4 Common UX Mistakes Killing Good Design
How important is a good user experience when designing a website today? Well, the design of user experience can make or break a website.
It is impractical to come up with an all-around design that satisfies everyone.
However there are a couple of design thumb rules every designer should abide by to avoid the most common designs that kill even a well-thought-out and implemented user experience design.
Stakeholders and clients often misunderstand the UX design process.
Largely because they do not recognize that the UX design and backend development processes are completely different disciplines in web design.
Whether you are a seasoned expert or a budding newbie in UX design, it is normal to make mistakes.
After all, the evolution of the UX design platform forces everyone to learn, in one way or another, especially now as design projects get more complex.
To get you started on mastering an efficient UX design process, here are some of the most common mistakes you should try to avoid.
1. Designing User Experience for Yourself
Designing a user experience is a creative process that only works when the designer has strong opinions and can filter facts based on his/her own experiences.
Everyone, at one point or another, is guilty of the “genius mentality”.
However, to come up with a winning user experience designer, one must separate passion from ego and understand that they are not on a mission to prove anything with the design.
The only goal at hand should be to come up with a user experience design that helps the user and create a lasting experience in the process.
Being human is the reason that is not easy to separate what you want as a designer from what the user needs.
When designing a user experience platform, it is normal to feel a strong desire to create something that you feel could work best for you.
But you must never forget that your responsibility is to the users, not your ego.
The most effective way to strike a balance between your passion of your ego and responsibility to the user is to deconstruct designs by other designers.
You may be considered an exceptional UX designer because you have strong stylistic ideas in your work. However, to produce exceptional work, you must learn to check your ego at the door and keep your eyes on the prize.
It does not make any sense for you to wow the audience with outstanding designs if they do not improve the user’s experience. It is okay to dazzle, but you must be content-focused.
At every stage of the UX design process, step into the user’s shoes and view your work from their perspective.
The client’s website will be used by different types of users; you should ensure that you map out the journeys for every group.
Collect crucial information on the types of visitors, what they are looking for, what distracts them, and what can simplify their journey while fulfilling their needs on the site.
When arranging the UI, ensure that every shape and text complies with your research on user journeys as well as types of visitors to create a superior user experience.
Be on the lookout for log jams that may hinder the efficiency of the site and strive for a smooth flow of UX elements. You could use Google Page Speed Insight to find what are the things you need to improve on.
Test different potential designs on different platforms and devices and if the budget and time permits include as many variations of design elements in testing e.g. image choices, buttons, colors, and custom objects.
2. Mistaking User Experience (UX) for User Interface (UI)
It is not uncommon to confuse UI for UX. After all, the two are closely related.
UI is a part of the UX which deals with how users interact with the website’s interface—how the buttons look like, the fonts and colors used, where the links are placed, how the various design elements are placed, etc.
UX, on the other hand, invokes the emotion as the user navigates the user interface.
The idea of a functional and good UX is to put together a user interface that bring about a satisfying and memorable user experience.
Just as with a great UX design, a good UI design often begins with the gathering of user information. What need does the website need to fulfill for them?
What do they like to see and what do they dislike? Just the way researching the user information powers the planning of a UX, it is an important component in user interface design.
Carrying out usability testing at various stages of the design problems helps a designer maintain the focus on user experience even before beginning the design of the user interface.
Even before you start sketching or touching Photoshop, get to know the users of the website. What are their desires and fears, goals, ambitions, and behaviors.
Both UX and UI begin with the website’s content and integrate user research into the design process. A designer is expected to come up with an interactive site map that links to the website’s pages.
So as to get a feel for the user experience and test the flow of the general website.
Understand that UX demands a mastery of several different disciplines. Just because the interface is beautiful will not necessarily mean that the website will be properly functional.
And just because the website has a functional interface does not mean that the users will love it.
Beginning the UX design process with the right content before creating the site’s wireframe helps a designer keep it as a priority.
The work will flow naturally from the content to other faces of design to shape the user experience, and eventually guide the flow of content.
From this point, it is easier to implement a winning visual design over the wireframe created from the website content.
In summation, beginning the user interface and user experience design with content helps you prioritize the design accordingly:
- Content structure
- Interaction design
- Visual design.
It makes sense to follow these design steps because the content is the foundation of any winning design, and because content is always king.
