User Interface and User Experience

What is UI Design?

The “UI” in UI design stands for “user interface.” The user interface is the graphical layout of an application. It consists of the buttons users click on, the text they read, the images, sliders, text entry fields, and all the rest of the items the user interacts with. This includes screen layout, transitions, interface animations, and every single micro-interaction. Any sort of visual element, interaction, or animation must all be designed.

What is UX Design?

“UX” stands for “user experience.” A user’s experience of the app is determined by how they interact with it. Is the experience smooth and intuitive or clunky and confusing? Does navigating the app feel logical or does it feel arbitrary? Does interacting with the app give people the sense that they’re efficiently accomplishing the tasks they set out to achieve or does it feel like a struggle? User experience is determined by how easy or difficult it is to interact with the user interface elements that the UI designers have created. Check out this great guide to UX design and design thinking for kids to get an overview UX and UI, and why design thinking matters.



Meet UX Designers at Google (2:15)


How Much Will You Earn As A UX Designer | UX Design For Beginners (3:15)




Connect with Panelists from our Emerging Markets Panel

  • LinkedIn - Most of our Emerging Markets panelists have accounts on LinkedIn, and may be available to connect through this platform. 
  • Cal Poly Career Connections - Many of our Emerging Markets panelists are also alumni, and may be part of of the growing Cal Poly Career Connections community. Current students and alumni are able to connect through this exclusive online networking and mentoring platform.
  • Panelists at our UI/UX: Designing the Look, Feel, and Functionality of the Customer Experience event included:
    • Tyler Beaty, Creative Director at SMPL Studio
    • Matthew Carinio, Vice President of Strategy and Consulting at Hathway
    • Cait Emma Smith, UX Writing Manager at MINDBODY
    • Marco Zuniga, UI/UX App Developer at California Cybersecurity Institute
    • To learn more about these panelists' backgrounds, check out their biographies on this event handout


Academic Programs and Courses

  • B.S. Graphic Communication with Concentration in User Experience/User Interface
  • Human Computer Interaction Lab - Computer Engineering Program
  • BUS 391 - Information Systems
  • CSC 305 - Individual Software Design and Development
  • CSC 471 - Introduction to Computer Graphics
  • CSC 474 - Computer Animation
  • CSC 478 - Current Topics in Computer Graphics
  • CSC 483 - Current Topics in Human-Computer Interaction
  • CSC 484 - User-Centered Interface Design and Development
  • CSC 486 - Human-Computer Interaction Theory and Design
  • GRC 318 - Digital Typography for Print and Web
  • GRC 338 - Web Development and Content Management
  • GRC 339 - Web Design and Production
  • GRC 377 - Web and Print Publishing
  • GRC 429 - Mobile User Experience



  • American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) – National professional association for design, including graphic design, print design, and web and digital media. Our student chapter aims to provide educational and professional resources for members to ensure their success both as a student and as they move into the professional world.
  • American Marketing Association (AMA) - Provides students with an opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills, and practical experience in various fields of marketing.
  • Cal Poly UX Club (CPUX) - Information and promotion of studies in Human-Computer Interaction, as well as networking with those in the User Experience industry.
  • Code the Change - A community of Computer Science students using our skills for social change. We have worked alongside nonprofit organizations for the last five years. Founded at Stanford University, Code the Change has spread to campuses across the US and Canada.
  • Women Involved in Software and Hardware (WISH) - A support group for female computing majors at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Our goal is to empower our technical women and rectify the gender gap in the computing field.


LinkedIn Groups


Professional Associations


Sample Job Titles

  • App Developer
  • Content Creator
  • Creative Director
  • Front-end Manager
  • Interface Designer
  • Market Consultant
  • Product Designer
  • Strategist
  • UI App Developer
  • UX Engineer
  • UX Researcher
  • UX Writer
  • UX Writing Manager


Job Listings


Top Companies

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