UX Myths Uncovered: Top Design Secrets That are Hurting Your Business

I want to talk about some UX myths that are constantly propagated and heeded by the masses. These are true myths, and should be disregarded. By giving into these things, you’re at the least inconveniencing yourselves for no reason, and are at the worst severely hurting your business, even if it’s not obvious it’s doing so.

So, with that in mind, I thought about the UX myths I know of firsthand, and picked out the most damning ones that seem prevalent. I want to repeat, these are not half-truths, but they are actual myths. There’s nothing but lore to these preconceptions.

#1 – Users Like Desktop Icons
Users don’t like desktop icons on average. Most people, who are computer savvy, like to keep their desktop clutter free with only a minimum of icons littering the surface. They like their application shortcuts tucked away in their start menu, system tray, taskbar or docks if they use a weird OS. They do not want it sprayed across their desktop. If you have an installed application, have the desktop icon option defaulted to unchecked in your installer.

#2 – Users Like Toolbars
Users don’t like pointless toolbars. This partially touches on installers too, which like to install sponsored browser toolbars that nobody wants to be annoyed with. But, more to the point in standards and practices of design, users don’t want a ton of toolbars to have to sort through. While Office’s ribbon interface is a bad way of solving it, being creative in avoiding a maze of toolbars is a very good idea.

#3 – UI Must Be Art
UI does not always have to be a Monet. While UI should be in some way attractive, orderly and professionally-planned, it does not always have to have alpha blending, textured buttons and animated transitions. Sometimes, simplicity is bliss, and simple color combinations and orderly, simple controls is the best way to go. If your program has a simple purpose, it doesn’t need a UI that had a Hollywood effects budget poured into it. That’s just silly.

#4 – Users Like Browser Help
This one is a myth when it comes to software not running through the browser, but also in an odd way, with SaaS as well. Help systems have a bad habit of launching a browser tab and loading help as a web page apart from the system you were working in. Even in a browser program, this is annoying, because it disjoints the help from the stimulus of requesting it. Having help be a classic integral window on local software, and an AJAX layer on web software is just courteous and common sense, I should think.

These are just four of the more dangerous UX myths I see everyone seeming to believe, and we really need to stop encouraging people from believing this nonsense in the future.

Bo Amidor
Boaz Amidor is Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to ux blog