When it comes to product design and user experience, many companies are heads-down in the process. A good design is achieved due to a combination of multiple factors, such as the hard-work of the designers and the supportive collaboration across multiple teams within the firm. However, more often than not, many UX design projects suffer from some common mistakes. In this post, we shall be taking a look at such mistakes and discussing ways to avoid them.
1. Excessive Generalization
Irrespective of the type of product or service that you are offering, no two sets of users can be called alike. In general, users come to your product or service from a variety of channels, and each user has a different goal and intention. If you are running a news website, your users may come from social media or search engines. However, their motives might be different: user A might visit your website simply because he or she saw the link to an article that seemed interesting, whereas user B might come across your content after spending some time using Google. In this case, user A’s experience, based on chance, varies from that of user B, which is based on research.
Naturally, in order to optimize the user experience, the design should be modeled around specific cases or contexts. Dropbox, for instance, is one company that does it pretty well. Depending on how you first came across Dropbox, the service offered to you might vary. Thus, if user A learns about Dropbox as a way to store and sync documents to the cloud, his sense of Dropbox’s utility and merits will vary from that of user B, who might have come across Dropbox through a shared file or folder.
As a result, instead of over-simplifying things by insisting on a common UX for one and all, consider opting for a context-sensitive design that ‘knows’ the needs of the users, and can offer a better and more relevant user experience.
2. All Text, No Talk!
Having text as a part of your design is never a bad idea. However, unless that text is an integral part of the product that you are designing for, chances are high that your users may not read it in entirety.
Research has proven that if people are listening to a speaker, their brain activity syncs up with the speaker, as opposed to reading the written text. This is the primary reason why television shows and movies tend to get more attention than books, because viewing or listening can help us comprehend better than just reading.
Good user experience is achieved by combining the best of all the worlds — do not eliminate text outright. Instead, use a combination of images, text and, if needed, videos to convey your message.
3. Crammed Feedback
It is common knowledge that user feedback is a vital part of the overall design process. However, instead of regularly seeking feedback, many design teams just choose to cram all feedback-related entries right towards the end of the design project.
Furthermore, even if feedback is given its due share of importance, the modus operandi is overlooked. Market research is often the preferred mode of gathering user feedback, whereas the ideal approach would be to employ behavioral research. While market research surely has its own benefits, it cannot beat behavioural research when it comes to user feedback — the former seeks and collects opinions, whereas the latter relies on actual behavior of the users.
4. Failing to See the Thin Line Between UI and UX
There is a difference between user interface and user experience. However, a good number of designers are unaware of this fact.
Take the case of the car dashboards. There is great attention paid towards user interface — the buttons are properly spaced, the display screens are easy to use, and so on. However, the case of user experience is defeated. In spite of all the modern technology underneath the dashboard, UX is unheard of.
Because there are way too many things that are going on in that car dashboard. Remember, a person will use the car dashboard while driving, and his or her primary attention will (and should) be focused on the road, not the dashboard. Offering way too many choices — N number of buttons, loads of display stuff on the screen, and so on — means that the user experience goes down the drain.
Solution is simple. Bear in mind this motto: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Good design happens when you combine user interface with user experience, and in order to accomplish that, focus on meeting the user’s needs, instead of firing a cannon-ball of features that may otherwise be unnecessary.
With that, we come to the end of this blog post about some of the common and most prevalent UX mistakes. What are your thoughts? Share them with us using the comments below!
Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and has authored several books. He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.