text (and title as well) is coming directly from developers and developers’ communities. I don’t think it is generalization – and it is not a case of single individual (let’s call him a developer as you’ve said) it’s something that is now, more than even before, becoming a trend. Just take a look at number of different presentations about any (RIA) technology given by developers or developer evangelists and you will see UX in almost every title, when there is nothing about “real” UX in those presentations. It’s wrong approach and not the way to connect with community of practice.

      I agree that devs are not the only ones missing the term here, hell, I know bunch of visual, print and graphic designers missing the facts as well. But I wanted to target developers since, to me, this seems the community which is mostly mis-using the term since they are relevant and related to UI & UX, as well. I mean, my mom probably doesn’t know the difference as well, but she is not the one with such significant impact on this while, developers definitely are significant and crucial for the overall UX implementation and strategy.

      My intention was not to offend anyone, and I’m sure no one has been offended – I wanted to make people think about this and think twice before they say UX when they are thinking UI, GUI or something else. This goes for all of us – devs, designers, architects, CEOs…

      Title stays the same.

      Thanks for comment – I really appreciate it!

      • Thnx for reply,
        i know that “buzz words” are over-used (and often abused as you say it) anyways if you wanted my attention, with this post, you got it :)

        Keep up the good work,

        • No problem Haris, I’m glad we understand each other. Živio ;)

  9. Finally someone said it! I hate when developers say: I did (developed) this trick, it is so user-friendly. NO IT IS NOT, because I just came back from the user test, and people represent different mental models, that your solution does not cover at all. What you did is against how people behave on test, how psychology describe it and how human factors suggest. So please, don’t give me your pseudo-UX bull shit and let me do my job!

    • All right there are some harsh words here, but I see your point :)
      I think that this is actually a good topic for new blog post – different mental models and how are they being reflected to UI and overall UX.

      Again, thanks for comment!

      • Ok.. maybe I went too far! I am aware that this is a generalization and not every developer (or sometimes manager) is acting this way. Brainstorming is always a good way to find solutions. It is just so annoying when people are stubborn and not open minded. Sometimes they think they are experts in UX because they read Nielsen’s Alert Box every week. I believe in the discussion since it is really an exchange of arguments…

        • I (once again) agree with this comment as well. Dilettantes do exist on all sides – just by reading Nielsen’s Alertbox or going through some sample PHP or C# code you are not really an expert. We need to be open and accept differences, but we also must be aware of those differences and other people’s perspectives and insights.

          I’ve read yesterday a great tweet from my friend, Jeff Parks, who used the words of famous physicist Niels Bohr, father of quantum mechanics: “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” It’s a thought worth thinking about!

  10. I think that fact that only developers are the ones who are really having something against this blog post is telling so much more about them, probably even more than they would would want to say themselves.

    I’m proud that someone has finally spoken about this – I’m following you on Twitter and see developers bitching at you over there as well. Keep up the good work!

  11. “UX” is not a new concept. There have been people thinking about user experiences since the invention of the wheel.

    The problem is that now it’s hip to be a UX designer. It’s marketable. In reality, it’s as important as it has ever been.

    People often ask me how I sell UX to my customers. I don’t have to. People don’t come to me and say “design me something that’s hard to use.” Their request for design implies usability, just as my service implies usability work.

    Now it’s exploited as a way to make more money. It’s another line item on an invoice. Deplorable.

    • Hi Josh – this is exactly what UX is – as you said you never have users saying – hey build something ugly and hard to use, I agree – but for something to be easy to use, not ugly, pleasing and dear to users – you need to know your users, figure our they way how they are thinking, what preconceptions they have, what are their expectations and so on – that is not about UI – UI is underlying layer, foundation if you like, but UX is being built on top of it.

      Thanks for your comment Josh, it’s really appreciated!

      • We couldn’t agree more. UI is just a visual implementation of the experience we are trying to create.

  12. First of all, stop trivializing the rest of the process!

    As for UX not being UI design.
    If UXD is supposed to be existent in every stage of the process, and with a software application (obviously what we’re talking about here) the UI is the primary means of interacting with your product. Other than a bit of user testing (that most companies don’t do) how do you plan to implement your UXD other than the interface?

