Have you seen the meme shot ’round the world (Heinz ketchup bottle) trying to simplify the answer to the question… what’s the difference between UI and UX?
I’m going to explain why it’s an incomplete example and how to make it better using simple terms and plain English.
You’ll never forget how to define the difference between UI and UX after reading this article. I promise!
What is a User Interface (UI)?
Using Heinz ketchup (the product) as the example, we can see that the user interface is the ketchup container. In the photo above, one user interface is a glass bottle while the other is a plastic bottle. Both are containers that are the interface to the product, which is the ketchup.
What is User Experience (UX)?
UX is the “experience” I have with your product. I can have both a good experience or a bad experience with your product. Those of us over 40 can quickly say that using a glass bottle to pour ketchup on our hamburger is a bad user experience. Overall, using the upside down plastic ketchup bottle is a much better user experience.
A Better UI/UX Heinz Ketchup Meme
Look at how I altered the image to include what is really the user experience (UX). You can see that I added a little girl interacting with the plastic bottle to consume the product.
Because it’s a plastic bottle and stored upside down she can easily get ketchup on her hamburger. She’s having a good user experience with the product!
If she was using the glass bottle, she would be shaking it, sticking a butter knife down it and/or hitting the side of it trying to get that damn ketchup out and onto her hamburger. That would be a poor user experience.
The UI is how I interact with your product.
The UX is the experience I have when I interact with your product.
I’ve read many articles where others have been very critical of the original meme and stated that it over simplifies the art of user experience.
This one is my favorite.
They try to summarise a digital discipline or area of thought into one simplistic shareable image, are an insult to the complexity of those disciplines and the passion we have for them.
An insult? Seriously? Get over yourself! Of course the Art of UX is not that simple. What we’re trying to do is explain a very difficult discipline to the masses which is what this article accomplished. You’re welcome.