Websites, applications, and products should all be designed with the goal of being obvious, self-explanatory and self-evident to use. Users should not have to rely on complex instructions or manuals to use them, because odds are, they won’t read them. There are a lot of user experience (UX) mistakes out there these days which rely on instructions or aren’t user friendly. Below are the most common UX mistakes that designers make without realizing.
1. Focusing on the concept instead of the user.
Conceptual models which designers come up with in their mind are fine, but when the designer gets focused on the model and ignores the usability of it, problems can arise. The mental model is how a user imagines that a product or service should be, so a good website can merge the designer (conceptual) model and the user (mental) model.
When the conceptual model, which is the user interface does not meet the user’s expectations, the user experience will not be positive and the website will lose its customer.
2. Focusing too much on eye-tracking data.
There is a common misconception that eye-tracking data will give designers specific information about where users are looking and for how long. Although there’s some good benefits to using eye-tracking data, the negatives far outweigh the benefits. As explained by design blogger Terry Cluft of Boomessays and Revieweal, “eye-tracking data will tell you what someone looked at, but you won’t know if they paid attention to it or just glanced at it. It also only measures central vision, dismissing the important peripheral vision.”
Your design decisions shouldn’t rely completely on your eye-tracking data, and instead look into testing visual or auditory signals.
3. Reconsider your use of pop-ups.
Marketers rely a lot on pop-ups because they’ve been shown to be a good lead generation tool. Some of the best ways of increasing subscriptions to blogs are through pop-ups, and the studies will back that. However, Google warned websites in 2016 that websites with pop-ups or other intrusive interstitials that are obscuring the content would see a drop in their search rankings. The following year, in 2017, Google decided to penalize all sites with pop-ups and email capture light-boxes.
These are all measures to improve the experience of mobile search so users can more easily access content without interstitial interruptions. Google also made a distinction between good pop-ups and bad pop-ups. UX designer at State of writing and Essayroo Pamela Anker explains that “if it comes up immediately as soon as the user arrives on a page or the user is interacting with a page, and the pop-up hides the main content, or the interstitial pops up immediately before the user gets to the content, it will likely get penalized by Google.”
On the other hand, if an interstitial is part of a legal obligation like age verification or cookie usage, or a login to content accessible through a paywall, as well as banners that don’t take up much screen space and can be dismissed easily, Google will allow those for the time being. Read more about the distinctions are design your pop-ups with that information in mind.
4. Collecting feedback too early.
Another extremely common mistake is collecting feedback from your users too soon, because you might end up attracting more negative reviews. Ideally, wait a couple of days before emailing users if you want fair feedback. People like the time to think about something before deciding, and if you email them too quickly, they might get frustrated at being pressured to respond.
5. Selecting the wrong users for user testing.
If you’re getting only certain users or ideal users to test your website or app, you’re going about it the wrong way. You should only be testing certain users if your product targets only that group of people. However, for any other situation, you need to design your website in such a way that the least tech-savvy person can use it. You don’t need experts to test your website; instead, look for a user that matches your target audience.
These mistakes all point to the same conclusion: products and websites should be easy for the client to use. They should be obvious, self-explanatory and self-evident.
Ellie Coverdale is a marketing and design blogger at Big Assignments and Top Canadian Writers. She is involved in user experience and user interface projects and developing new strategies for online businesses. She is also a teacher for writing skills at Student Writing Services.