    Development is not UXD?
    If new tools and capabilities are brought on by technical advancement (ajax?) could that not be considered a new facet for UXD? Would it not change the way you work and try to communicate with your users?

    In my opinion, you seem to be forgetting the place of UX (it’s all encompassing, it doesn’t have a ‘place’). User Experience is not necessarily a job title, it’s a term that describes your product’s interaction with a user (web site or no web site). User Experience doesn’t rest on the shoulders of one person, or one stage of the process. By nature, quality User Experience should be something the whole team strives for. Small teams with passion and a clue, may not have (or need) a daily UX guy. They do however still need to think about UX. Since I’m a developer, apparently what I think about UX doesn’t count because I don’t have it on my business card… That’s just silly, and it doesn’t mirror what I have read about UX. Most likely the same books you’ve read judging by what you linked up to attempt a definition.

    If a developer has something they’d like to contribute, wouldn’t you want to know? Why lambaste them because you don’t see it as a decent advancement for UX. One commenter criticized a user-friendly feature that turned out not to be so user-friendly. But you still tested it to find out, isn’t that useful information? Why should your opinion be worth so much more? You tested it for crying out loud.

    Ultimately, I’d say your post is harmful to the UX movement as a whole. It’s as if you want some developer to get off your lawn. As I see it, a UX designer doesn’t get a lawn, he gets a chair on the lawns of engineers, designers, marketers and content creators. She gets to SHARE her ideas and see her work make a difference company wide, this is a blessing and a curse. The fact that other members of this COLLABORATION are trying to think about UX and supply tools that aid in it, is a good thing, not a bad thing. No one is trivializing your role or attempting to infringe on it. UI Design and Development do have something to do with User Experience Design, even if they are not all encompassing.

    UX designers PLEEEASE work with us, not against us.

    • Hello Neil,
      Thanks for this really insightful comment – I appreciate your time and healthy discussion that is going on here. When you say:

      Other than a bit of user testing (that most companies don’t do) how do you plan to implement your UXD other than the interface?

      You can’t take a discipline and try to make its importance smaller just because “most companies” don’t follow and build upon the idea and follow best practices. Yes – as you say – we do test users, we build information architecture, we do try to figure out what are their expectations, what drives them and how we can help them – and yes – if we LIMIT ourselves to user software applications then (G)UI is certainly prominent element of UX design process – but it is not the UX and process itself. I’m not talking about UX process and the role of the one within dev process (there are many discussions going on with regard to that – spanning from agile UX to more conservative and established methods and approaches).

      If a developer has something they’d like to contribute, wouldn’t you want to know? Why lambaste them because you don’t see it as a decent advancement for UX.

      I’m really curios to see what did make you think that this was my idea / intention in this post? Seriously, as I’ve said, I do come from dev background and I work and collaborate with devs on a daily basis – and I’ve said in some of earlier comments that I do recognize and, even more, I do sincerely appreciate dev work and thier unique position and deep understanding of platform. User experience is (also) about great and optimized databases so that my user doesn’t need to wait forever for some SQL querry to execute, great UX is about fast, responsive apps – all the tech fundamentals that developers are building – and noone serious and smart will try to take that away – but when you use some UI control, and talk about how well it works when connected with some XML data source and how easy it is for developers to use methods, events and properties from that control / object – then you are not talking about UX itself – and that is the main point of this post.

      I’m not talking about roles, I’m not talking about process – I’m just pointing out to misuse of terminology and trivializing the fact that UX is not exactly the same as (G)UI is. Interfaces, controls, all dev elements (if I can call them that way) do significantly contribute to overall UX. Designers, developers, architects, testers, QA people – we all build great and contribute to overall user experiences – but just by building an UI and saying “this is great UX” we are seriously making mistakes. Therefore I’m sad to see that you are claiming that I’m trivializing the rest of the process when I’m not event making any points in that direction – that is topic for itself.

      After all, I’ve provided some links to resources I perceive to be relevant to insightful. I guess you’ve took your time to go through them – it’s not about UXers opinion being more important than the one from developer (as you question in your comment), it is, as you ask for – question of collaboration.

