When I first started my career as a Software Developer, I had a very minimal knowledge of the Front-end development. Though my knowledge was enough to start my career as a Full Stack developer, but I still had a long way to go. The first thing I learnt was about CSS frameworks like Bootstrap, which can hugely reduce the development time and effort. I can simply import the framework files and get a few predefined classes that made the front-end responsive and cleaner. Now that my website is responsive and beautiful, so is that it? If you would have asked me this question 5 years back, I would have probably said YES! but the actual answer is NO!
So What’s Still Missing Then?
The answer was simple and a bit complex at the same time. While the User Interface is all about “how the front-end would appear to a user?” but “how easy it is for the user to get their work done?” was still missing. User Interface is just the first part of the huge puzzle called user psychology. A button on your website can be both beautiful and unusable at the same time. Let’s say the button looks like a tag, then user might not know/feel that it is clickable. User Experience is very important to create a product that is not only beautiful but also highly usable.
User Interface vs User eXperience [ELI5]
Every product having a User Interface (UI) also have a User Experience (UX). You can consider the front-end just like a coin. A coin have two faces if UI is the one facing you then the other face is UX. It might not be directly visible but it is there. If an element is interactive on the interface it will leave an impact on the user. If the product interface is not designed with a good UX, then the chances of users switch to a competing product increases. Often times it is quite difficult to explain how to distinguish between the two. Let’s try to understand it with an example.
UI dictates how a feature looks to a user whereas UX dictates how easy it is to use. In the example above the two ketchup bottle have different UIs and therefore different UXs. The design of the bottle on top left image looks sleek at first glance. When you try to pour the ketchup out, it is easier when it is full but becomes increasingly difficult after each use. This makes the UX of the first bottle bad as it is difficult to use after a few times. The second ketchup on the other hand looks counter intuitive as the pouring end is below the bottle. It takes advantage of gravity and therefore is equally easy to pour the ketchup out till the very end. This makes the UX of the bottle very good.
The above example illustrates that UX of your product is as important as the UI when it comes to user retention. Though these are not the only parameters that affect user retention, there are also many other factors at play. These are the one’s that are most visible and should be taken care of from start.
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