Five UX Myths To Avoid

Bonny Colville-Hyde
Nov 2, 2016 · 6 min read
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UX myths can be very compelling. Image by unsplash

Myth 1: All research is good

Research is the most important aspect of UX work. Without it, how can we truly understand the problems we are trying to solve?

What, no Starbucks?

Grabbing random people and offering them a coffee to have a look at your idea/prototype/website is not a solid way to gather evidence for your product decisions. Unless you are building a coffee shop of course, in which case, fair play.

Triangulation

Research data should always be compared to other evidence. ‘Triangulation’ is the process of comparing and contrasting research data from a variety of sources: a diary study, analytics data and usability tests, for example. By comparing the data together you can challenge your assumptions and form a much deeper understanding of the problems your audience has, and where the opportunities are. Be cautious of investing too much in one set of research results.

Ego and bias

You have to be very honest with yourself and your team about what can influence research results. Egos are powerful and can easily affect research participants’ behaviour. Your interpretation of the research data can be significantly changed by cognitive bias. Always challenge yourself to seek other interpretations of the results in case you are collecting false positives, or just plain bad information.

Myth 2: Users know what they need

Human beings are terrible at predicting their future behaviour.

More please!

A fairly common example of this in action can be seen when users ask to see more products before they can make a decision about which to buy. This is often a complete red herring!

Myth 3: If Amazon does it, we can do it

Copying a major retailer’s approach or functionality may seem like a great idea when you are desperately trying to make your product work better, but it’s an illusion.

I’ll have fries with that

A great example of this is the proliferation of the mobile hamburger menu. Studies have shown it performs poorly as users don’t engage with it as much as other navigation patterns. However, it continues to be used more and more across the web. Designers keep copying the pattern, assuming it works because other people do it. It’s madness!

Myth 4: UX work is a phase in a project

Get it over and done with and then we’re off!

Failure is a success

Learn to love finding failures in your ideas and celebrate them: each one you catch saves you effort pursuing it further — effort you can direct in a better way.

Myth 5: UX ‘experts’ can design without evidence

If anyone, regardless of their experience, is designing a solution without evidence they are doing guesswork and it should be called just that: guesswork.

Uncomfortable truths

Just like in any profession, there are some really poor UX practitioners out there. Post-it note fetishism, a lack of real experience and our relative ‘rarity’ in the recruitment market can lead to some unfortunate results within teams.

Immediate Media Product & Experience Design

The product and experience design team behind Immediate…

Bonny Colville-Hyde

Written by

Product Manager, UX Architect, speaker, evidence above assumptions.

Immediate Media Product & Experience Design

The product and experience design team behind Immediate Media’s wide portfolio of websites and apps: RadioTimes.com, BBCGoodFood.com, MadeforMums.com, BikeRadar.com, and many more. Views our own; this is not an official blog.

Bonny Colville-Hyde

Written by

Product Manager, UX Architect, speaker, evidence above assumptions.

Immediate Media Product & Experience Design

The product and experience design team behind Immediate Media’s wide portfolio of websites and apps: RadioTimes.com, BBCGoodFood.com, MadeforMums.com, BikeRadar.com, and many more. Views our own; this is not an official blog.

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