      And one last thing – Almost any talk, presentation or conference I was able to give during last few years I was evangelizing designer – developer collaboration. I don’t know your tech background and preferences – I always use XAML / C# and WPF/Silverlight as parts of Microsoft’s stack to and demo and showcase how devs and designers can work together and deliver great UI and overall great UX. I call myself “a devigner” – my role is mostly to connect worlds of designers and developers and to facilitate communication between them in order to improve business process and deliver great results – and trust me – I hear cries “developers PLEEEEASE work with us, not against us” and “UX designers PLEEEEASE work with us, not against us” almost every week. But in order to understand each other, to help each other and to build great experiences for customers and users we must know and understand such basics like that UX is NOT same as UI or other way around.

      At the end, you are pointing out correctly saying that all parties involved should be able to add and say something for UX, and believe me, any good UXers knows that and will do its best to facilitate that kind of interaction within the team. But also, this post is not about that, it’s not about trying to harm any community or to impose some stereotypes. It’s purpose was to educate and to point out some crucial differences. Fact that there are so many reactions to this post certainly means that it is good time and opportunity to get involved and start talking about this and many other topics.

      With that in mind, again, I thank you for your really interesting comment and views you have expressed.

      • I tend to agree with Neil.

        User Experience Design Does Not Exist:

        The term UX as a discipline attempts to rename something that has been around for decades: design management. Or you could just say it’s product design.

        The Nielsen Norman group defines user experience, but doesn’t classify it *as* a discipline. A UI is the visual and interactive part of a product or website that many users would believe is an aggregation of the disciplines they list.

        So, I guess I’m OK with UI or UX- A good UI will have addressed all the interactions a user has with a system- and that’s a good experience for users.

        • Interesting view, thanks for sharing and contributing to this discussion. It’s somewhat radical to propose that UX does not exist. Apart from that blog, do you have any other, relevant, resources? I’d be interested to read more about this!

          Thanks for comment and your time!

        • UI is a subset of UX – an important one but only a subset. UX is very much a cross-disciplinary endeavour which is not catered for just by a GUI. For example, on a product I was working on recently, the entire workflow was taken into account on the UX side. This included the interactions a potential user has with third party companies in face-to-face and phone encounters and went way beyond the user interface. The ultimate aim of UX is to provide users with an experience that is pleasurable through every interaction that they have with it including those not on a computer. Marketing and content, for example, are other subsets of UX as is graphic design and product development (from a business perspective) – the entire customer experience.

          Either way, a combobox with a cooler interface does not represent a new paradigm of user experience. Being able to meet the whole needs of customers (including those who prefer to arrange an appointment online to talk to someone face-to-face) is more like it.

          I had the same discussion many years ago about usability: devs insisted that good usability was represented by a skinnable an interface. Epic fail.

          I guess you could call UX product design about as much as programming is product development: both are correct terms but both are misleadingly simplified in terms of how things are actually done.

          • Nicely said – and I love the real-life experience! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  13. Most of the articles and blogs that I encountered discussed UX from conceptual view, very few that details UX from more concrete view. I’ve just posted a blog on UX with detailed illustrations, check them out

  14. I like this thread, but as usual people may get a little heated. I don’t actually call this a debate, but it is stepping on people’s egos. That happens when you apply some new techno jargon at anyone and there is a huge vacuum of what defines that new title.

    user-experience…. well as a user-experience architect AND user-interface designer I have to know the difference, otherwise I wouldn’t get paid. ;)

    Is there a difference? well UXA (user-experience architects) should have a holistic approach to software. A wheel is a wheel and thrown out for now, but accurate if we were all making only wheels here… ;) For a lot of us, user-experience is a godsend, because they called us sysops, web-masters, information architects, etc… now you see who we really are. ;) Okay, now IA’s for the past decade were guys (okay.. me included) who were tasked at building/improving websites or enterprise applications. We sat around and debated inside those closed door meetings with management about things like layouts, designs, etc. Not much about end-users was even brought up except maybe someones market audience (i.e. personas, etc.)

    Now that we saw all the backlash of customers going to other competitors, we invented a new term for us… user-experience. Is this usability? Is this user-interface design? Is this accessibility? Well, uhm, its all that actually. Its about “EXPERIENCE”… yours? mind? well, everyone who USES whatever you built, will build, already built…

    So think bigger. UXPassion was spot on, but unfortunately English wasn’t his primary language, and he stepped on some people’s toes, because same people angry may possibly have been confused and toted the UI is UX that is common.

