Common UX Mistakes and How to Avoid (or Fix) Them
Have you ever fumbled through a complicated contact form on a mobile website or wished for a button or link that wasn’t there? If so, you’ve experienced what a lack of foresight in user experience (UX) design causes. Don’t fall victim to the same common UX mistakes. Make sure potential customers poor UX design doesn’t turn off potential clients when they visit your business’s site.
UX is constantly innovating and evolving, but some innovations shouldn’t be pursued if they require sacrificing clarity or functionality. Additionally, it’s crucial, now more than ever, to explore responsive design and ensure your site performs beautifully on any device – especially mobile. Mobile devices are quickly eclipsing desktop PCs as the preferred method for internet browsing, so failure to design for mobile is going to kill your site’s performance and negatively impact your company’s bottom line.
We’ve compiled a short list of some of the most commonly seen UX mistakes, so you know what to avoid during your design process. Perhaps you’re guilty of one or more of these. If that’s the case, read on to find out how you can fix these issues before they start negatively impacting your company and start generating more valuable and memorable experiences for your site’s visitors.
Common UX mistakes you shouldn’t make
Mistake 1: The site is too busy.
Whether you are quilting or designing a website, never sacrifice clarity. At the heart of UX is the customer journey – the ideal path a customer takes from his or her first exposure to a brand to completing a desired action, such as completing a purchase, signing up for alerts, or opting in to an email newsletter. Your UX should focus on making the customer journey as enjoyable, memorable, and easy to navigate as possible while simultaneously generating more business for the company.
When a user’s interactions with a company are positive and valuable, the user is far more likely to want to do business with that company. Conversely, when navigating a brand’s website is clunky, unintuitive, or frustrating, this quickly turns customers off and sends them toward the competition. Unfortunately, many UX designers decide to jump on new trends as soon as they emerge. While they may have good intentions, the results are typically reduced clarity and a less enjoyable user experience.
Never try to be clever for the sake of being clever – each new development in the UX world won’t carry the same value for every designer or company, so make changes wisely, and don’t risk confusing users with guiding them. Users have an expectation when they perform certain actions, and when UX flies in the face of those expectations, it rarely delights users and more often frustrates them.
Mistake 2. Annoying Advertisements
Most websites make a sizeable chunk of revenue from ad placements. Targeted ads are a great way to boost the advertiser’s conversion rates and reach, but it’s vital that you don’t sacrifice your own site’s UX for the sake of your ads. Most consumers (suffice to say, all of them) view ads as a nuisance – they are a necessary and expected annoyance of browsing the internet. However, some users find ads that are relevant and discover new brands, products, and services. It’s vital that the ads that appear on your page do not interfere with the user experience. Ads certainly shouldn’t be your page’s focal point, either.
If users click to your site only to see massive ads, they’ll quickly click away. Additionally, pop-up ads are especially frustrating for most users, and they’ll immediately want to avoid your site simply due to their aggravation. If your advertisers demand pop-up ads, it may be time to revisit your advertising terms with them. You shouldn’t have any new windows popping up on your site – especially for ads.
Ads should be placed carefully where they are visible but not dominating the user’s view of your site’s content. A user shouldn’t have to scroll endlessly through various ads placed slapdash all over your pages.
Mistake 3. Confusing Scrolling Systems
If users are battling countless ads, chances are they won’t stay on your site for very long. When you work to find the best possible placement for your site’s ads, also consider the user experience in terms of scrolling. How far can they scroll? How far do they need to scroll to get where you want them to go? Some sites, including Facebook and Twitter, feature infinite scrolling due to the constant content being added to a user’s feed. Your company’s website shouldn’t be thought of the same way – when users visit your page, it’s for a distinct purpose or out of curiosity you’ve piqued – they want answers, not to wade through an endless sea of content that may or may not hold any value to them.
With this in mind, make sure your website’s visitors know your page exists below the fold as well – or below the area that immediately visible when you click to your site. Your most important information – who you are, what you do, and how you can help – should be prominent and accessible from the moment a user lands on your page, without being intrusive or pushy. Additionally, users should be able to recognize quickly that they can scroll for more information.
Mistake 4. The Site Isn’t Optimized for Mobile First
Responsive design is the concept of creating websites that respond or adjust to the screen or device on which they are viewed. For example, your site’s desktop format may feature a sidebar with ads or links and situate the main content next to it. This type of layout works for a larger monitor, but trying to compress such a layout for a mobile screen would not work well. Instead, your site’s content should take up the screen.
One cool innovation that many UX designers have embraced is the static navigation bar or buttons – no matter how far down users scroll, they can quickly navigate back to the page header or to other pages. There’s no need to scroll back up to find what they need.
Static navigation tools are just one element of responsive design. Many designers have adopted a mobile-first mentality to ensure their company’s websites respond beautifully to smartphones and other mobile devices. Your users expect the same degree of positive UX on any type of device, so plan accordingly to provide it.
Take Actionable Steps to Fix Your UX Mistakes
Reading through this article, you may have thought of one of two elements of your own site that could use some tweaking for a better UX. If so, don’t panic – simply assess your situation and see what you can do to fix it. Consider a problem area from three perspectives – form, fit, and function. When you address these areas, you can approach problem areas holistically and address a range of possible concerns.
When it comes to the element’s form – is there a visual issue? Can the user quickly identify the purpose of this element? Consider these and other questions about the visual quality and impact of your website.
In terms of fit – how well does the element perform its intended task? Can a user quickly assess what this element does? For example, a contact form shouldn’t be a huge submission with lots of different entry fields. Instead, try breaking it down into more logical groups. Think about what your ideal user would be comfortable submitting. Making small changes to the interactive elements of your website can result in a massive boost to your user’s engagement level, and, ultimately, improve your conversion rate.
Finally, consider the element’s function. Is it useful? Does it offer value to the user? Good design hinges on visual appeal, utility, and soundness. A user should be able to quickly identify something useful visually, understand the intended use of that element, and that element should fulfill that intention well. Failing any of these steps will result in poor UX, so think about these three aspects when it comes to your website’s pain points.
This post was written by Stephen Moyers, an online marketer, designer and avid tech-savvy blogger. He is associated with Los Angeles based SPINX Digital Agency. He loves to write about web design, online marketing, entrepreneurship and much more. Apart from writing, he loves traveling & photography. Follow Stephen on Twitter & Google+.