User Interface vs. User Experience

By Michael Flanakin @ 3:59 AM :: 15124 Views :: User Experience :: Digg it!

I mentioned Mobile-ready link I might have an opportunity to get Simon Guest Mobile-ready link Syndicated feed and company to work on a user experience prototype for a project I'm working on. He came by last week to talk to a few people and the response was very good, which I was glad to see. Of course, that doesn't mean it'll happen. There's still the security issues that need to be worked out, since its a government customer. This honestly shouldn't be a problem since neither the data nor the code is what Simon's team has an interest in, but such is the life...

In one of the meetings we had, Simon made a comment that I thought was very interesting. One guy was talking about having Simon's team do the user experience prototype on a webpart. Simon basically responded stating that deciding what to show in a webpart is more about user interface than user experience -- downloading and using the latest and greatest controls doesn't necessarily mean you're delivering a great user experience. Thinking about it, this made a lot of sense. Of course, I'm probably bastardizing the whole thing. What I pretty much got out of it was that the difference between user experience and user interface, in part, lies within the context of that interface and its presentation to the user. User interface is a subset of user experience in that a user interface defines what the user can see and/or do. User experience is more about how the user gets the job done; specifically the ease of use aspect of that interaction.

This concept of UI vs. UX pretty much strikes right into the heart of the idea that throwing up pretty pictures equates to a good user experience. Not to knock graphic design's importance, but interaction design is a must-have when it comes to improving user experience.