User Experience (UX) had risen to the forefront of the web design profession in the last decade. Designing with good UX in mind is no longer a bonus, it’s a necessity. Flashy graphics and moving banners were the wow factor of the 2000’s, but these trends have become dated and even cumbersome. In order to wow the user nowadays your site must be delightful to use. Many web designers still struggle to grasp the overall concept of UX and how to put it into good practice. Below are 5 common mistakes people make when it comes to good UX.
1. You Are Not the User
It can be extremely difficult for a designer to separate themselves from the website they are creating. Your first instinct is to do what makes sense to you. Without proper research and investigation into the user demographics, it is easy to fall into the “designing for me” philosophy. If you feel that you or your team is struggling to keep your demographic in mind, a common practice is to use personas to bring that demographic to life. These personas allow you to reference the needs and abilities or the people you are targeting.
2. The Experience is Not Optimized for Every Screen
With Responsive Design becoming a requirement, designers have a responsibility to make the experience of the website work well on all devices. Many designers will take this to mean that the content must move around to fit a new screen on mobile devices but there is a lot more to it than that. Yes, your site must display correctly, but you also have to take into account how people use these devices. A functionality that works seamlessly on a desktop computer may become a source of irritation to a user who it using a tablet or smartphone. Things like button size, click radius, and touch scrolling need to be addressed. Sometimes you may even have reason to completely change the interface of the site as the device changes.
3. Too Much Focus on the Homepage of Your Site
This is probably the most common UX issue I see an websites every single day. A designer and their team will spend hours crafting the perfect homepage for their website. It’s beautiful and easy to navigate… until you move into an inner page of the site. It’s important to realize that in a lot of cases a user may never even see your homepage. Generally SEO strategy and blog promotion will send the user straight into the inner pages of your site. With that in mind it’s important to spend the same amount of time on what you may consider the “less important” pages of your website.
4. Relying on Text to Promote Usability
There is a simple rule when it comes to text: they probably won’t read it. Unless the user has come to a page searching for specific information or with the intention of reading a blog chances are they will skim over most of your content. This can really trip you up if you are using text strategically to guide the usability of your site. It never ceases to amaze me when we do user testing videos how often users will glance right over important content.
Some other options to guide the user:
- Color: A contrasting pop of color can tell a person “look over here!” or “click on me!”
- Icons: Most people are visual, an icon added to the text that represents what you are trying to say can make them pay attention.
- White Space: Strategic areas of white, open space can break up a daunting block of information they may have previously skipped over.
- Animation: A subtle animation can catch the user’s eye and entice them to move through your site as you intended.
5. Ignoring the Small Interactions
It is important to make sure the overall flow of your website is easy to use, but don’t be blinded by the big picture. Some of the things that frustrate users the most are the small interactions.
Examples of small things that can be confusing:
- Lack of feedback when completing a task such as hovering over a button or sending a form.
- Delayed animation on a dropdown or slider.
- Button size and click area on a mobile device.
- Links that lead somewhere unexpected.