Website Development

The Difference Between UX and UI (And Why They’re so Important)

December 23, 2019

A note from Digistorm: This post was originally published in April 2017. We've updated it to include more relevant information.

When it comes to school websites, there are a number of key design principles to keep in mind, but two of the most important are UX and UI. While these principles may sound similar and work closely together, their roles couldn’t be more different. This might sound a little high-tech, but don’t be discouraged – you certainly don’t need to be a design whizz to get a handle on them! In this post, we’ll break these principles down into digestible bites of information, so that you can confidently tackle your next website build.

 

What is User Experience (UX)?

User Experience (UX) focuses on the design and functionality of a website. Essentially, UX works to ensure a seamless experience for users and meet key business goals. By considering technical website elements such as; the structure of information, fast load times, and website accessibility, UX creates a path for users to follow when they land on the website, design to meet those predetermined business goals. 

Some examples of why you might be looking to build or revamp your school website might include: 

  • Attracting new visitors to your school website
  • Encouraging prospective families to sign up for an open day or tour
  • Increasing new enrollment applications 
  • Encouraging current families to access your latest news and announcements

Defining these goals early on means that you’re able to use them to inform your website’s UX and take a more strategic approach to your school website design.

 

Get Our Free Guide: The Ultimate Website Best Practice Checklist 

 

What is User Interface (UI)?

User interface (UI), on the other hand, is all about the look and feel of your school website. This includes everything from the buttons users click on, to the text they read, scrolling abilities, and more! Basically, any element that a user interacts with on your website falls under the UI umbrella. 

Like most graphic designers, a UI designer is focused on creating a visually engaging experience for your website. They’ll select the right fonts, choose colours to compliment your school brand, and pick the right button shapes or line widths. If you’ve come across a stunning website that looks beautiful and engaging, you’ve got a UI designer to thank for that.

 

Three tips on UX from our experts

At Digistorm, we know school websites. Our talented team of in-house designers and developers are always working away to create engaging websites that showcase a school’s USP. For this post, we sat down with our design team to get three tips on what you should consider when it comes to UX.

 

1. Set a clear website objective

Before you even start thinking about design, you should have a clear goal or objective in mind for your new school website. Are you looking to attract new prospective parents, drive enrollments, or showcase your new branding? Setting a clear (and measurable) objective for your website will help keep your team on track and focused on reaching your goal. 

 

2. Remember to put yourself in the user’s shoes

Not only does placing yourself in the shoes of your prospective families help you to map out the best possible user experience, but it can also help navigate some tricky roadblocks in those early planning phases.

 

3. Clear navigation limits user guesswork.

Never underestimate the power UX has when it comes to creating clarity for your end-user. Clear navigation places content in the right order and guides your prospective parents through a predetermined user journey, based on your specific goals and objectives. 

 

Time to revamp your school website? Make sure you get your hands on a copy of our School Website Best Practice Checklist to learn about all the key features of an engaging school website.