What is a UX Bug and Why is it More Harmful Than a UI Bug

What Is A UX Bug

Did it ever happen that you walked around the entire store searching for your favorite T-shirt brand and you just did not find it?

Of course, you had to ask the shopping assistants for help and they led you to it. You were left wondering why the particular T-shirt brand was at “that” obscure location and could not have been where you could have easily spotted it?

What were your feelings about the whole grind of searching and eventually asking a shopping assistant?

The store was great looking, awesome collection of clothes, but somehow your experience did not turn out as awesome as the look of the store.

This is a situation where your great experience as a user mattered more than how great the store looked. Clearly, the user experience here (locating your favorite T-shirt brand) outweighed the user interface (gorgeous looking store).

You could face a similar experience with a product or a web application too. This brings me to our today’s post on what is UX bug and why is it more harmful than a UI bug.

Here’s What We Will Cover…

What Is a UX Bug?

In not so exact words of Don Norman, UX is the way you experience a system. Therefore, any flaw in the user experience is a UX bug.

Let us understand UX bug with an example.

Consider you are taking a flight from one city to another and want to do a web check-in. You obviously want a seamless experience for your web check-in. Let us evaluate how convenient is web check-in experience with a couple of airlines.

Case 1: Jet Airways

I want to do online check-in for Jet Airways. I opened their website and wasted a good amount of time in just trying to find the Check-in option on their site’s homepage. Can you spot it? Until now, I have not been able to.

Jet Airways

Case 2: Emirates

How about Emirates? Here is the homepage of their website. You can find the “Manage booking or check in” tab pretty much right in front of you. Better!


Case 3: SpiceJet

How about SpiceJet? Check out their homepage. What’s better is that the Check-in is straight on the menu bar. No confusion, no time wastage.


You can clearly feel the difference in your experience as a customer. The experience with Jet Airways was much more confusing than with Emirates or SpiceJet. This brings me to the fact that this is a situation for a UX bug and I am wondering if it is more harmful than a UI bug.

What is a UI Bug?

Before I discuss what a User Interface (UI) bug is, you need to be clear what a UI is.

Very simply put, the look and the function of a product or an application constitutes a UI. Any flaw you encounter in the design or the functionality of the UI is a UI bug for you.

Let us go back to the example I discussed for UX bug, doing a web Check-in.

Could you find any UI bug in the website of Jet Airways? Did the website have a web Check-in functionality?

Of course, it did!

It was in the MY TRIP menu, but not something that you could locate easily as you did in Emirates or SpiceJet. Had there been no Check-in option visible on the website of Jet Airways, then it would have been a UI bug. You also encounter UI bug in a situation where you do not have the particular feature of an application in its UI itself.

Why UX Bug Is More Harmful Than UI Bug?

Now that you know what a UX and UI bug is, do you think whether a UX bug is more harmful than a UI bug?

I think yes. A UX bug means a huge dent in a user experience and costs your business.

How? Here’s how…

  • My time is precious, do not waste it: In times, where people do not have enough time to read information, but only “scan” it, not being able to find critical information easily enough can be a colossal time waste. Time wastage is equal to BAD user experience. Go back to the example of Jet Airways website, where I tried to find the check-in option in the UI but could not find it easily on the home page. It was just not intuitive enough. I did find it, in the MY TRIP menu, but I had already wasted enough time to locate it on the home page. Whereas the homepages of Emirates and SpiceJet were more intuitive and easy, the Check-In option was right in front! It must have barely taken a second to see it.
  • I may not be a returning customer: Airlines could be a little extreme example where I would not want to be a returning customer. Cost effective fares do matter ☺ . However, if you had a bad user experience with an online clothing portal, such as the website took forever for the item to check out in the cart or the payment options confused hell out of you, or you had way too much information to fill, you could really decide not to shop with the portal ever again. That’s a loss of a customer for the business due to the awful experience of the user.
  • Your company lost money: A bad user experience could actually cost your company. It can come in all forms, right from opportunity costs to development costs. Your competitor, whose application gave a better UX, did better business than you did. You lost moolah on the opportunity here. Now, if you go back and fix your UX bug, you are again coughing up extra development cost. Had UX been your priority, you would not have had to dent your cash reserve.
  • Your employee’s productivity dropped: Imagine you own an online clothing store and you require your employees to upload products to your e-commerce website and create their descriptions on a regular basis. In addition, you want the SEO related information updated along. If your e-commerce application had great features for all your requirements but it confused your employees, you could surely see a drop in the productivity levels. Say your employee took more than required time to batch upload your products because of not so friendly experience of the application or for the lack of clarity in the UI, you lost valuable employee productivity time and business too. A feature enriched UI but with a bad UX can cost you indirectly in business.


For a product or an application to succeed, both UX and UI are important.

There are situations where a user is willing to forgo the UX in favor of the UI, but such situations may not be many.

An airline offering a fantastic deal on a round trip may let you put up with a bad UX if any with them.

However, a good UX outweighs UI much more.

Most of us always remember great user experiences. Therefore, one must focus on building great UX and eliminating the UX bugs as much as possible. Whether you are developing a web or a mobile application, think as a user how your experience should be. What users can do with your application is very important, but how do they feel after using your application is much more important.

Summing the post in Dana Chisnell’s words, “Want your users to fall in love with your designs? Fall in love with your users.” 

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *