UI/UX – What kind of User Experience do you want?

As a product owner, navigating the digital landscape requires more than understanding the acronyms that flood our spaces; it requires diving deep into the user’s psyche and journey. Two terms, UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience), have been particularly misused and interchanged in discussions across boardrooms, design studios, and online platforms. However, the essence of software design transcends these terminologies; it’s about choreographing delightful, intuitive experiences that resonate on a human level.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Misconceptions have led many to believe that UI, the cosmetic layer—the buttons, images, and typography—is a sole driver of a product’s experience. This surface-level interpretation overlooks that UI is but a component of the holistic UX. UX encompasses all interactions between a user and a company, its services, and its products. It’s the “feeling” one gets during and after interacting with a system.

Steve Jobs, a visionary in design-thinking, said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” This philosophy is about stripping away the non-essentials and delivering a seamless, meaningful experience. It’s not the shell, but the essence, not the container, but the content.

Let’s extrapolate this from realms outside the software industry to understand better:

  • Hospitality: Imagine walking into a hotel; the UI represents the decor, the ambient music, the layout, and the check-in desk. The UX, however, is how the staff greets you, the ease of check-in, the way directions to your room are communicated, and how your preferences are anticipated and catered to. It’s about the entire stay, encapsulating each micro-interaction and your emotional response.


  • Automobile Design: In the automotive industry, UI is what you see and touch; the design, the display panels, the texture of the seats. UX, on the other hand, is how it feels to drive the car, the ease of finding controls without taking your eyes off the road, the car’s response to your actions, and the comfort of the journey. It’s what makes you love driving a particular model—the experience beyond the aesthetics.

In both instances, a delightful experience is a fine orchestration of good UI and excellent UX. They need to work in tandem. A beautiful hotel with poor service fails its guests, as does a stunning car that offers an uncomfortable ride.

So, when we design software or any product, we must ask, “What kind of experience do we want to provide?” It’s imperative to delve into the user’s journey, empathize with their needs, frustrations, and aspirations, and then design the interface. We’re not creating software; we’re creating experiences, moments, and memories.

We can draw inspiration from the idea that the best products do two things well: features and details. Features are what draw people to your product. Details are what keep them there. And it is within these details that the UI and UX dance begins.

It’s time we correct our understanding and application of UI and UX. As product owners, let’s pledge to create more than just products or services. Let’s design delightful journeys, build lasting relationships, and make a mark not just in the consumer’s mind, but in their heart. After all, in the symphony of the digital product experience, UI and UX compose the harmonious music that makes our souls sing.

Schedule a virtual coffee chat

To learn more about your opportunities, competitiveness, and how you can take advantage of your opportunities from our point of view.

More to explore