User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) are ruling the world. Even if you don’t pay attention to them, users of your app definitely do. If neglected, this sphere can even break the application, causing major client churn. They will leave. Companies are investing time and money to make sure their product will launch smoothly and keep users engaged. There are, however, popular myths about the design. What are they and what complications do they bring?
User experience myths translates into overall perception
Before starting our list, let’s make one thing clear: UX myths can not only influence the look and feel of the application but also derail it completely. If you want to convince people to buy into the idea for a product and make them use the app, understand what design is and what it isn’t.
User experience design is about navigation and emotions. Period. No more, no less. Everything else – color pallets, placement of buttons, copy quality, everything else, is secondary. If the user doesn’t know what to do inside the app, can’t easily access the demanded feature, or spend too much time looking for it, something is wrong.
It’s about the interaction between human beings and machines. If the process is too complicated, generates frustration, or doesn’t allow to quickly do something, the app is faulty.
It’s about how things work, not how they look.
Common UX myths and their impact
- Design is about solving the problem for the user. One of the worst misconceptions of them all. The designer’s job description says nothing about helping the user to solve daily pain points. The app itself does that. Secondly, a person responsible for the look of the application can’t be the only one helping. It’s the job of the entire company. HR hires and builds the right team to create an app. Managers have a creative vision, etc. It’s a group effort.
In fact, the design is, at least at some level, nothing more than visualizing a conception and helping users to understand it. It’s a good practice to separate that idea from every other role and department in the company. The designer’s role is to spot and identify the problem and then work in a multidisciplinary team to overcome it.
- User experience is solely about the user. First, you’re telling me that user experience is about customer centricity and now you’re claiming it’s not true?! Yes, sort of. It is and always should be about how people perceive the application but it’s more complicated than that. Creating a product mockup involves a lot of people – project managers, graphic designers, UX/UI designers, and more. Everyone has their own opinions and takes on the task at hand. Ignoring that would negatively impact the final outcome.
To create a successful design, you have to learn how to navigate in-house interests, ambitions, different opinions about the approach. Finally – knowledge gaps and differences they create.
User experience is about creating a user’s persona, discovering his needs, and figuring out how to break it all into digestive pieces, helpful in visual process creation. Everyone has different takes on things. Users perceive value as one thing, company members will always have at least slightly different opinion. The key is to incorporate all that matters and serve what the user wants without sacrificing the company’s DNA.
- User interface exists to express how the product looks. Actually, no. Users sometimes think that how the app looks are the most important factor. They have the luxury of thinking like this because the product simply works. As humans, we tend to take life and everything it brings with it, for granted. If the applications do what it was created to do, then people don’t see it. I have downloaded it, it works, cool. Why thinking about it? Let’s move on to flashy colors and unicorn emojis.
In reality, a user interface is about translating mental models to visuals. In plain English – designers take users’ habits, behavior, expectations, thinking patterns and turn them into what is shown on the screen. That is the role of the design system.
- A focus group of five is enough. Not in the slightest! When Robert A. Virzi published his paper on user interface design, the world was very different. Today products are much more complex, cost much more money, users are more sophisticated, and expect totally different things. The paper states that 80% of usability issues can be spotted by only 5 subjects. Not anymore.
In today’s world, there are two schools on how to tackle this problem. If you have money, pay 500 users, not 5. If you don’t have money, add 5 users to the previous users. Then add another 5 users, and so on. To the point when you can predict how people will use your application, what problem the current design generates. The repetitiveness of issues is the key to solving them.
- Copy the design from other app – people love more of the same. One of the most common UX myth. When you blindly follow the success of other popular application, you give the market a clear signal – it’s a rip-off. Why should anyone be interested in your proposition and pitch, if they already find something interesting elsewhere? You’re not giving them anything new and important. Even more so – there’s a chance of repeating the mistakes.
In second point, we were talking about different takes on the same idea. The company have many different stakeholders, use them! You can spot an interesting solution, find a niche. If not for the entire product, then for the different take on navigation. The business you are trying to sell is unique – solutions made for other companies can work but don’t ride on the idea.
- UX design is a whim I can’t afford. No, everyone can! Many entrepreneurs think that only big companies have resources and time to spend on the “how this looks and feels” issue. Users are more interested in functionalities than how the app handles. They are not. Plus, even the implementation of basic techniques will help you make a better product.
There’s a process called Design Thinking that helps in making end-to-end development. Design is not about how it looks or how it makes the user feel. It’s about how it works. If it works, it translates into a variety of emotions for the user. And this is what can be called user experience.
OK, but you can argue it’s still expensive. Not, if you can find everything in one place. UX design and UI services are part of the offer for seasoned companies who know how to make digital products. If you buy in one place, you get quality and consistency.
- UX designer has to understand the user, the rest is irrelevant. In reality, the scope should be a lot bigger. Pain points, needs, and context of use is one thing. Applications’ business model, market environment, competition’s solutions are another. All are important to make a proper look and feel for the product.
A designer today is a more versatile creature than in previously mentioned 1992. Modern UX architect has tools: market research, organization’s business goals, user data, product vision, and strategy. Equipped with that, and with conclusions pulled out of initial focus groups, he can begin working on the app.
- The design should be beautiful, it’s functionalities that make the app functional. Wait, what? Functionalities make the app relevant to the user. They are the reason to use it in the first place. The design makes it easy to get to them and understand the overall purpose of the product. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
Designers should take into account many different things. Like progressive app design, which makes the application run on desktop or laptop computer look and behave like a mobile-native application. Should it be functional? Definitely! Should it be aesthetic and easy on the eyes? Why not?
- The user experience should incorporate only the newest solutions. Definitely not. Something can still be relevant and be decades year old. Like Moore’s law. Formed in 1965, seemed to be valid up to around 2015 when many critics saw that graphical processors are more powerful than processors themselves.
The process of designing the application should be centered around the user and answering a simple question: what can we to do make people interact with the product? The answer will vary from company to company, making it impossible to copy 1:1 in each and every case. Sure, staying on the top of the field is required from many specialists, UX designers included. But using ALL tools that are at their disposal, just to prove a point, is false.
- Create a design, then test it. It’s old-world thinking when budgets were smaller then and people didn’t have Agile. It’s actually better to test the design every step of the way. Every few days, or every sprint, the designer should have a complete brake-down of what people think about current increments to the project. What problems do they spot, where they spend the most time, etc. That way, the application can be adjusted in almost real-time.
Myths-ical problems can be turned into UXtraordinary solutions
If it worked for one company, it can work for you. But sometimes it shouldn’t. You have a different user base, a unique approach to addressing pain points, and the whole shebang. Think differently, position yourself uniquely on the market. Trust professional developers and designers. Above all – don’t think that a user is a person that knows exactly what he wants. It’s like Henry Ford said: “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”.