There are 2 things in this world where if you mess up in certain social situations, the memory will haunt you for the rest of your life: hand shakes and doors. Let’s talk about doors. I am surprisingly bad at detecting whether I need to “push” or “pull” on a door in order to get through. (It’s a blessing and a curse really, but mostly a curse…) Now, I could either go for a spiritual walk where I could self-reflect and analyze where this disability is coming from, OR the door design failed its purpose to add value to its end-user. The door was designed with a specific UX (User Experience) in mind which was to allow users to open the door and move through it easily. UX is the experience a user has with every part of a product or a service. The purpose of a User Experience (UX) design is to, firstly, create an easy and pleasant experience, and secondly, to help users achieve their goals.
Many of us think of UX with UI (User Interface) as the visual design and interface of a website or a mobile app. UX is the interaction of a user with the UI. UX demands enormous research and testing in order to serve its purpose. UX designers must take into consideration the user’s needs and wants and build a carefully crafted experience to satisfy the end-users. There are quite a few pitfalls when designing UX. The following list includes the most common mistakes to avoid with UX:
Planning UX at the beginning of development
UX design is profoundly rooted in research about your product users, and your website and mobile application should be tailored to them. UX design is an ongoing process in which you have to listen to your end user’s preferences, what they like and dislike, and continuously adjust your product for them. You may have an idea of what your end-users are like, and that is a great premise at the beginning of the development process. However if you don’t survey your end-users or run tests, you will never truly know what they need. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you know your users, you probably never will.
Disconnect with your user
Why do you need good UX? In short: to leave a lasting impression!
In a longer answer, you need UX to provide your users with a sense of meaning and personal connection to your product. Meaningful products give value to users and so that product becomes personally significant to that user. Disconnect occurs when users expect something from your product based on the limited information they got from a source, and you fail to meet those expectations. Phones are one of the most personal items that people have, your product on their device means you have a place in their life.
So once again, focus on providing users what they want, and offer them real value. Here’s a quick test you can do right now! To test your connection to your end-users: write down 3 to 5 benefits your users get from your product, and how many steps are required for your user to reach those benefits.
Pro tip: The less steps the better!
Designing for yourself and not the user
Too often, you design for yourself instead of what your audience needs. Try separating the personal preferences from user preferences. Remember: always design for the people who actually use your website or mobile app. Chances are, they don’t want or need the same things you do. If you’re wanting to measure user satisfaction, make sure that you send in your product feedback request after the user has used the product for a couple days. Don’t disturb users while they are interacting with your product or website. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your end-users will be using your product the same way as you, they never will.
Following your competition too closely
There is danger to following your competitors too closely. What works for some might not work for another. You want to differentiate from your competitors, not imitate them. Use what you have learned from them and combine that with your unique ideas to give something new to your target market. With the plethora of apps circulating in your market, you need to stand out by demonstrating your value delivery and innovation.
Overwhelming your user with too much content
Use your content to add value to your users as you are guiding them through your mobile app or website. But that doesn’t mean most of your content should be on your landing page! You don’t want to overwhelm your users, with information or features, because it will either frustrate your users or have a super-saturation effect on them.
Super saturation occurs when too much information is presented at the same time, the audience’s eye “gets used to” the sensory overload which stops them from absorbing any relevant information.
Remember KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Present your users with enough information to complete their task. No more.
Having an overly complex UI design
As Kate Rutter brilliantly said, “ugly but useful trumps pretty but pointless”. Complex UI design can serve to destroy the user experience if it’s confusing or just simply too much. Aim to make things usable and pretty, but most importantly, meaningful. The key with patterns and trends is to find a balance between what looks nice and the value behind them. Design your UX first, then create the most minimal UI necessary for achieving your UX.
Confusing UX with UI
Often UX and UI (user interface) is being used interchangeably.
Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen of Norman Nielsen Group had this thought of the matter:
“It’s important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.”
In a way UX and UI are connected, it’s hard to work on one design without considering the other. UX design is more effortless and natural to the user, whereas the UI design relies more on the aesthetically pleasing factors of the interface. UX is the structure of an app, but the UI is what the user interacts with. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your app will work great because it looks great.
Collecting feedback too soon
Collecting feedback too soon might just backfire. According to studies, It will attract more negative reviews than positive reviews. People love turning a matter over and over in their mind before arriving at a conclusion. So you should wait a day or two before sending emails to users or asking for a review. Let users go through the full experience before asking for their opinion. That is if fair feedback is what you want, otherwise you might just frustrate them.
The key of success in building an intuitive user experience (UX) is to blend the conceptual model of your product (that is your vision of the product) with the mental model of your audience (how your audience visions your product). The more customer-oriented you are with your UX the more satisfied they are going to be. Keep an eye on these common UX mistakes, to ensure customer delight.
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