UXD Focus: Ryan Spencer on User Interface and User Experience

Most people considering a career in UXD may not fully understand the difference between user interface vs. user experience, but it’s a critical piece of of knowledge to understand. Ryan Spencer, a UX professional, explains these concepts in the most simple, yet matter-of-fact way possible.

“There’s a lot of confusion between UI and UX, user interface and user experience,” said Spencer. “To me, I own the user interface; that’s what I make. But the user experience belongs to you, the user. No matter what I think [as a developer], ultimately, the experience is yours.”

UI vs. UX may seem complex to grasp on the surface, but they are interrelated, despite their unique differences. UI is the user interface, which is what the designer creates, while UX relates to the user experience, or the way an individual experiences the product that he or she is engaging with. Ultimately a UXD professional’s job is to create an end-user interface that delivers an engaging, successful, and enjoyable digital experience for an individual or consumer. One of the best ways to accomplish this task as a UX designer is to put yourself in the seat of the user who will be interacting with what you’ve created.

While you’ll never be able to fully capture the desired experience for every person, this exercise, at the very least, will give you a general idea of how to develop something that not only works, but is free from any issues that may lead to frustration and ultimately, a negative experience. “As a designer building things, we all have our arrogance – our ego – and we want to have things the way we want them,” Spencer said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit hard to let go and build the thing the user wants. But you have to change your mindset and find the enjoyment in building something for other people. That’s what it’s about.”

As an industry, UXD is expanding rapidly and there is a great need for individuals who excel at being creative, but who also understand the customer journey and building the path toward giving people what they need and want. The career opportunities in the field of user experience design are endless, with the ability to continuously challenge yourself and push your personal and professionally.

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