The term "view" is used a lot in UX. In programming it often refers specifically to a user interface element associated with a model (e.g. in MVC or MV* frameworks). But I've heard it used in other contexts in UX, e.g. user view vs admin view of a website...where it relates to role rather than a model.

  • Is there a canonical or other well articulated definition for View from a UX perspective.
  • If not, is there any form of consistency around how to use the term as a UX designer?
  • "how to use the term as an UX designer?" between people of this field or also with average users? BTW: "a UX" or "an UX"? how should be it written? – Alejandro Veltri Apr 19 '15 at 20:18

A "View" is a single display unit. This entire web page is a single view. If you open up an app, that entire page is a view. You may have other views that are easy to reach, but what you see (with scrolling) on a single page is the view.

For web, it's simpler, obviously. Links typically distinguish between various "views", which are individual web pages. Some newer techniques enable developers to "hide" data within the view, but those are really tricks to allow for more data to be visible in a single view.

For apps, views are much more fluid and it's more difficult to see the difference between them. But the principle remains the same.


This is a good question to revisit, since there has been a lot of changes to the way applications are designed on the web (and mobile devices) compared to the traditional desktop applications.

The classic way of defining a view (in the Model/View/Control solution architecture) is the segregation or abstraction of the user interface or presentation of data from the underlying system. This was the primary distinction between the front-end and back-end side of things from a designer and developer's point of view. However, the modern web applications seem to take a more hybrid approach to try and integrate the view with the control a little bit more tightly.

More broadly speaking (and more specifically from a design point of view), I would say that you can define a 'view in an abstract or concrete way to suit your purpose and design system/language.

An abstract way to define a view is to relate it to a particular user's perspective, such that two different users can have the same view (e.g. logged out view), different views (e.g. logged in landing page view), or same view with slightly different content (e.g. access permissions or personalization).

A concrete way to define a view is to relate it to the design pattern and information architecture that is actually implemented. For example, you can define a mobile vs. desktop view of a page which may have the same content and layout that is scaled in different view ports.

You might even take a slightly hybrid approach and use some combination of the two approaches to come up with something that works for you.

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