The field of user experience design is full of unique creativity which is expressed through aspects such as websites design, user interface navigation etc. However, with power comes great responsibility, and with the incredible creativity potential in design comes the potential for detrimental mistakes.
Lack of understanding what your users want in order to produce an aesthetically pleasing design leads to poorly designed products, complicated website navigation, or even worse- bad reputations. It’s important to know what not to do as a designer in order to learn what to do.
So, we consulted with the experts to find out which areas in user experience design they consider mistakes to be most fatal.
1. Website Style
“I consider websites that are styled with light grey text on a white background to be unusable, because they are exactly that- difficult to read indoors, and impossible on mobile devices outdoors.” Says Bob Parson, Professional Website Designer. In website design, the style, color, and icon size are what make or break the UX. Users want to be able to find what they are looking for through a clear and easy format, while still enjoying the design. The layout should be simple yet visually pleasing, and the icons should be easy to find. Color is one of the most important aspects, if the user can’t see what they are looking for, what’s the point of your website?
As Jeremy Howard, Graphic Artist, states, “I would always recommend not getting too clever with navigation. I have experienced a lot of websites that try to get too clever with their UI, and in some cases it just makes their entire site a frustration…simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Simplicity is the key to navigation. No user wants an overcomplicated navigation system, no matter how fancy it may seem. Usability means the product is user friendly, allowing anyone and everyone to be able to use your product with no frustration or confusion.
3. “The Digital”
“People think UX is just about digital, the web, an app, or the newest computer in your car.” David Martin, UX Architect & Design Contractor, brings in a great point. User experience isn’t only about the digital experience. There is so much more than just the newest fancy app or most expensive device. It is about providing a smooth and flawless universal experience for your users.
According to Magendiran Gajapathy, Senior Lead UI Designer, “There are so many factors to consider…but actually there is no good and bad UX, it purely depends on how the users experience it. Even if you have good UX structure but the end user cannot understand then it’s a fail… some of the worst practices include: Missing symmetrical and asymmetrical balance, avoiding alternative options for the visually challenged, and inconsistent typography.” The goal is to create a successful design, but more so it is to provide the users with a good experience, one without frustration or confusion. This means paying attention to key design points in which major mistakes can occur.
5. User Interface
Mahmoud Abduljawad, Entrepreneur, has some fascinating insights to add about the specific design details. “…Make sure all of the target audience can use the UI without explaining it…make sure everything in the UI brings the same experience to the user; text styles, shades, graphics, etc. should all reflect the same UX.” The average, everyday users don’t understand how to use a complicated UI. Which means that designers must design a usable user interface that is simple and easy to use. It’s important to have less technologically knowledgeable user in mind in order to ensure that the UI design doesn’t become overly complicated and challenging to use.
“I think the biggest mistake made in UX is how some people perceive it. People think that UX is just about adding features for users to interact with when in fact, it is about an application being intuitive and smoothly guiding the user through a process.” Julain Conde, Designer & Developer, states that the way designers perceive the concept of user experience really shapes how they create a design. Designers must understand that they are designing an application or product in order to “please” the users’ senses, making it easy for the user to utilize the product as well as emotionally satisfying. Their goal is to create something the users will feel excited and inspired to use.
An additional behavioral notion that is important for designers to understand is empathy: “The worst mistake you can make is not being empathetic to who the end user is while creating the product….Usability is just one part of the user experience. Colors, typography, images, interactions, animations, product weights, textures, smells, how something makes you feel are all part of UX.” -Brian Feidt, Creative Professional, pinpoints that the end users’ satisfaction is the ultimate goal, so designers must be empathetic to their needs and wants. Designing with an empathetic mindset creates a very different end product which speaks to the users’ sentiments.
8. Behavioral Understanding
To conclude, Jon Poor, Graphic Designer, wraps up the very essence of user experience: “The biggest mistake is not understanding your audience….in referring to UX, it’s a big umbrella covering all the tasks associated with navigation, content strategy and usability. These days UX design is all about research, user personas, analytics and number crunching. It’s behavioral science, not creative design.”