4 Common UX Mistakes That Web Designers Often Encounter
As a web design company Media Masters Plus+, we understand the expectations placed on designers. We are tasked with transforming complex processes into easy, simple, and beautiful designs. When we succeed, it feels fantastic, but when we fall short, it can be disheartening. Designers, often perfectionists, take mistakes personally as if they have ruined everything. However, here's a little secret: most of the mistakes we make aren't entirely our fault. Unfortunately, we still face the consequences.
The missing piece in our education as designers is a deep understanding of people. While we study our craft and grasp the principles of design, communication, and aesthetics, we often lack comprehensive training on understanding people. This knowledge gap significantly impacts our designs and leads to common but unexpected UX mistakes.
UX Mistake 1: Assuming users understand more than they do
Designers spend a substantial amount of time working with user interfaces, which gives them an intuitive understanding of how things work on the web. However, what seems like common sense to us may not be common knowledge for users. We make assumptions that users know which questions to ask, understand the controls, comprehend the meaning of icons, symbols, and logos, give their undivided attention, follow instructions, and know how to find what they want. These assumptions, though reasonable, are not always based in reality. Users may be clueless, encounter controls for the first time, find visuals confusing, be distracted multi-taskers, or have difficulty understanding what they see. As designers, our role is to guide and direct users, separating those who are a good fit for our offerings from those who aren't.
UX Mistake 2: Designing for the user
We've often been advised to design for the user and focus on their needs. However, this advice is not always applied appropriately. Users are not always synonymous with the target audience we aim to attract. Take Google as an example. While they primarily focus on searchers as their main users, they have other categories of users, including advertisers, bots, and fraudsters. Google goes to great lengths to prioritize the user experience for their target audience, even if it means excluding others who conflict with their goals. Designers must recognize the distinction between users and target audience and design accordingly.
UX Mistake 3: Not enough friction
Friction refers to resistance within a design process. Designers are often led to believe that user friction is undesirable, as it may prevent users from taking the desired actions. However, some friction is necessary. Friction acts as a volume dial, allowing us to attract the right users while filtering out others. Examples of friction in action include Craigslist's ghosting feature, Google's blocking of abusive behavior, and Quora's enforcement of a respectful environment. Understanding and utilizing friction effectively can be a challenge for designers, but it's crucial for optimizing user experiences.
UX Mistake 4: Giving your boss what they want
This mistake requires courage and a clear understanding of the design's goal. Sometimes, clients, bosses, or committees may push for design decisions that go against the intended goal. As designers, it's important to speak up, even if it means delivering difficult news. Not speaking up may lead to mediocre work and hinder career growth. A portfolio filled with such mistakes can be a red flag for top-tier employers. It's crucial to advocate for the design's goal and communicate the potential pitfalls of deviating from it.
Here are some additional points to consider:
Embrace User-Centered Design:
To avoid the aforementioned UX mistakes, it's crucial to adopt a user-centered design approach. This means involving users throughout the design process, conducting user research, and gathering feedback to inform design decisions. By understanding the needs, goals, and behaviors of the target audience, designers can create more intuitive and effective designs.
Usability should be a top priority in design. Users should be able to navigate through a website or application with ease, find information quickly, and accomplish their goals without confusion. Avoid overcomplicating interfaces and prioritize simplicity, clarity, and intuitive interactions.
Conduct Usability Testing:
Usability testing allows designers to observe how users interact with their designs and identify areas of improvement. By observing user behavior, collecting feedback, and making iterative changes, designers can refine their designs and enhance the overall user experience.
Emphasize Clear Communication:
Effective communication is vital in design. Ensure that instructions, labels, and messaging are clear and concise. Use visual cues, icons, and typography to guide users and enhance understanding. Avoid jargon or technical language that may confuse users.
Focus on Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it's essential to design for responsive experiences. Ensure that your designs are optimized for various screen sizes, resolutions, and orientations. Mobile users should have a seamless and enjoyable experience, regardless of the device they use.
Continuously Learn and Adapt:
The field of design is constantly evolving, and it's crucial to stay updated with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices. Attend design conferences, read industry publications, and engage with the design community to keep learning and refining your skills.
Collaborate with Other Disciplines:
Design does not exist in isolation. Collaborate with developers, marketers, and other stakeholders to gain different perspectives and insights. By working together, you can create more cohesive and effective solutions that meet both user needs and business objectives.
If you find yourself in a situation where design decisions have already been made, try discussing your concerns with your team and presenting solid evidence to decision-makers. It may feel daunting, but as professionals, we have the tools and skills to identify UX mistakes that others may overlook. We have the ability to make the complex easy, simple, and beautiful.
Remember, embracing these mistakes as learning opportunities is essential for personal and professional growth as a designer. By continuously improving our understanding of people and refining our design processes, we can create more impactful and user-centered designs. Web design is a journey of constant learning and improvement. By acknowledging and addressing these common UX mistakes, designers can enhance their skills, create exceptional user experiences, and make a positive impact in the digital world.
At Media Masters Plus+, we recognize the prevalence of these common UX mistakes among designers. By understanding the importance of user-centric design, avoiding assumptions, finding the right balance of friction, and advocating for project goals, we aim to deliver exceptional design solutions that align with our client's visions. With our expertise in web design, e-commerce development using Shopify, and SEO services, we ensure that every user's journey is intuitive, engaging, and visually stunning.
As designers, let's embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth and continuously strive to create seamless and remarkable user experiences. Together, we can transform the digital landscape into a realm of effortless interaction and captivating design.