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UX vs UI vs CX: What’s the Difference? by@EVelyn.J

UX vs UI vs CX: What’s the Difference?

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Evelyn Hacker Noon profile picture

Evelyn

A writer by day and a reader by night, Evelyn is a blogger and content marketer from Australia.

You might have heard user experience (UX), user interface (UI) and customer experience (CX) being used interchangeably. Even some of the most seasoned and professional marketers and designers confuse these terms. 

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Of course, if you work in any of these spaces, you might find this a tad bit annoying. But looking at things from an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy to get confused with terminologies that have similar meanings yet are fundamentally different. 

So to clear up any confusions —I will try my best to explain these terms individually and also shed light on how they are related. 

Let’s start. 

What is User Experience (UX)?

The sole focus of user experience (UX) is to optimize a product or service to the complete satisfaction of the customer.  It focuses on achieving this goal by enhancing the usability, accessibility and enjoyability of whatever is being offered. 

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Don Norman, the co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Consultancy is said to have coined the term “user experience” in the 1990s. According to him; “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”

Notice how the definition doesn’t include any mention of tech or the internet. That’s because it’s from a time when the world wasn’t so digitized. While UX could include any engagement of prospects and customers with a brand, its definition has become strictly digital over the years. 

UX is about creating a smooth journey for customers. This journey includes customers visiting a website, browsing around, selecting a product and navigating to the checkout. But it does not end here. It goes until the confirmation of the order, delivery and customer services. 

At the heart of UX is the drive to help users accomplish their goals and solve a particular problem they might have. In many ways, this makes UX a fundamental concept of marketing as products and services are created to resolve a particular issue. 

What is the User Interface (UI)?

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User interface (UI) is the point of interaction between the brand and customers. It’s about optimizing the interface that users interact with during a specific portion of their journey.

Interfaces encompass everything from the design of fields and buttons to the layout of the website and application. If your website is using attractive fonts to catch the visitor’s attention, that is part of UI.

Think of it in this way —when you go to a supermarket, the way goods are placed and shopping carts are organized is a part of the UI design. So if one is to say that UI is a part of UX, they won’t be completely wrong. The overall user experience consists of multiple factors and user interface is one of them. 

Customers could even interact with multiple interfaces in their entire journey. The look, feel and interactivity of a product is something that concerns a UI professional.

What is Customer Experience (CX)?

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Customer experience is extremely similar to user experience. But there is a small difference. Unlike UI which focuses solely on customer’s satisfaction with a product or service, CX is centered on the customer's entire experience. 

It is impacted by multiple user experiences . A consumer can have different experiences with the same brand. CX is a combination of all these, across all channels where brands engage the customer.

Since customer experience is more holistic, it doesn’t just concern the online channels but in-store ones as well. Brands often go an extra mile to establish a good CX, aligning different channels such as social media and customer service. 

In Conclusion

Even though they have different implications, UX, UI and CX are closely linked. Customer experience (CX) is the combination of user experiences that people have with the brand. 

Brands have different channels and experiences within these channels constitute user experience. (UX), meaning there could be multiple UXs. Meanwhile, the interface with which customers interact is the user interface (UI). They might interact with these at different points in their journey. 

UI is a part of UX, which is a part of CX. All of these are interdependent on one another and you can create an engaging experience if you’re either  one. Good customer experience needs good user experiences, which require good user interfaces. 

Why Does it Even Matter?

The glossary of digital marketing is often hard to understand. Concepts often overlap which could understandably create a confusion. However, understanding these key terminologies will go a long way in achieving marketing success.

Companies that provide a better UX, UI and CX will always have an edge over their rivals. And considering the competitive nature of today’s market, you need any advantage you can have. At the end of the day, customers have the final say. Quality UI, UX, and CX mean you stay in their good books.

Evelyn Hacker Noon profile picture
by Evelyn @EVelyn.J.A writer by day and a reader by night, Evelyn is a blogger and content marketer from Australia.
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