• Cydney Phan

A look at UI, UX, IA, & IxD: My Confusion to All

Updated: Feb 7, 2019


What in all literal design is IA, or IxD? As a matter of fact, do I even know what UI or UX even means? Do you? (asks the novice design student)

So here’s a synthesizing of all the things I didn’t know about fields of design I should know:


UI (User Interface) Design

“This has something to do with ‘prettiness’, right?” Yes, basically.


UI work is about having the user enjoyworking with your platform because of the aesthetic. A well-designed user interface has the potentially to greatly enhance productivity and bring enjoyment to users. It pares down to how the text, buttons, color, logo, style, etc. all blend cohesively together in unison and arranging them in a fashion that is easily understood.

Start off salary at entry level (0-1 year of experience) averages at $59,043 per year.

(number provided by payscale.com)


UX (User Experience) Design

The extend of my knowledge on this term is that it is design, based off user, experience. Sad really.


Abbreviated as UXD, UED, UX or XD, user experience design essentially focuses on howa person interacts with the platform. The job entails detailed research, competitive analysis, prototyping, user testing before and after project launch. The failure or success of a product is determined by the feasibility of the user’s interaction experience with the product.

Start off salary at entry level (0-1 year of experience) averages at a whopping $80,928 per year.

(number provided by skillcrush.com)


IA (Information Architecture)

Here is where my knowledge gets a little wonky.


I guess IA is exactly as it sounds: organizing information in websites or apps that is structured (the way content is organized). It categorizes information and provides the content to the user depending on which area of the website/app the user is looking at. When a designer builds a menu and its subsections, they are exhibiting IA skills.

Start off salary at entry level (0-1 year of experience) averages at $54,220 per year.

(number provided by ziprecruiter.com)




IxD (Interaction Design)

“Absolutely flabbergasted.”


So, think all the animation and motion that a website or app has to wow the user. Also, called motion designers, they have the task of making the platform both sophisticated in its graphic and attempt to anticipate what the user will need or want. The job description is rather broad and can range from the aesthetic, motion, sound, space, etc. of what you’re producing; it’s about the way user interacts with the platform.


Often times, if a company is big enough, the UX and IxD jobs will be separated. The difference however is that UX entails more of the research, proto-persona, user and usability testing. IxD focuses on the goals the platform is trying to achieve, the prototypes and wireframes.

Start off salary at entry level (0-1 year of experience) averages at $59,729 per year.

(number provided by payscale.com)


To summarize and oversimplify the different design fields:

UI:is how the designer works with elements (what where and how)

UX:is how a userfeelsabout the platform

IA:is how the platform is organized

IxD:is how the user and platform react to one another


Information provided by:

https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/what-is-interaction-design