UI vs UX: what's the difference and why it matters

A designer maps out a UX UI flow
(Image credit: Cavan Images via Getty Images)

UI vs UX is a debate that we see crop up regularly, and it seems to cause confusion despite the acres of text that have been written on the issue. The terms still often get used interchangeably, leading many to question whether there's a difference – and if there is, what is it? 

The reality is that UI and UX refer to different concepts but they are so closely intertwined that the difference often gets lost. You certainly can’t have one without the other. You can’t have a digital user experience (UX) without a user interface (UI), and the UI is an integral part of the UX. So is it worth making a distinction between them? And why does it cause such debate?

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