SD, CX, UX, UI, IxD and their differences

Stop calling everything UX

Thinkers Co Blog - SD, CX, UX, UI, IxD and their differences

Stop calling everything UX

SD, CX, UX, UI, and IxD. Have you heard them before? These 5 concepts are very interrelated, so much that sometimes we use indistinctly one term or another. But do you know what each one refers to? What are their connection points? And their differences? In this post, you will discover it.

SD, CX, UX, UI e IxD: their common points

Before explaining each of these expressions you should know that they all adopt a user-centered approach. Furthermore, they bet on the quality of the product and service as a fundamental piece of success.

Now you know this first premise, let’s meet the meaning of each:

SD | Service Design

The Service Design, or SD, is the multidisciplinary activity of planning and organizing: people, infrastructure, communication, and materials that make up a service, to improve its quality and the interaction between the brand, employees, and consumers. It works not only from the perspective of the user but also from the organizational point of view, therefore it takes into account the interactions through all channels and points of contact.

The Customer Experience works on how, when and where to provide a service. It’s more than just building experience or building a brand.

SD covers all the behind-the-scenes activities that allow the experiences to run as planned to improve overall customer satisfaction and the operational efficiency of the company.

When commercializing a new product or service, it is important to analyze and understand how it affects customers throughout their journey to achieve a positive CX. This exercise is usually synthesized through the Service Blueprint tool that allows us to clearly visualize the actions performed by the client, the points of contact with the company and the back or support actions.

CX | Customer Experience Design

Customer Experience Design, or CX, refers to the experience of a customer with a company or brand, at all points of contact. A point of contact is any way by which a customer can interact with a brand, from making a purchase, to using a product, to seeing their ads. The perception of the client in each iteration affects their behavior and drives prescription and brand loyalty.

A very used tool to approach the experience is the Customer Journey Map. With it, we get a complete idea of the “trip” of the client. This map tells the story of the client from his own point of view, what happens and what he feels at each of the points of contact. It also helps us identify pain points in your experience to address them.

The Customer Experience works on how, when and where to provide a service. It’s more than just building experience or building a brand.

CX is a broader concept than the UX, although sometimes they are used equally. The CX adopts a more business vision, focusing on areas such as advertising campaigns, customer service, and brand consistency.

UX | User Experience Design

User Experience Design, or UX, covers the traditional human-computer interaction (HCI) design and extends it by addressing all aspects of the end user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

It focuses on making the overall experience the best possible emotionally, socially, culturally, psychologically, and physically. It seeks to enhance user satisfaction through the improvement of usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided by the interaction between the user and the product/service.

Take into account and empathize with the human motivations and needs of our user is vital to generate good solutions, products or services that satisfy you.

UI | User Interface Design

According to the Interaction Design Foundation, User Interface Design, or UI, is the process of creating interfaces in software or equipment with a focus on appearance or style. We seek to create interfaces that users find easy to use and pleasant. The design of the user interface generally refers to graphical interfaces but also includes others, such as those controlled by voice.

For the user, the product “does not exist”, it only exists the interface, the point where they meet and interact.

The User Interface Design brings together concepts of Interaction Design, Visual Design, and Information Architecture.

It involves selecting the correct interface elements, such as text, buttons, text fields, color-coded lists, etc., for the task that the user is trying to perform and organizing them on the screen in a way that is easy to understand and use. The goal is to make the user’s interaction as efficient and simple as possible.

IxD | Interaction Design

The IxDA (Interaction Design Association) considers that Interaction Design, or IxD, defines the structure and behavior of interactive systems. Interaction designers work to create meaningful relationships between people and the products and services they use, from computers to mobile devices through all kinds of devices or equipment.

Interaction means the communication, action, relationship, or reciprocal influence between the user and the product to achieve an objective within a context

Nowadays, users are familiar with the use of interfaces and how some of their elements work. As designers, we can be consistent and predictable with patterns already popularized and established to facilitate the creation of tasks, efficiency, and user satisfaction.


UX focuses on the design of a single point of contact, CX organizes all points of contact through all channels, and SD considers all channels and points of contact, but also from an organizational perspective.

On the other hand, we could say that UX is what a user feels about the applications, UI is what, where and how the elements work in the applications, and IxD is how the user and the application interact with each other.

Updated at 01/12/2020

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