    I do both. and if I design a new user-interface, I will definately make sure I have the market-audience (end-user) in mind while I design new widget, component, interface, skin, database connectors (for speed), because all this is integral within a great user-experience.

    I also agree with UXPassion that a lot of the user-interface stuff should be labeled UI’s unless your team has a UXA (architect) or UXD (designer) who can go into all the ways the new UI component, platform, etc will improve the user-experience by being faster, more secure, more robust, more accessible for disabled individuals, more elegant, more flexible, etc.

    A seminar on UX, that discusses only UI components would rattle my nerves unless the above paragraph were incorporated as a major theme otherwise we should use proper language (taxonomy) and label it accordingly as UI and not UX.

    Hope that explains a little more about all this UI vs UX stuff in more friendly terms.

  15. UX is how user interact with the system/things. in the case of the *things* that you want to interface/interact with anything, u need an interface. but if u take it to to specification/detail level, that’s the how. e.g. using a computer, using the web, using a phone or in person, these r the ways of determinating UX. in this sense, making a UI control easier to use is a way to improve UX hence a better UX.

    • Hmmn,

      UX is merely a result of good or bad UI development/design and I suppose anyone following a user centric approach to UI design is naturally going to consider the UX.

      Is there something I missed here? Why would I want to do any more than ensure that my target users are using my software in the way it was intended to be used with minumal stress; or ensuring that my sales presentation or marketing minisite is drawing my users in the way it expected.

      What are they teaching people in the Computer Sciences these days?

      HCI principles were taught back in 2000 when I was studying computer science?

  16. I googled “UI design” and stumbled on to this site. The title of the article was intriguing, so I read on. It seemed to be a lot of bitching about UI not being UX and when you finally get to explaining what UX is … you link out to other websites to do the explaining for you. Wow.

    • Can’t see anything wrong with that – having external references to back-up your idea is not a problem.

  17. Lots of good stuff on this post. User Experience, like Information Architecture is a discipline, a field of study.

    Where I think things get all confused and rile everyone up is when we start confusing that with job titles and roles. There is absolutely nothing that defines that a developer cannot be trained in UX, or an assumption that even as much as he may code the UI, that he is also not involved directly with users through the design process doing user profiles, workflow analysis, paper prototypipng, wireframes, and usability testing. I know lots of experienced developers who also are good designers/architects/analysts, and fill a multi-disciplinary role within their companies (“do more with less and all that”).

    If new technologies such as Silverlight, provide enhanced capabilities for UI development, it provides improved potential for a good User Experience… thus Silverlight can be part of UX. I don’t agree with your premise, and I don’t agree that sessions promoting Silverlight for UX necessarily is trivializing anything.

  18. without the I in UI, what is X is UX?

  19. UI / UX in layman’s terms

    UI (User Interface),(User Interaction)
    UX (User Experience)

    UI some may say is obvious, a UI is the look of the User Interface except it has two meanings.
    UI can also mean User Interaction.

    A UI consist of buttons to make selections of predestination.

    The other is User Interaction.
    User Interaction is what the object can do.
    Objects can change color (when selected) to define if you can use them.
    The Object can also make noise when clicked on or mouse roll over onto the Object.
    User Interactions are considered options that the object has
    within the User Interface.

    That is where User Interaction becomes a part of the
    User Interface.
    User Interaction although still belonging to User Interface;
    together they create User experience.

    User Interface (the object to select and use)

    User Interaction (the objects animation and sound e.g. transition from one scene to the next)

    User eXperience (the way the object makes you feel using the animation and sound of that object; showing you the object has finished being used)


    (User Interface + User Interaction) = User eXperience

  20. I just ran into someone today confusing UX and UI and using these two words interchangeably. Sinful! I’m glad you have addressed it here.


  21. UX is not an acronym unless you say, “ucks.”

  22. Of course, you’re not comapring languages, you’re comapring libraries. But to most people, the batteries included libraries and frameworks *are* the language, and I think that’s a fair comparison to make. I’ve been programming for over 30 years, mostly C/C++/STL/Boost, python/perl/PHP, and I absolutely love Objective-C and Cocoa (touch). Just try writing a GUI app in PHP that looks as slick as an iPhone app and you’ll have an entirely different sort of posting reaching an entirely different conclusion


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