We have seen tons of apps and applications big ones, small ones, beautiful ones, ugly ones, live ones, dead ones and each moment with them is either memorable or has barred our feelings into visiting them again. Software has become a way of living, it is there to help us wake up, help us prepare, work, interact to our needs and help us to sleep to wake up again. Our needs with software is different but either way, we want it to massage our feelings.

Software design is growing viral with new platforms and styles coming oito the market. Software is visual, does not wear out in time but can be outdated. Intangible. Anticipated to eat the world.

"Good software is the engine of today's world"

H. Jeske

Two elements that make software what it is are the User Interaction (UI) and User Experience (UX). The two focuses on the user but differences between the two have a line drawn to separate them from each other, the debate around them is big and dangerous. UX design involves user interactivity/usability with the application, how the user feels inside about using the software application. UI design takes credit for the implementation of components that are used to collect users' data, information flow and the logic of the application.

Functional vs Non-functional requirements

cheers to the developers; the web masters, mobile ninjas, code crunchers/munchers. Reality is, most programmers don't give much detail to usability never mind design of their software products. One of the common things you hear from our Geekulcha developers: "Eh guy I'm not designer neh? I'm a developer". UI/UX is just a "later feature" to most developers. It's like building a house: Does this meet the standards (4 walls, roof and a floor) of a house? Yes! I will put in windows and doors later. Ideally, developers and designers go together like horse and carriage in making the best of the software product.

Customer vs User

There are cases where developers are building a product for a customer (can be a user) who aims to distribute it to masses of users. Most customers make a mistake of basing the software design based on their own feelings/likings. The customer must be advised to have in mind, "User Centered" design.

For the sake of this debate on UI vs UX, we have called on three of our members to give their contribution on this topic.

"Well as a UI and UX designer I can say that both of them are really important on the success of our site, mobile or desktop app. The first thing that I consider when creating an app is to make the user life easy and keep work minimal as he tries to reach a certain goal using my app. What I mean by the last sentence is that aspects like defining the app structure and find the appropriate navigation are fundamental and should always come first before any graphics.

I think UX is actually the base and the invisible part of an application that touches our feelings. A great UI starts with a great job done by the UX designer and sometimes it can be the same person. I personally like the UI designing process and I always try to keep it minimal by translating everything that I can to pictures so that it could intuitively have users attention."

Dario Mungoi - Mobile Apps Developer/Designer

“Well, as a graphic designer, I would say that I am naturally attracted by user interface design. I believe that the appearance of a website, mobile communication devices or software plays a role as important as its functionality. However, User Experience is as important as the way the target interacts with a device influences pretty much the overall experience that they will keep about the app/device/website.

To make it short, UI and UX are definitely related in my point of view, you as one must keep in mind the functionality and the user experience when designing. I may be getting more and more into UI but UX is a field that I will definitely explore further in the nearest future.”

Marilyn Ekoka - Graphic Designer

"The first ultimate goal on these two rivals should always be in parallel with "User centered design incentives". UX design is a very important but it can be hard to satisfy the needs of different people of different age groups, generation, and educational background, among others. Therefore, UX should be given enough credit as being the basis of an application, as it is the one that addresses the user needs of the application directly.

User interface designers ensure that the application gets what it wants and the user get the information they want with the physical elements on the application, I must admit though, UI designers do deserve a very nice vacation to Hawaii for the delicate work they put in. UX stands out for me because there wouldn’t be no users if it was not there. I also do acknowledge that the two complements each other, “We are in this together Jack”.

Whatever your feelings may be, UI/UX are important elements to have in your software design. Not only are the "best practices", you ensure usability and maintainability of your application. One question to keep in mind, "Will previous users return to use my application again?" These may be our personal opinions. It's up to you how you look at the two principles. Here is something worth noting, have a look at Shniederman's Eight Golden rules of design to help you make the right decisions.

Tiyani Nghonyama - Systems Developer

Thanks to the contributors to this article; Tiyani Nghonyama, Dario Mungoi and Marilyn Ekoka.