The Difference Between UX and UI and Why it Matters in Financial Marketing

UI / UX / Design

UX (User Experience Design) is how your app or website works and UI (User Interface Design) is how it looks. Both UX and UI are equally important in financial marketing. You want your website or app to perform the job it was designed to do, and you also want it to look good so that your clients intuitively know where and what to do.

Now, we could stop right here since we’ve defined the difference between UX and UI. However, there are other aspects of UX and UI which are important to know — such as why they are important, what elements they contain, and best practices in UX and UI.

Financial marketers should work with specialized UX/UI designers (and perhaps other internal teams) in the collaborative creation of an optimal client experience. In this post, we’ll unpack the high level details of UX and UI so you can understand how to deliver the best website or app experience possible to your financial services customers.

Why is UX and UI Important?

We have all used apps or websites with bad UX/UI. If the UX/UI is confusing and doesn’t make sense, it can seemingly feel that they were created to prevent us from doing what they were intended for, which is unacceptable in any industry –especially the financial services industry.

Having an app or website with bad UX/UI can frustrate clients and prompt them to take their business elsewhere. Online banking is notorious for having outdated UX/UI, an experience-based risk factor that could cause banks to potentially lose millions of dollars a year.

Since many financial firms offer similar services, good customer service is crucial for client retention. And optimizing UX and UI is key to improving customer experience.

What is UX?

UX is all about function. Every digital product you own serves a unique purpose. Your app or website might show clients their account balance, allow them to place trades, make transfers, check their portfolio, or help them make better financial decisions. Good UX is about creating the most streamlined way for your clients to reach that goal.

Your clients are using your website or app to get from point A to point B. UX is about finding the best possible way for them to get to point B. To achieve this, a good UX designer will optimize a product’s use by assessing and predicting how a user would interact and use it. UX designers are involved in the early stages of an app or website project wherein they use wireframes as an essential blueprint for creating a user flow, or rather, mapping the user experience. They lay out how “X” will function while the UI designer will design the interface layout to work with UX.

UX includes the following elements:

  • How users would discover your service
  • The sequence of actions they take as they try to accomplish their goal
  • How the whole experience makes them feel
  • How quickly they can complete their tasks
  • How pleased they are with the interaction

UX best practices: Your clients need to quickly and intuitively figure out how to get from point A to point B. Effective UX is like a friendly guide that leads your clients through your website or app. Navigation must be clear even for first-time users. Basic functions such as signing up, changing a password, viewing key information, or performing a transaction must be immediately clear to all users regardless of the browser or device they use.

What is UI?

UI is all about aesthetics. For example, have a look at this Concorde cockpit:

If you are not a pilot, you will have no idea what the various purposes are of all those buttons and switches. Unfortunately, many online products look like Concorde cockpits. They are unclear and make user experiences more complex than they need to be.

Good UI strives to make the interface as simple as an on / off switch.

Good UI makes the journey from point A to B efficient and enjoyable for your clients. Good UI designers don’t throw information on a screen hoping that users will pick it up, they think like the user and design the interface so that the customer always knows what to do to reach their goal.

UI includes all the elements that enable a client to interact with your product or service such as:

  • Visuals such as typography colors, images, videos
  • Functionality such as buttons, check boxes, drop-downs
  • Behavior: what happens when a user clicks, drags, swipes
  • Interactivity and animation
  • Adaptation to all device screen sizes

UI best practices: Use proven layouts, be consistent across web and app platforms, make everything the user needs readily accessible, be as clear as possible, make everything as simple as possible.

This example with Google shows the importance of good UI:

The above version distracts users and makes it hard to identify what function each button performs.

Compare it to the simple interface of today’s Google:

UI needs to facilitate the functionality that the website or app is intended to perform.

Examples of Good UI/UX

In the financial industry, mobile and web platforms are replacing offices as the main point of interaction with clients making UX/UI essential to providing good customer service.


PayPal has been praised by the simplicity of its app and web experience. Simplicity is a goal all financial companies should strive for in UX/UI. The last thing you want is your clients to be confused by an interface right before making a transaction. PayPal follows some of John Maeda´s Laws of Simplicity: reducing, organizing, positioning, creating context, adding meaning and saving time.


Financial interactions must provide clear order, so clients feel they are in control. UX/UI should trigger the type of emotions you want your clients to feel: clarity, security, and confidence in your service and their financial decisions! Mint’s UX/UI helps them achieve this.

PayPal’s good UX/UI design offers clarity and efficiency to what can be an otherwise anxiety-inducing activity: budgeting. Mint’s interface displays clear graphs, charts, and colors that make budgeting a pleasure. Mint’s design is a perfect backdrop to is practical functionality.

In review, creating great customer experiences is part and parcel to successful financial marketing. Your clients are using your website or app to get from A to B and it is the job of great UX and UI design to get them there intuitively and efficiently. This experience is reflective on their overall experience with your brand, so be sure to review these elements with your UX/UI designer for optimal understanding.

Need help with your own app or website UX/UI design? Is it time for a refresh? Contact us today.

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