In the software development space there is lots of talk about smart design. Whether it is UI vs. UX or Java vs. Python, the way in which you design and develop your software has a significant effect on not just the user experience, but the overall success of the software. Unless you are purposeful about your development, you will likely miss the warning signs before it is too late.

Thankfully, we have put together 5 tips that will help you better understand how to design with intent. In this article, we will review the basics of both UI vs. UX as well as how each of them can benefit both the usability and effectiveness of your software. It is our hope that along the way you will discover why good design is a necessity when it comes to creating a great product. Let’s get into it.

ui vs. ux

UI vs. UX

First, we should review the definitions when it comes to UI vs. UX. Although they are similar in both name and definition, the differences between these two design frameworks make all the difference. For instance, while UI is defined as:

The design of user interfaces for machines and software with the focus on maximizing usability and the user experience.

UX is defined as:

The process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.

Each of these frameworks are geared towards making the user experience more appealing. However, while UI focuses on the interface with which users will engage, UX seeks to create a pleasurable design for the entire process. Now that you understand the differences between UI vs. UX, you may still be wondering, why does it matter? We’re glad you asked.

The need for good design

Good design is hard to find and when you do encounter a well-designed piece of software, you remember it. Not only because the design makes the software easier to use, but because it is an essential part of the overall product. UX and UI design are both frameworks within which good design can flourish and can be the difference between a good software product and a great one.

The reason we talk about this kind of design and the idea of designing with intent is that it will never happen by accident. For anyone who wants to create a great piece of software, UX and UI are how you get there. You have to be intentional, thoughtful, and aware of your users in order to create a great product, which is exactly what we are here to help guide you through. Let’s take a look at some of the principles of UI and UX.

1. Forget the script

Part of designing with intent and understanding UI vs. UX is the ability to operate within a framework without sticking to the script. Far too many designers are too afraid of taking risks that they stick with the guidelines and what they know. However, good design is built upon forgetting the script and creating something new.

When you are working on software product development, instead of letting the set script for guide you, focus on the design at hand. Rely on user stories, customer feedback, and hard data to shape the way you think as you craft this software. By designing for the users and not simply to meet an arbitrary goal you will be able to create much better software.

2. Think outside of the box

Along with taking risks and getting off script, practicing good UI and UX design means thinking outside of the box. This can manifest itself in many different ways, depending on the kind of design work you are doing. Some experts recommend spending time with a different area of the company to refresh your mind and see things from other perspectives.

Whatever it is you decided to do in order to get out of your comfort zone, take the time to do it. If all you are thinking about is your design, you might forget one of the principles of UX design, which is to be human. User experience is all about creating design that best fits the way humans interact with it, so take some time to be human when you are working on your project.

3. Recycle your creations

Although it may now sound like a “think outside of the box” idea, designing with intent means making the most out of your time, which sometimes means you will need to recycle your creations or post projects. Obviously, we don’t mean that you should use the same design for every project, but when was the last time you went back and reviewed your old work?

This is not only a great way to find inspiration in your own work, but it can be a good time to perform any maintenance necessary for your software. By taking a break from the constant want for new things, you can learn from previous experience and uncover new insights into your design.

4. Perform regular audits of your design process

As we mentioned earlier, UI and UX design are not only centered on the end-user experience, but making the entire process as efficient as possible, especially when working in software development. Part of designing with intent is recognizing areas you need to improve on and finding ways to develop as well as you possibly can.

Some questions to ask yourself and your team include:

  • Does what we do, still serve the organization in the way it was intended when we started doing it?
  • If the answer to that is no, why is it no? What can we do better?
  • If the answer to that is yes, what can be done better in terms of efficiency, output, etc?
  • Is there anything we do that doesn’t meet any team or organizational needs?
  • What has changed in the business recently? What can we do to make sure our work reflects that?

By performing regular audits of both your design team and process, you are able to find new ways to design for your customers you might not have found otherwise.

ui designer

5. Keep up to date on design trends

The final aspect of designing with intent we will cover today is keeping up with design trends. The UI vs. UX discussion is a breeding ground for new ways of doing things, new productivity tools, and strategies for overcoming design difficulties. By keeping up with these changes, you are able to offer the best possible design to your customers.

There are many different ways of keeping up with design trends, but one we highly recommend is InVision. They are full of good resources and know good design better than most. Regardless of where you find your trends, figure out what works for you and try your best to stay ahead of the curve.