What’s the difference between UX design and UI design?

Think architecture and interior design.

Free course promotion image

Free course: Introduction to UX Design

What is UX? Why has it become so important? Could it be a career for you? Learn the answers, and more, with a free 7-lesson video course.

UX vs UI

Let’s say we’re building a new five star hotel. The most important designer on that project would be the architect. They’ll answer the big questions like:

  • What are we building?
  • Why are we building it?
  • Who are we building it for?
  • What’s it going to look like when it’s finished?

From the high level concepts down to the detailed designs of the bathroom, the architect’s influence is everywhere. The hotel structure, how it’s laid out, how the guests flow through it, the proportions of the rooms. It’s a critical leadership role.

The second most important designer on the project is the interior designer. Now, our five star hotel is going to be a particular type of hotel. It could be a business hotel, a hipster hotel or a hotel for what the tourists. And we’ll want it to have a particular atmosphere or feeling. And it’s the responsibility of the interior designer to bring these characteristics to life.

They’ll define the hotel’s aesthetic; the lighting, the colour schemes, the hard and soft furnishings, the quality of the materials. It’s the look, it’s the feel and it’s the very personality of the hotel. Combine these two types of design and we’ll have our high quality five star hotel.

The difference between UX and UI designers

And in a similar way in the tech industry, you need to combine good UX design and good UI design to create high quality software products:

  • UX designers are the architects defining the who, the what and the why. Designing the structure and the flow of the product.
  • UI designers play the interior designer role, defining the looks, the aesthetics, and bringing the product’s personality to life.

Both roles are critical, but just like architecture, UX is more fundamental. Hope that helps you understand the difference between UX design and UI design.

Professional Diploma in UX Design

Build your UX career with a globally recognised, industry-approved qualification. Get the mindset, the confidence and the skills that make UX designers so valuable.

Course starts

9 January 2024

Course price


View course details