Atlassian Blog Series

UX and UI in Software Development

UX and UI are both vital aspects of software development. Whether together or individually, they form a key element of the process at every stage, from conceptualisation to deployment. In each acronym, the ‘U’ refers to the end-users. Users are the people for who the software is being developed. Ultimately, if an App or new piece of software doesn’t make people’s lives easier, more enjoyable or more profitable, it cannot be considered a success.

User experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are closely related. Indeed, they are two sides of the same Bitcoin, as it were. In this blog, we’ll consider just what makes them so important.

What is UX design?

What you feel.

UX covers aspects such as how well a product works, how intuitive it is, and how enjoyable it is. Seamless UX results in software that is both simple to understand, but highly effective. It is closely linked to the software brand. UX is vital to the software being able to deliver on the promises made in marketing collateral.

If a new software product proves to be unwieldy or counter-intuitive, it will make little headway in the market. Such is the degree of competition in the Apps market especially. Only those products that are best in class are likely to thrive.

UX testing should therefore be conducted at each stage of software development – and not just by coders. Most end-users will be civilians (i.e. non-coders) and given the divide between software and devices is becoming increasingly blurred, they will simply expect their software to work. In the final analysis, does it ‘do what it says on the tin’?

And what about UI design?

What you see.

UI is a subset of UX and has to do more with the look and feel of the software. It's about how software is presented to end-users. However, it’s important not to get too obsessed with making an App beautiful – people are far more interested in how it works than with how pretty it is.

In an ideal world, UI design should almost be invisible – so ‘right’ that it blends with the device and the entirety of the UX. Factors such as the shape, placement and colour of on-screen buttons form part of the UI.

UI is a key component of UX, and as such, it needs to work with and support all the other aspects of UX.

What skills do UX and UI designers need?

Empahty and Intelligence

We'll take it as read that coding, wireframing and design skills are in place. Over and above these bare essentials, UX and UI designers need to be excellent team players, as what they are creating is part of a collaborative project. In as much as they need 'hard' skills like coding, they must also excel at 'soft' skills - especially empathy.

They need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of end-users and imagine and understand how people who didn't write the code will relate to the product. Will it offer frictionless onboarding? Will it integrate effortlessly with other popular apps and device functions, such as touchscreen technology and location-based services?

Why UX and UI matter

Why does the end-user matter

The importance of these two aspects of software development cannot be overstated. A new piece of software may be brilliantly coded, but it suffers from poor UX and/or UI, it will not be widely adopted, and the company which developed it will likely see a more intuitive, empathetic and enjoyable product ‘eat their lunch’.

There is a clear link between UX and UI and return on investment in software development – and hence on profitability.

EPS – UX and UI at the heart

It's for you not for me

At EPS, we see UX and UI as integral to the development of all our software products. At every stage of development, we subject our software projects to multiple UX and UI tests. The result is software by people, for people. To learn more, visit