The user cares about the content and is the reason they visit a website. Besides, constant testing of interactions using low and mid-fidelity prototypes grants the designer more control over the flow through the website content.
It is much easier to polish the visual design and create a captivating user experience from this point.
I had another article about web design trends that might aid you in your designing process.
3. Requesting too much information from the user
In this digital age of fast devices and connection speeds, attention spans are shrinking. If a website has too many forms or obstructions, a user will look for the information they want elsewhere.
The primary goal of a good UX design is to create a smooth and rewarding experience to the user. You, as the designer, must, therefore, think twice about the kind of information you are requesting from the user.
A few years ago, Imaginary Landscapes carried out a study, testing the theory that presenting users with a form with too many fields will actually discourage signups.
In the test, the users were presented with two forms: one with 11 fields and another with just 4. The study concluded that the signups from the shorter form exceeded those of the longer form by as much as 140 percent.
Besides, the conversions increased when the shorter form was used by almost 120 percent.
The study concluded that missing fields in the shorter form did not impact on the quality of conversions.
Because website visitors are generally lazy, plastering the screen with long forms and countless fields to fill is akin to asking them to pay to access information.
The more fields they have to fill, the less motivated they will feel. Feedback from users confirm that shorter forms garner more signups than the long ones.
The key to creating a great user experience on a website is to ensure that a visitor encounters as little friction as possible.
For instance, a website that just requires a visitor to select a language to browse in garners more visits than one that asks the user to like their Facebook page and after that sign up by filling several fields in a form.
As a UX designer, you must carefully consider what information is required from the user. For example, does the client really have to ask the users to provide their cellphone numbers?
Research is critical in determining what data to request from the user. While testing the website’s prototypes, run data collection simulations with user groups.
For the designer, the desire to implement a smooth UX means less information collection.
This impulse, however, must be balanced with what the client wants, and possibly with the expectations of the sales team and the demands of other interested parties.
The only way to strike a balance between offering the best user experience and including forms to collect data is to test different approaches and settle for one that rewards both the user and the client the most.
4. Wrong assumption of audience type
For a long time, personas have been integrated with UX documentation. Defining the type of audience or the target of the design is key.
It creates a reference point for the entire creative and technical process of website design.
Having personas—the fictional users that represent the real users who will be using a website—is important in validating a website design as well as developing a relevant and functional UX.
In web design, creating a fictional example of a person within a website’s user base typically involves coming up with specific information including age, sex, occupation, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and other details relevant to the client’s products and website’s information.
In many cases, to make the UX design process effective, the designer must include the personalities of the fictional characters.
The aim of creating these personas is to establish their target audience’s desires, mindsets, and necessary tasks.
The process of creating the personas involve informed research and/or intimate knowledge of an already established user base.
One of the biggest sins a UX designer can commit, is making wrong assumptions about the audience type.
This often leads to improper use of essential UX elements, adopting inappropriate conversion information and the attainment of client’s objectives.
It would be a big mistake to assume that the client’s product is for everyone and try to get the website to meet the experience expectations of everyone.
This will not only make the design process expensive and painful, but it will also compromise the straight-up disposition aspect of the content.
To design a user experience for a specific audience, you will need to start with research that uncovers who the audience really is, what they do, and how they want to be perceived.
Creating different personas comes next because the target audience is obviously made up of different types of people.
The UX design process must then focus on creating a website that will meet the expectations of the audience.
While planning the design, factor in the layout of the content, choice of colors, use of graphics and animations, and fonts.
Now that you know the major pitfalls of a good UX design, your next project should be better than the last.
Most of these points may appear common sense at first, but if you look deeper, you are probably guilty of committing them at one point.
The most important positive bits of design advice you can take with you today are:
- Keep your UX designs direct and straightforward. Always begin the design process with the content that informs the user. Then create an experience that makes it easy for them to engage with it.
- Ensure that the navigation of the website design is friendly in all platforms. Most people experience a website through these navigation elements. The clickable areas must be positioned separately to avoid overlaps. Each page must be created to be a clearly distinct and an entity on its own to ease comprehension.
- Master the psychology of design. Get to know what works and what doesn’t. Factors like; fonts, color, personality in design, compelling imagery and general website behavior in regard to the target audience. A good user experience designer must meet and exceed the emotional expectations of the target audience.