Defining UX Research & UI Design

Considering the many design acronyms in the industry, it’s no surprise to see confusion over terminology. Nevertheless, knowing the difference is key to delivering the best customer experience. While there are similarities and overlapping skill sets among the two disciplines, there are important distinctions between User Experience Research and User Interface Design. 

Role of the User Experience (UX) Researcher

We all interact with digital products and services everyday. Even the screen you’re viewing provides you with countless content and browsing experiences. We’re interacting with a product from the moment we wake up and look at the time on our mobile device, and each one of these daily interactions provide value to our lives in some way. The role of the UX Researcher is to discover and define opportunities to improve these experiences. We do so by conducting usability inspections and assessments, gathering customer feedback, and running and analyzing usability experiments.

The overall goal of UX Research is to create optimal value for the customer. The end result of an effective research engagement is a qualitative and quantitative data set, along with actionable insights that inform critical decisions in the design process. To be effective in this process, a UX researcher must be specialized in their knowledge of current standards and research methods. They must also be experts regarding human interaction with digital products across multiple industries and hardware devices.

Role of the User Interface (UI) Designer

The UI Design process focuses on designing the product interface and functionality. The objective is delivering a product that incorporates goals defined by UX Research while taking into account standard design principles. The UI Designer is specialized in their knowledge of mobile and web design standards, and how particular design decisions impact customer experience. More recently, it’s also become critical to have a deep awareness of Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and Google’s Material Design Guidelines, which are increasingly influential in the world of modern interface design.

Awareness of accessibility standards is also a critical component of the UI Design process. The ability for customers with impairments to experience quality interactions is protected by federally regulated requirements, and it’s critical that each set of designs incorporate these requirements. Additionally, a great UI designer knows how to effectively work with project stakeholders and brand design guidelines to optimize the value of the design for the business.


CRi Solutions focuses on UX Research and UI Design as critical processes in building quality products that customers love. We provide both research and design projects as stand alone services or combine them with our mobile and web development services.

Preston Halstead
I joined CRi as a User Experience Designer in 2016. Originally a pre-med student in college, I found myself fascinated by the human mind. After completing an internship in behavioral neuroscience I began a focus on human-computer interaction. As a UX professional I'm continually fascinated by the impact of great products on human mood and behavior.
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