Difference between revisions of "2141: UI vs UX"

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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(Transcript: add category)
(Replaced bullet with more matching unicode character.)
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:UΩ        The arc of the user's life
:UΩ        The arc of the user's life
:U∞        Life's experience of time
:U∞        Life's experience of time
:U•         The arc of the moral universe
:U⬤         The arc of the moral universe
{{comic discussion}}
{{comic discussion}}

Revision as of 21:04, 24 April 2019

UI vs UX
U[unprintable glyph]: The elements a higher power uses to bend that moral arc. U[even more unprintable glyph]: The higher power's overall experience bending that moral arc.
Title text: U[unprintable glyph]: The elements a higher power uses to bend that moral arc. U[even more unprintable glyph]: The higher power's overall experience bending that moral arc.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a UX DESIGNER. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

UI vs UX is a discussion in software engineering of the differences between user interface design (UI) and User experience design (UX). As explained in the comic, UI design is typically concerned with the elements of the interface that a user encounters, while UX design is more concerned about the user's overall experience in using such interface.

The comic takes this to absurd levels by adding further categories to the discussion with UZ, and other U{X} types of designers.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
Designer     What they are responsible for
UI     Elements of the interface that the user encounters
UX     The user's experience of using the interface to achieve goals
UZ     The psychological roots of the user's motivation for seeking out the interaction
Uα     The user's self-actualization
UΩ     The arc of the user's life
U∞     Life's experience of time
U⬤     The arc of the moral universe

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The comic as a whole is making fun of how meta software developers get about the user experience, seeking to name all the different types of interactions a user can have with an app or webpage. This comic is massive for me on my desktop (chrome); I wonder if this is a joke about bad UX or if it is a genuine error? Fwacer (talk) 18:50, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

It's not this big on xkcd.com. Did it start this big and got fixed on the original site? Update: replaced with the image from xkcd.com which was much smaller. Cgrimes85 (talk) 18:55, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Looks like it is fixed now, but yes it was also that big on xkcd.com initially. Fwacer (talk) 19:19, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
It's bad U[even more unprintable glyph]. 08:27, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

To me, it comes across as a hyperbolic play on the common confusion between the meaning of UI and UX. [1] Ahiijny (talk) 19:06, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

It makes sense that it would be alpha and omega, but I originally thought it was the "proportional" symbol. I only ask because alpha is lowercase and omega is uppercase, although perhaps this was to avoid confusion with the Latin "A". Cgrimes85 (talk) 19:13, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Concerning the lowercase/uppercase difference, since alpha is the beginning and omega is the end, then consider that in the beginning we are born little and then grow up - we start out as lowercase and end up as uppercase. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 19:30, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

This is a joke on integration, yes? 19:33, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice" -- I guess the big in the comic being about the arc of the moral universe can reference the fight against segregation and thus for integration...
I meant mathematical integration...

I'm happy with the explanations I just added for everything but "Life's experience of time" -- does anyone know what that phrase is from? 05:48, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

I thought it was made by a U[unprintable glyph] designer. 07:40, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

No UK - well that is about par 20:45, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

On what level are those idiots who say "user doesn't need this setting, it would only confuse him"? -- Hkmaly (talk) 22:20, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

UG2 - user second-guessing. 06:27, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

Why has Randall chosen this particular set of characters? Why Z? Why alpha and omega - the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, used in the bible quote "i am the alpha and omega" i.e. the beginning and the end, but what link with the subject? Or is it just a sequence of increasingly improbable characters from latin through Greek, then glyphs then unprintable glyphs..? 07:34, 26 April 2019 (UTC) Dancergraham

UX comes after UI in the alphabet, and so Randall first extended that to the last letter of the Latin alphabet, then Greek. Infinity then also makes sense, but I don't know about the bullet. Oliphaunt (talk) 09:08, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Other than being the last letter of the Latin alphabet, I can't come up with any other meaning for "Z" to represent something in psychology. As for the remaining symbols, I think alpha might represent the "a" in actualization or the beginning of the user's awareness or life because alpha represents beginning. Since Omega means the end, this likely represents the end of the user's life, which determines the length of the arc of their life. I believe the infinity symbol is a reference to how time looks to the typical life of a user, since it extends well before and after a user's life. Lastly, I think the black circle might represent a view of morality as either a black hole or a dark subject. This is just my impressions. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 13:31, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
I did think about "Z" representing Zen, but I'm not sure how that connects with psychology. Ianrbibtitlht (talk) 13:57, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Zychology... 14:29, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

My initial thought was that the black circle represents the "black point message" that crashed apps like whatsapp a while ago. I never saw it personally but Tom Scott did a video on it last year. It might be a commentary on how understanding of the universe's moral arc could be considered untouchable/unobtainable. Blik (talk) 14:30, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

I took the black circle as a Black Hole - that changes the arc of everything in the Universe! John.Adriaan (talk) 02:14, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

Hmm. It looks like UY got skipped. The study of the user's motivation and goals. Like UI and UX, it's a real thing. But that's really the job of concept or marketing.

Could the last glyph be referencing a Monad? As in the totality of all things/beings. As time is infinite, yet still contained within the totality of the arc of the moral universe. And then the title text further extending the concept into exploration of what elements were used to shape the totality of things. And further to what was the experience of that shaping. In vein with Leibniz related concepts. - https://www.iep.utm.edu/leib-met/#H5