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Watch out! 10 UX Design Myths that can trip you up

by Alexandra Hayes on July 11, 2018 –

two guys, confused about UX design mythsUser Experience designers need to be skilled in many areas to create an excellent experience for users. The essence of great UX goes way beyond providing a checklist of features. It’s a challenging, complex and multi-faceted role to slip into.

Which is why it doesn’t help that there are certain myths floating around. We decided to look at some of these UX myths and bust ‘em.

1. User Experience is the same as User Interface

Many make the mistake of thinking that UX and UI are the same thing – wrong. User Interface only refers to the place where the user interacts with you. Whereas User Experience also encompasses their attitudes, emotions and looks at the big picture. Great user experience starts with UX and ends up with UI and both are essential for the product’s success, but are definitely not the same thing.

2. UX design is a fad

UX design has been around for quite some time now and let me tell you – it’s not going anywhere. Don Norman, a cognitive scientist, is believed to have come up with the term in the late 1990s but there is still some confusion about the role, and some people feel it is overrated. Here are just a couple of reasons why UX is not just a fad:

  • It connects business goals to user’s needs.
  • It involves continuous prototyping, testing and refining your design to make the best possible product you can, giving you a competitive advantage.
  • Happy users and customers keep coming back, which means – more revenue.

3. If the design is good, you don’t need to test it

A common myth is that an experienced designer can get away without testing. The truth is no matter how good a designer is, testing is crucial.

Why? Because it’s a mistake for designers to think that people will use interfaces in the same way they do. This is a dangerous fallacy because users may behave quite differently. They are likely to have different mindsets and come from different backgrounds.

Usability testing is vital to building products that users enjoy. Testing with real users is the only real way to find out whether products are right for them.

Check out our Designer’s Go-To Guide for Usability Testing to get started.

4. UX is a once-off task

This is not something that is done, finished and forgotten but a continuous process of improvement. It means constantly reevaluating users needs, refining ideas and taking valuable feedback on board and incorporating it into updates of the end product.

Go ahead and read more about proactive usability testing, which should be done on a regular basis, here.

laptop, UX design myths and mug

5. You can just sprinkle some ‘happy user experience’ on top

Some clients believe that UX designers can simply work their magic and make users happy with their experience in no time. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. The users experience should be designed from the inside out. The architecture of the interface has to serve the business and the user. As the old saying goes “You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.” Good design is integrated from the get-go.

6. The goal of UX is simplicity

The myth is that simplicity is the goal. Keeping things simple should make the purpose of what you’re building clearer yet not be the goal in itself.

A great example of this is the idea that the number of steps of interaction should always be kept to a minimum. Sometimes this is counterproductive as the process becomes harder to follow and the user would have been happier to do a few more steps.

7. Good UX needs to take users by the hand from start to finish

A common trend is to make decisions for the user on the assumption that they won’t be able to figure things out on their own. But trying to show users absolutely everything is overkill, and many of the finer details can be left for users to explore later on their own.

The newness of the technology brought about some constraints but people have become more adept and technologically savvy over time.

Scrolling: There was a time when all important elements had to be ‘above-the-fold’ because people were averse to scrolling. This has become largely irrelevant, and designers can’t use the excuse anymore that users won’t scroll when they design interfaces.

Clicking: Another UX myth is that people leave a site if they can’t find the information they want in three clicks or taps. Usability tests have long challenged this myth. It is not the number of clicks as much as links that are properly labeled with information that affect usability.    

8. The homepage is the most important page

You may want people to see your homepage, but the truth is that they will often go straight to individual content pages due to Google’s algorithms and social media shares.

Trying to nail the perfect home page without ensuring good UX on all the other pages is a mistake. You need to decide which sections of what is being built will deliver the most value to users, and this may not be the initial screen or home page.

9. A universal UX experience can be applied to all projects

There simply is no universal UX process that’s applicable to all projects because each project is unique and has different needs. Even if a designer uses an existing design solution or gets inspiration elsewhere, it always needs to be adapted to suit the specific project.

10. Users need plenty of options to choose from

Users don’t really want to be burdened with a lot of decision making. When users are given too many options, they often become overwhelmed – so better keep things simple and give them 3 great options rather than 25 mediocre ones.

Here are a few tips on how to improve your UX design:

Avoid unnecessary elements or content that does not support user tasks. At the same time, all valuable and relevant content must be included.

Prototyping is fundamental for good design. You shouldn’t put all your efforts into building something great, only to realize that the solution does not work as expected when it is released.

Use real content when you design. Don’t use Lorem Ipsum instead of real copy. If necessary, content can be ordered from professional writers and various proofreading services and tools can be used to make sure content is properly edited and free of typos.

Superior Papers – a professional proofreading service

Grammarly – your free writing assistant

White Smoke  – nice easy editing tool

When it comes to design, designers need to focus on functionality and accessibility, rather than just on appearance. In an attempt to be more creative and create a memorable design, some designers may intentionally add certain style inconsistencies. All this does is cause frustration and confusion. An accessible design will allow users with different abilities to understand and receive tangible value from using digital products.

About the Author: 

Alexandra Hayes is a creative writer and digital marketing specialist. She enjoys visual arts and yoga. Besides, Alexandra is a starting photographer. Meet her on Twitter!