User experience design and the 10 mistakes to avoid

picture of wire-frame on paper

In last two years, UX design gain on popularity and became well known discipline among people. The main goal of UX design is the experience user will have while using your product. As with everything, it is easy to miss some detail or not consider some factor. For this reason, below you will find ten common mistakes made in UX and tips to avoid them. These tips are not something written in the stone. They are advice from other professionals approaching design in their everyday lives. I hope they will make your work easier.

UX design mistake #1: Forcing registration before offering value

This is something I ask myself almost every day. Do I offer the reader value? Still in doubt. Anyway, when you take the attention of your users and try to guide them through a sign-up process before demonstrating or giving anything they will benefit from, many of them will be forced to leave your website without coming back in the future. This applies to any product and services you can imagine, physical or digital.

Way to fix this mistake can be simple and hard in the same time. You have to show the user value that will be interesting for him and also indulge him in the experience enough, so the registration will be just the next logical step in the process. In other words, make the value and engagement so pleasant, in time you will him to register it will be like a natural action and not something that feels forced. Give, give, give, give and only than ask.

UX design mistake #2: Inconsistency

Great way to start discussion about the mistake of inconsistency is by quoting ui and ux designer Adham Dannaway.

“Keep your UI consistent, try not to use different words or elements to perform the same function as it can confuse the user.”

Even though using different symbols, words or buttons across your website or app can seem creative and interesting, it is not a very good idea. The reason why designers are using the same symbols (icons) across the places is people are familiar with them. When you are familiar with something, it is also much easier for you to understand it and use. That’s why you see the same signs, burger icons for menu, arrow icons for directions, etc.

You should not try to force people to learn new behavior unless you have some serious reason for it. Otherwise, you risk big amount of users will drop off. Take this fact as an advantage and use time-tested design patterns. Remember, the longer the learning curve to understand your ui is, the higher the probability user will leave it forever.

UX design mistake #3: Over-detailed tutorials

I have to admit that I am a bit biased here. In last post about design I mentioned that design should be understandable. When you need to include the manual, you’ve made it too complex or you’ve made mistakes along the way. However, I agree that tutorials can be useful to guide a user along with an explanation, even immerse him in the experience itself. From this point of view, tutorials can help the user adopt the product more quickly.

Unfortunately, most of tutorials you can find online flood users with plenty information, some unnecessary. So, if the best thing for you is to make sure the UI and all elements clear and easy to understand. Your design should always be intuitive while using the tutorials and how-to guides only as a support, not depend on them.

UX design mistake #4: Over-complicating

Whenever possible, avoid over-complicating things. Keep everything simple. Sometimes, we, designers are falling into the trap of over-designing, thus making the result more and more complicated. Trying to polish every detail and to make it stand out no matter it takes. We all, are sometime guilty of this. When this happens, remember that over-styled design adds distraction and require your users to re-learn how they work. This all will demand extra time, effort and money and can cause some of them leave.

UX design mistake #5: Non-standard controls and UI elements

Every platform, be it mobile or web, has standardized controls and buttons. All this means for you is to apply these standard UI design patterns to make it easier for your users to understand how these elements on your website or in your app works. Don’t try to come up with new creative solutions. Use popular icons that everyone recognizes and knows how to use them. The same with buttons. Place them where users expect them to be. Also, use labels to describe the actions and options of the button.

UX design mistake #6: Lack of white space

Another crucial thing in your design is whitespace. Using appropriate amount of whitespace among the elements will let your design breathe. You should not be scared of it, embrace it instead and use it as an advantage. Whitespace include the space between your text, image and design elements that make your artwork communicate and tell a story you want them to hear. Remember, it is often better to resist the temptation to fill up the available space. Give it the room and let it breathe.

UX design mistake #7: No feedback

Every action your user will make should be followed by some kinds of confirmation that they did that task. It may sound weird in some situations, but it is better to offer more confirmations than less and let the user be in doubts. Giving the button a different color after it’s been clicked, showing confirmation message on form submit and so on. These simple visual cues can show user his actions are right, wrong or that something is happening on the background and they should expect result.

UX design mistake #8: Avoiding fresh non-designer look

One thing we as designers should never underestimate, is the importance of getting your designs checked by someone who is not involved that much in it. It is well-known fact that the more you work on something the less are you capable of making clear reviews. This also applies to situations when you are moving in circles trying to find why some small details does not feel right. Stop and give a chance to someone else.

UX design mistake #9: Not using variations of font styles between elements

This one is more of a style preference, but it is still considered as a good practice in UI design. In our every day work, we normally style elements to distinguish them from each other other and to determine their importance, i.e. to create visual hierarchy. Both of these reasons will help guide the user through the content and make it easier to for him to grasp it.

Remember to use different styles including colors, font variants and weights to give the various pieces of content different priority, meaning and weight. Following this practice, you will create natural hierarchy and flow across the website, app or any UI you are designing while keeping it distraction-free.

UX design mistake #10: Too many form fields

This is one of the mistakes designers are mentioning very often. When designing a form we often “forget” for whom are we creating it. It should be human (user) friendly. The result, however, often is a form containing too many fields and too many options. This is not only ugly, it is also hard for users to fill in. It requires more time from their side to invest which can result in higher drop out rate. How many people did you see were happy to fill in A4 form with hundreds fields?

Remember, always reconsider all the fields you want to use. Do you really need to use them all? What about a first name and last name? Why don’t you just combine them together? Ask yourself again and again … Are all the fields really necessary? When designing a good form, keep it simple and include only fields that are necessary. Another option is to divide the individual form sections into single parts you can hide and show them as needed.

Summary

UX design is important part of any discipline communicating with people through visual elements. As many other design branches, UX too, can be done good and bad. It is in our own interest to follow the best practices. I hope these ten mistakes outlined above will help you create more user-friendly websites, products and services. This, as a result, will make the world better place for us and future generations to live in. What are other mistakes you see in ux design?

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