While many people associate UX (user experience) with techies and web designers, it was actually a psychologist working for Apple who coined the term in the 1990s. Since then, UX design has become absolutely fundamental to product strategy. The recent evolution of mobile devices and applications has only increased the value of quality UX design. Now, more than ever, consumers expect seamless and intuitive web experiences.
UX design now encompasses every aspect of a customer’s online interface with a product. Good UX design takes into consideration usability, usefulness, value, navigation, credibility, accessibility, and emotional connection. For current or aspiring UX designers, it is crucial to understand how each of these factors psychologically impacts a potential customer.
While there are innumerable ways to improve the effectiveness of a website or app, there are a few fundamental mistakes that UX designers should understand and avoid. Clutter and inconsistency, for example, can easily ruin an otherwise positive user experience. Luckily, UX designers have a lot of resources online and can learn from the missteps of others. To create the best possible interface for customers, avoid the following vital mistakes that take away from user experience.
1. Non-intuitive Navigation
Technology is complicated, but using it shouldn’t be. The most important underlying principle behind UX design is making technology user-friendly. That means the design has to be intuitive. If a user can’t quickly figure out how to use an app or navigate a website in 15 seconds or less, they’ll simply move on and try a different product.
Of course, creativity and aesthetics play an essential role in quality design, but usability always has to come first. Great UX design includes a logical order for elements and icons and a hierarchy that makes sense to everyone. For instance, a good website has a navigation bar that allows users to find specific information without having to spend time digging around the website or app. The navigation bar should be exactly where users expect to find it, and it should present all options clearly.
2. A Messy Layout
Creativity doesn’t always lend itself to neatness and organization. However, UX designers need to create interfaces that embrace both artistry and structure. The best UX designers know how to create attractive and engaging interfaces that don’t sacrifice usability. Yes, design should be eye-catching and interesting, but it also has to run smoothly and effortlessly for the user.
Ultimately, a designer’s artistic zeal shouldn’t create clutter that distracts from useful content. A web page or app with too many elements can make the layout feel messy to users. Instead of drawing people further in, over-designing detracts users and sends them searching for a better experience elsewhere. You can learn more about UX design trends for 2020 to find out what types of changes can help keep layouts clean, intuitive, and visually attractive.
3. Inconsistency Across UI Elements
Just as consistency in content helps to eliminate confusion, consistency in design helps to keep everything clear and straightforward. To keep users focused on what matters most, you can avoid distractions by keeping accent colors, fonts, headers, footers, buttons, and other elements uniform throughout all content. This type of consistency creates simplicity and, in turn, enhances usability. To avoid discrepancies, always go back and check your work.
UX designers also have to understand how layout and design can help establish and maintain a brand. By incorporating consistent design within a single interface and across platforms, UX designers can develop the trust of users in a brand or company.
4. Poor or Non-existent Text Hierarchy
Incorporating complex text often challenges UX designers. Text conveys essential information, but striking a balance between too much and too little isn’t easy. Not only does text require organization, flow, and clarity, it also has to convey the hierarchy of information.
Poor design ignores the nuance of the text written for a website or app. Well-written web copy should have a natural hierarchy. In other words, it should clearly convey what information is most important to the user. Quality UX design reinforces this order. While keeping consistency in mind, font sizes, styles, and color should distinguish the different levels of importance within text.
Proper text hierarchy also includes mindfulness of the space around text. For example, UX designers often leave less space between related elements and use blank space to create separation between unconnected text.
5. Icons No One Understands
In addition to text, apps and websites heavily rely on icons to convey information quickly. By graphically representing concepts or instructions, UX designers can simplify user experience. However, designers often make the mistake of coming up with their own icons that confuse users. While a custom icon may look good, it’s counterproductive if users can’t quickly interpret its meaning. Most of the time, using a simpler, less attractive icon results in a better experience for users than flashy designs.
While many technical factors contribute to the quality of a website or app’s UX design, consumers don’t think in these terms. When interacting with an interface, users don’t want to have to think at all. As consumers continue to turn to their phones and laptops to make purchases or learn new information, UX design remains a top priority for many companies. By avoiding these common mistakes, UX designers can improve their craft and produce smooth, engaging platforms.