4 common UX mistakes (plus tips to avoid them)
UX design might seem like an easy task for many designers, but that’s not always true. There’s a lot you need to think about, and there are certainly many mistakes that we often make without realizing that we are on the wrong path.
In this article, I’ll cover four common blunders that designers often make without knowing that they are hurting their design. We’ll look at each blunder, and some solutions to keep your design on the right track for a better user experience!
UX mistake 1: Focusing too much on visuals and not experience
It is true that UX design works closely with graphic design, but you shouldn’t confuse the two. Graphic designers tend to focus on visuals, while UX designers consider other factors such as content, usability, and how the user actually navigates the page.
A bold visual is important, but you will not get a good experience from visuals alone. Instead, you should ensure that more critical UX areas are taken care of first. For example, most people will leave before seeing the second page of your site if it has a confusing navigation system.
It’s never a bad idea to use content-driven design. After all, that’s what drives users to your site and determines how long they take to view a certain page. Users are not interested in flashy graphics – the value of your content is what matters to them most.
UX mistake 2: Skimping on usability testing
Design is just informed guesswork until your products are in the hands of actual users. Usability testing helps you understand what your customers like and what they don’t like. You can’t know what your customers need unless you test the product in the market. Even big brands have had to change their UX designs just to meet the users’ expectations and needs. It is an integral part of the UX design process.
For example, when Apple first released iOs7, they were forced to quickly make changes because users criticized the space bar. However, they would have easily evaded making corrections upon release by having proper usability testing.
Having proper usability testing helps you discover at least 80 percent of potential issues you might have overlooked. In my experience, as long as you test with at least six users, then you will get a good idea of what the majority want to see in your design.
UX mistake 3: Being too clever with the content
It’s good to be clever, but remember too much of something is poisonous. Designers tend to be perfectionists by nature; we want the best outcome for our work. Hence, in the process, we sometimes forget about the users and do things that repel them too quickly.
As a designer, it is advisable that you determine what is important to the site design early and cut off what is not important for the users. Ax everything that may distract the user by drawing the line on what’s helpful and necessary.
For example, there are some creative designs that look great but reduce the site’s efficiency and speed – forcing the user to spend more time waiting than they expected. You should do the following in order to avoid making this blunder:
- Get straight to the point that will hook your users in.
- Create designs that make it easy for users to find the information they’re looking for.
- Keep in mind what your user has to go through to use your product.
- Weigh the interface against the cost of entry.
You may find yourself reasoning a lot as you work with user interfaces. However, what you need to understand is that your user doesn’t know as much about the site and it’s your job as the designer to guide them. Your design should be simple and shouldn’t assume the user knows too much before arriving at the site. Some of the things that designers tend to assume about their audience include:
- The user knows where to find what they want.
- The user will read or follow the instructions we give them.
- The user will give you their undivided attention.
- The user knows what your logos, symbols, and icons represent.
- The user understands the controls.
- The user knows which questions to ask.
That’s where the problem comes in – assuming that the user knows everything.
UX mistake 4: Designing for yourself, not your users
When you work in the UX design field, you tend to come up with your own views and opinions regarding the complete design. As a designer, you should remember that you are just one example of a user, hence the importance of outsourcing some work and testing to your colleagues.
That way, you will be able to create effective UX design that addresses the relevant audience. You should be able to empathize with personalities based on different design choices that meet their needs. In addition, you should consider doing the following:
- Once again, conduct usability tests with users to determine their preferences for images, text, buttons, colors, etc.
- Identify the most difficult aspects of the UI and then wireframe them according to user journeys, to map out how personas will likely interact with your site.
Personas help designers envision how actual people will use the site. Creating a user persona lets you substitute the correct target user in place of yourself. Don’t forget that technology can have a positive impact on the creative side of things. So you might do well to get to know tools and platforms a little better.
These are four of the most common UX design blunders that designers make. What other mistakes do you think some designers make, and how do you avoid them? Let us know in the comments!