Usability and design are not mutually exclusive. We already know that UX is caring about both of them at the same time. But have you ever wondered what you would choose if you had to? For example, because of time pressure or money limitations. Let’s imagine this kind of situation.


  • Importance: Usability refers to the ease with which users can interact with a product or system to achieve their goals. It focuses on functionality, efficiency, and user satisfaction.
  • Considerations: A highly usable product is more likely to be adopted and appreciated by users. If a product is difficult to use, users may become frustrated, leading to dissatisfaction and potential abandonment.
  • Example: A website with intuitive navigation, clear labels, and efficient workflows is more usable.


  • Importance: Design involves the visual and aesthetic aspects of a product. It includes elements such as color, layout, graphics, and overall aesthetics.
  • Considerations: Good design can enhance the user experience, make a product more visually appealing, and contribute to brand identity.
  • Example: An app with a visually pleasing interface, thoughtful use of color, and attractive graphics can create a positive first impression.

Generally, I am a person who will tell you at the first glance that usability is the most important and that you can always use some ready-made components’ libraries (which are not visually bad!) and later rethink the UI. But it is not always like that. The relative value of design versus usability depends on the context and goals of a particular project or product.

In some contexts, such as certain productivity tools or enterprise software, usability might take precedence over visual design. Users in these contexts often prioritize efficiency and ease of use.In other contexts, such as consumer-facing applications or websites, a visually pleasing UI may play a more significant role in attracting and retaining users. In this case I would recommend you to develop it from the beginning at the expense of e.g. less functionalities.

Innovative design should never sacrifice usability for the sake of aesthetics. Emphasizing user-centered design principles involves understanding the needs and preferences of the target audience. This approach ensures that both UI design and usability align with the users’ expectations.


  • the value of design versus usability depends on the preferences of the target audience and nature of the product, but usability is always more important
  • principles of user-centered design ensures that both the visual design and usability are considered from the perspective of the end user
  • in cases when an impressive UI is really important, you need to strive for it. Not at the expense of usability, but for e.g. by a limited amount of functionalities in the first stage of development

If you want to know the basic skills of UX designers, please check the linked article.