How to Avoid Common UX Design Mistakes

By Juned Ahmed,

As a designer, you always run the risk of being misunderstood, especially because all the problems that come up in the design process cannot be fixed at the same time.

Designers are often seen as the professionals within an organization or agency who will have a solution for every bump in the road and be able to come up with said solution at the drop of a hat - it can often just be too much when dealing with different personalities, demands and timelines. With so many projects and people before them, however, some common user-experience design mistakes have emerged that can easily be avoided - beginning with these:

1. Not designing for an audience

As a designer, it's easy to take pride in your creative abilities and that is quite natural, but to use your creative talent for a good functional design output requires distancing yourself from your ego. It is your goal to help the user more than it is to show off your creative genius. The focus of a UX designer should always rest upon ease of use more than anything else. Here are some effective tips to consider:

- Put yourself in the user's situation at every step.

- Figure out different user journeys to know how different users will use the site (e.g., starting at what page, coming from what destination, etc.).

- Create diverse personas that are likely to take an interest in your site and list their specific set of expectations from your app or site.

- Identify all the difficult aspects of UI that can hinder a flawless experience (e.g., broken links, missing calls to action, unclear direction, etc.).

- Test the UX on as many real devices as possible.

- Make rigorous A/B testing of all design elements like colors, layout, buttons, text, images, etc.

2. Not catering to mobile users

In spite of mobile's clear dominance across all facets of digital interfaces and development, this is still a major problem with many websites. Just making a layout that is displayed on all screens with equal visibility is not the only aspect of mobile-friendly design. Secondly, the majority of mobile users still use low-resolution devices in contrast to a few high-end devices. There are other crucial aspects like optimizing navigation and CTA buttons for finger taps, addressing page loading speed, creating clutter-free design and more that make a quick impact on how a site looks and functions on mobile screens. Surely a mobile-first design approach will address all these and many more design problems. Let us offer some tips here:

- On small-resolution devices the header remains fixed and takes up quite a lot of space in the viewing area. Instead of using the sticky header on mobile, using a hamburger menu icon that expands when tapped can improve the user experience.

- Mobile users are far more restless and so to keep them engaged ensure optimum page loading speed.

- Make all buttons and links easily tappable.

- Use lots of whitespace around the buttons and links to give them prominence and ease of finger-tapping.

3. Not providing relief with negative space

Use of whitespace or better to say, negative space, is a crucial element in UX design. It helps the eyes rest in between visual elements and this in turn helps with engaging an audience. Our attention is visual in character and naturally too many elements can actually create a hazy, cluttered impression. Here are some effective tips to consider:

- The use of whitespace around text will optimize readability and help users quickly scan the copy for important points.

- Use of whitespace around buttons will add to the prominence and ease of tapping on them when accessing from a mobile device.

- Whitespace around images and illustrations prevent them from being lost in the visual clutter.

4. Not offering social sharing

Social sharing options are like salt and pepper at the dining table - a user may not always need them, but expect them to be there when wanted. By placing social sharing options next to content, brands not only encourage users to promote the content, but also give the user an active role in the website experience. Consider these tips:

- Social media buttons shouldn't be altered too much in that each network has directions for using their logo, which is a good thing as users will recognize them quickly and this adds to their level of trust as well.

- Do not over-use social sharing options on your website. Rather, make sure they do not distract a user from the content.

- Ensure social sharing options are used consistently throughout the website (e.g., same order of buttons, same location, etc.).

5. Asking users for too much information

Another big UX mistake is to immediately ask for a lot of information from a website visitor. While sales people try to grab as much user details and information as possible, designers have to focus on user experience requiring them to take a balanced approach or meet in the middle. Here we provide some important aspects to consider:

- Consider social login which allows users to easily access content while still getting information for lead generation efforts.

- Construct a list of all the must-have information at the first point of contact (e.g., name and email address) and then a secondary list of would-like-to-have information and then the efforts that will be made to secure it (e.g., follow-up email asking for birthday to provide a free product at that time or a valuable piece of content that requires more information to access).

While it can be tough to navigate the different personalities, demands and timelines that a Web design project entails, designers must stand up for the user experience at every step of the way. About Author:

Juned Ahmed is an IT consultant by profession and is working with - the front runner company in mobile application development. He believes in the power of mobile technologies and sharing latest information on iOS, Android development processes.