Have you ever wondered why most door handles look the way they do and why flat objects will never replace them? Opening doors should not make our lives difficult. It is an action that has to be simple. Imagine the situation when you want to enter the room carrying shopping bags or a computer. Opening doors, in most cases, is intuitive, responds to our expectations, and fulfills our need to enter a room.
The user experience of most handles is relatively positive. Things are different in the context of using websites or applications. Why does UX of app or web design fail most often? What are the most common UX mistakes? Let’s find out!
From this article, you will learn:
- what we call a UX mistake
- why you should not rely on your assumptions and verify real insights
- why the architecture of your digital product is crucial for comprehensive UX
- why UX should be crucial at every stage of the development process
- how not to rely on competitors ideas and benchmarking only what’s best
- what is scroll hijacking and why you should know it
- how tests with users can help improve user experience
- how to take care of consistent UX design.
What are UX mistakes?
Sometimes UX designers create solutions that are not relevant to reality. As a result, projects that are aesthetically pleasing and pretty do not respond to the requirements and needs of users. An example illustrating how a person entering a website or using an application feels when the design does not meet their needs can be a double door with beautifully ornamented handles. Using such an entrance, as opposed to the classic handle described above, can confuse the user. It is stressful when, opening the door, you don’t know which side to enter through. I dread what will happen when you try to enter a room while holding a hot cup of coffee! The same thing can happen with digital products. But it doesn’t have to if the UX designer avoids specific mistakes.
Assumptions, not real insights
The double glass doors described above are probably the designer’s vision and not a desire to respond to the user’s issues. To avoid a similar outcome in projects, at Applover, we value in-depth research and workshop processes with the client.
UX designer's work should be supported by thorough research, getting to know the specifics of a given industry, but also needs and issues that the final users will face. Apart from the visual requirements, the project should be easy and comfortable to use.
A series of such meetings involve experienced designers and developers who work with the client to create user stories and user flow. These are the parts where it is necessary to use the knowledge and expertise of experts, who can choose not only the appropriate technology but also the architecture of the application or the website. Julia Komin writes more about the workshop process in one of the recent posts on our blog.
Ignoring digital product’s architecture
A widespread mistake of design and development teams is that they put aesthetics above app architecture. This approach can result in a great design at first glance, but using it may be a nightmare.
It is crucial to prepare for the start of the project properly. This part should include: mapping out the user flow and application structure, which allows designing proper wireframes. This stage is not visible, but it is much more important than the choice of colors or fonts. It can determine the success or failure of the entire project.
UX just at the beginning of development process
UX is often identified as the initial stage of the process, which is not verified further. During the development process, even after implementing the solution, the UX team should constantly ask the following questions:
- What do my users like and dislike?
- What functionalities do they expect?
- Is my solution intuitive enough for the user?
- Which features are used rarely? Can I delete them?
These are essential questions that can only be answered after launching an app or a website. They can be crucial for the entire project.
Copying competitors’ ideas
Taking inspiration from the competition and specialists’ experience is ok. It can significantly broaden the knowledge and skills. Yet, in cases where functionalities are unreflectively duplicated, users may not always like it.
An example here can be LinkedIn, which recently began to resemble Instagram by introducing the ability to publish stories. Many people claim that users should use LinkedIn to maintain business relationships and gain knowledge. They alleged that such a change could result in a false, over-idealized perception of the business environment—more on this topic in one of the Polish publications on LinkedIn.
The next point relates to a specific practice implemented in the design. Scroll Hijacking involves designers manipulating the scrollbar, which in the final design will behave differently than usual. Users are used to a particular page scrolling dynamic which will move the website by the expected length. The movement is predictable and comfortable for the user. Scroll hijacking, in some cases, takes away such feelings.
One example of this practice is the dji website. In its case, each scroll moves the page much less than we are used to. While going through the page, users experience movement that they are not used to. Annoyance may be caused here by additional jumping elements, which are not well visible on the page. I do not want to assess that each project of this type is terrible unequivocally. However, before using such a solution, it is worth submitting it for user testing.
Lack of tests with users
Avoiding this common mistake can save UX designers from making 4th and 5th mistakes from our list and increase the chance of success. Most of the people in the industry see the value of user testing. Yet, in the case of many projects, this element is omitted due to financial constraints.
User tests will help us check, e.g., if the duplication of functionality from the competition is justified or if the website design, including scroll hijacking, will not discourage users from using it. User tests allow constant verification of preferences and adjusting functionalities to particular needs. When it is not possible to perform tests with real users, the QA department should perform thorough tests of the project.
Do you want to find out more about UX design?
Inconsistent UX design
Inconsistent design refers to the multitude of fonts used on the website or app, but it can also apply to many other elements such as differences in the content presentation, inadequate customization of graphics, or lack of consistency in the headers. An example of a project where it is difficult to find such consistency is the University of Advanced Technology website. Its user confronts an unusual way of site navigation. It is accompanied by several different forms of presenting visual content and texts written in various fonts. As users, we crave consistency. We prefer to use cohesive and easy-to-navigate applications or websites.
Some websites, because of the specific target group, may contain inconsistent elements characteristic for the organization, and the audience will still enjoy them. An example of such a project is the Yale School of Art website, dedicated to candidates and students of painting, graphic design, or sculpture. They can adequately understand it. This is why it is so important to know the target group and conduct user tests.
One of the most critical problems is underestimating the power of simple design. Designers often want to put as much content as possible in the project, which doesn’t always positively impact the user's perception. It causes information overload and visual clutter. In most cases, less is more.
UX design – practices to avoid
User experience is a field that is becoming more and more popular every year, but in the case of many projects, it is still not free from common UX mistakes. To avoid them, you need to constantly extend your knowledge, network with people from the industry and prevent the situations listed above.