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What Is The Difference Between Frontend Development And UI Development?

May 21, 2024

Gopal Patidar

Introduction

There is a common misconception about UI developers and Front-End developers that they have identical job responsibilities. In this blog, I've tried to draw the line between them. These two roles are critical but different.

Let us understand the difference between frontend development and UI development. The term "user interface" refers to all the elements such as (keyboard, mouse, extra controllers, etc.) that a user uses to interact with the website or app using a variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

UI developer vs frontend developer image

User interface development, be it apps, websites, games, or even simulators (in fact, especially the simulators), is a complex process that handles elements of design, engineering, and psychology.

A primary objective of a UI developer is to design a user-friendly interface.

Front-End development | Definition

The front-end development aims to deliver a complete product as per certain specifications.

Front-end development is the development of the web or app interface. The Front-End developers are responsible for the interface development and operations, as opposed to the visual interface designed by the UI developer.

Front-end development is responsible for the interface development, opposite to the visual interface designed by the UI developer.

If we were to compare this to printed media, the front-end developer would handle the page proofreading while the UI developer would design the overall layout.

The Front-End developer needs to utilise a lot more programming skills than the UI designer. They have to understand the HTTP protocol, the principles of work of servers and browsers, and the peculiarities of displaying the web on various devices that are currently on the market.

The challenges associated with front-end development are that the tools used for front-end development change frequently and the developer needs to constantly upgrade themselves, learn new tools, and be aware of how the field is evolving.

Today, the front end is built on three pillars. They are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The Front-End developer must possess programming skills in the areas of object-oriented programming, data structure, coding.

Common Duties of a Front-End Developer

  • Developing features to enhance the UX
  • Ensuring that UX determines the design
  • Building reusable code for future use
  • Optimizing web pages for maximum speed and scalability

Principles

Frontend development prioritizes user-centric design, responsive layouts, accessibility, and performance optimization. These principles ensure interfaces are intuitive, adaptable, inclusive, and efficient. By focusing on user needs, device versatility, accessibility standards, and performance enhancements, front-end developers create engaging and accessible web experiences.

Tools

Web Browsers, Integrated Development Environment

Skills

Front end developer required to have a broad range of cross-industry skills: Programming, web architecture, algorithms, database architecture.

Responsibilities

To make the visual aspect work and make it more engaging at product development stage, front-end developers frequently have to solve UI/UX issues.

UI Development | Definition

On the other hand, UI developers’ goal is more focused on delivering a set of assets such as buttons, tooltips, and other modular pieces that are required from front-end developers.

For the UI developer, the preferred tool is Adobe Illustrator or similar software. It is needed to draw sketches and prepare graphics materials. Adobe Illustrator is good for vector graphics as It helps in scaling and adapting conceptual interfaces to accommodate different screen resolutions.

The UI developer can also use tool like Microsoft Expression Design and Expression Blend.

Finally, but just as importantly, the designer needs to thoroughly research the UI guidelines (Windows UI guidelines, Mac OS guidelines) for the relevant operating systems to which they wish to modify their interface. In this manner, when there are already established dos and don'ts, there won't be a need to create the bicycle.

The crucial trait for the UI developer is logical thinking, and this is why such people are never pure artists. The UI designer is a 100% techie, with only a knack for humanities.

The mathematical approach is necessary to combine the standard tools to solve the project’s problems. As for the much-appreciated creativity - it is only allowed when standard tools cannot provide a satisfying solution.

The priorities that the UI developer has in mind are very clear.

  • Firstly, the interface has to be functional.
  • Secondly, it has to be convenient to the extent that it does not irritate the user in frequent work.
  • And only lastly, it has to be beautiful, if by beauty we mean appealing to the eye.

Common Duties of UI developer

  • Customer flow analysis
  • UI design research
  • UI prototyping
  • Coding and design

Principles

UI development is guided by various design principles such as consistency, simplicity, clarity, and feedback. Consistency ensures that elements behave predictably throughout the interface, simplifying the user's interaction. Clarity involves presenting information and elements clearly and understandably. Feedback provides customers with real-time responses to their moves, improving the general consumer revel in.

Tools

Adobe XD,Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, HTML/CSS preprocessors like SASS or LESS, JavaScript frameworks like Next.js or AngularJS

Skills

Design, Engineering, Psychology

Responsibilities

The UI developer has a set of design capabilities and technical understanding, and their duty is to create user interfaces that are visually appealing, easy to use, and intuitive of the person interfaces.

Conclusion

In conclusion, frontend development and UI improvement are vital elements of web development, each with its personal set of duties, skills, and significance. While frontend improvement includes both building the interface and enforcing functionality, UI improvement is in most cases involved with designing visually appealing and consumer-pleasant interfaces.

Understanding the differences between the 2 disciplines is vital for creating enticing and effective web experiences. By leveraging the proper gear, practices, and ideas, developers can craft interfaces that not handiest appearance great but also provide seamless interactions for users.