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Interface vs interaction. What is the difference?

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Published by JET BI
01 July 2024

The difference between interface and interaction

Understanding the variations among an interface and an interaction is vital for designers in the advancing world, where interfaces are represented in maximum. In today's digital landscape, users engage with countless interfaces daily, from mobile apps and websites to smart devices and software applications. Designers must not only create visually appealing interfaces but also ensure seamless and intuitive interactions. By distinguishing the roles and characteristics of interface design and interaction design, we can craft more engaging and user-friendly digital experiences. We tried to explain the variations that define these concepts.

Interface: The Gateway to Engagement 

At its center, the interface serves because the gateway between users and digital systems. It encompasses the visual and interactive elements that facilitate user interaction with software, websites and digital devices. 

 Interface and interaction


Key Characteristics of Interfaces

  • Visual Design: Interfaces consist of visual elements such as layout, color, typography and imagery to convey information and guide user interaction.
  • Navigation: Intuitive navigation systems allow users to seamless navigate through digital environments, accessing content and different features.
  • Input Methods: Interfaces accommodate a lot of input methods, including mouse clicks, touch gestures, keyboard inputs, and voice commands. Interfaces controlled by thoughts are already being tested in full swing (registration of brain activity)
  • Feedback: Effective interfaces provide feedback to users, confirming actions, alerting errors, and guiding them through the interaction process.


Interaction: The Heart of User Experience

While interfaces provide the framework for interaction, interaction itself encompasses the dynamic exchange between users and digital systems. It includes the actions, responses, and feedback loop that are happening during user engagement with interfaces.

Key Elements of Interaction:

  • User Actions: Interaction involves users initiate actions such as clicking buttons, entering text, selecting options and performing gestures.
  • System Response: Digital systems respond to user actions in real time, executing various commands, displaying content, and providing feedback.
  • Feedback: Interaction involves ongoing feedback, where users respond to system feedback and adjust their actions accordingly, shaping the overall user experience.
  • Engagement: Effective interaction captivates users, fostering engagement and immersion in the digital experience.

Understanding the Continuum of Interface-Interaction

By the way interface and interaction are distinct concepts, but they are interconnected. They are forming a tandem that shapes the overall user experience. Great and effective interface design provides meaningful interaction, while seamless interaction enhances usability and attractiveness.

Interface vs interaction


Successful realization. Apple iOS Interface

Apple iOS Interface

The Apple iOS interface is widely regarded as a benchmark for successful interface design. The layout is clean, intuitive, and visually appealing, with consistent use of icons, typography, and color schemes.

Key Characteristics:

  • Visual Design: iOS uses a minimalist design with a focus on clarity and simplicity, ensuring users can easily navigate and understand the interface.
  • Navigation: The navigation system is intuitive, with easily accessible menus and a consistent layout across applications.
  • Input Methods: iOS supports various input methods, including touch gestures, voice commands (Siri), and physical buttons, catering to diverse user needs.
  • Feedback: The interface provides immediate feedback, such as animations when buttons are pressed and alerts for actions, enhancing the user experience.


Unsuccessful realization. Windows Vista User Interfac

Windows Vista User Interface

Example: Windows Vista faced significant criticism for its interface design, which many users found confusing and inefficient. Key Characteristics:

  • Visual Design: The interface was cluttered with too many visual elements, making it hard for users to focus on important tasks.
  • Navigation: Navigation was cumbersome due to poorly organized menus and settings, leading to user frustration.
  • Input Methods: The interface did not adequately support diverse input methods, which limited usability for some users.
  • Feedback: Feedback mechanisms were inconsistent, with frequent and intrusive notifications that disrupted the user experience.



In modern digital design, grasping the nuances between interface and interaction is essential for creating attractive user experiences. By leveraging insights from "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum," we gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between these concepts and their impact on design creation. Which, in turn, helps us create modern, convenient and user-friendly interfaces.

Ready to elevate your digital experiences? Let's craft interfaces that captivate and interactions that engage together. Contact us now to transform your client's user experience journey!

Kirill Sedelnik
UX/UI designer (Salesforce UX/UI designer)
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