To create the best possible user experience, it helps to be an idealist. That’s because there’s almost always going to be a better, faster, crisper, or more pleasant way for a user to engage with your brand. The moment you think you’ve arrived at the Holy Grail of whatever app, product, or software feature you’re attempting to create, you’ve already failed.
In the realm of UX, persistent dedication to improving user interactions is the name of the game.
In this spirit, Orogamis has helped dozens of developers, engineers, and brand ambassadors bring their UX visions to life. Along the way, we’ve uncovered a trove of important lessons related to what doesn’t work. And, we’ve learned that actively avoiding some of the most common UX mistakes can smoothen the journey to a final outcome that genuinely delights users.
In part one of this two-part series, we explored seven of the most glaring and insidious UX errors made by web, app, and software developers. As we continue with part two, we’re diving deeper into some of the more nuanced UX blunders that even the most versed among us are prone to commit.
Be on the watch for these blunders, and your users will thank you in turn.
It’s one thing to be relatable. It’s another thing entirely to rely on humor and novelty to keep users engaged. Seasoned UX professionals know that being clever can have it’s advantages, but overdoing it often does more harm than good.
Users need guidance. They want ease of use, simplicity in navigation, and clarity in communication. Swamping them with cutesy phrases or witty aphorisms is going to have diminishing returns. Instead, keep your focus on the utility of what your app, website, or product is going to provide, even if that means shelving some of the cleverness.
When a user is first presented with a highly complex, feature-rich product (say, a new graphing calculator), it should be easy to discover what the product can do. Intuitive UX principles place an emphasis on discoverability, or the ease with which a user can ‘figure out’ how to complete a task or execute an operation.
Modern technology affords us the ability to create immensely complicated yet exceptionally useful solutions for many of life’s challenges. However, if a user is overwhelmed with complexity, it won’t matter how slick or well-designed the product is; the user is likely to abandon it altogether.
So, how can this blunder be avoided? The answer is fourfold:
Another approach to improving discoverability is to research other content, sites, and products your users are known to use or consume. By ‘porting over’ the frameworks found elsewhere in your users' world and integrating them into your product, website, or app, you’ll establish more immediate familiarity.
And, when something is immediately familiar, gradual engagement with complexity is far less burdensome for the user.
Here we are, well into the third decade of pervasive mobile device usage. And yet, new digital tools and solutions are still platform-specific. It’s unfortunate that this error is still so commonly made within app and software development teams.
We live in a world where computing takes on at least two life forms: desktop and mobile. Choosing any one of these as the sole commitment for your application or website is a dire mistake.
Instead, take your product into every point of access within the user’s environment. If they’re going to be crossing platforms on a regular basis, make it easy for them to have a seamless experience on their desktop or mobile device.
This may mean changing how clicks, taps, and hovers function depending on how and when a user is interacting with your product.
Ask an SEO expert about content strategy, and you’re likely to get a long-winded explanation of why keyword density, backlinking, source citation, and Latent Semantic Indexing are all vitally important.
Ask the same question to a copywriter or a journalist, and you’ll get something altogether different: content should be interesting, valuable, and informative, even if it means sacrificing SEO page rank.
So, is there middle ground here? Yes. Yes, there is.
The focus of your content should be on the consumer, not the search engine that may or may not lead them to you. High-quality content should impart your brand voice and tone while still containing enough keyworks, links, and cited sources to make it relevant to search engines.
So, for websites, include an ‘About Us’ page, a ‘Contact Us’ page, and a page that details your services. On each of these, include enough content that does the job of conveying your brand messaging while also including enough SEO triggers to ensure you’re not glossed over by Google and Bing.
This can take some trial and error. Be patient, and if you want to hasten your progress, consult a content developer who understands both UX and SEO.
Fiverr.com is a great resource to find freelance designers who can whip up a working logo for a tiny startup.
However, you wouldn’t want to trust a $5-per-job design neophyte with the task of creating a beautiful, intuitive website for your company.
The point here is to not cut corners when it comes to who you use for design work. Sometimes, it takes an entire team of experts to create a clean layout, stunning visuals, and a responsive design motif. Because UX design is so integral to the livelihood of your brand, don’t risk it by tossing the job to an amateur. You’ll get what you pay for.
So much effort goes into design, prototyping, and user testing that we often forget about one of the most fundamental aspects of communication in the digital age: text formatting and hierarchy.
This is understandable. Because, does it really matter whether you use the Helvetica or Garamond font? Or, will altering font weight, size, or contrast really have an impact on conversion rates?
The answer is resoundingly yes. Not only can slight text variations enhance user engagement, but testing on multiple platforms and screen sizes can reveal subtle design flaws that may need attention.
If you truly want your app, website, or software to impress and delight, make sure your text is organized and well-dressed.
Picture this: you’ve landed on a vertical-scrolling website that presents you with content organized into screen-sized sections. As you read through the content at the top, you instinctively roll your mouse wheel down or drag the scroll bar south to continue reading.
That’s when it happens...the website you’re looking at takes control of the scrolling function and locks you onto a spot on the page, effectively hijacking your scroll command and creating a sizable amount of frustration within you.
Scroll hijacking is painfully common, but it doesn’t have to be. To avoid this, conduct thorough user testing to detect scroll hijacking and nip it in the bud.
Carousels are great, in theory. The idea is to present the user with a simple, interactive page feature that provides useful information nested in an interesting graphical experience.
However, in practice, carousels can import a host of often-overlooked issues.
First, many users often scroll right past carousels as they scan the page for headlines, bulleted lists, and other eye-catching content.
Second, the information contained in a carousel is often redundant; what’s really important is typically located elsewhere on the page, making the carousel more of a distraction than anything else.
Third, carousel navigation is often difficult to pin down. Some users might not even know the feature is interactive due to obscure scroll buttons. Alternatively, an auto-scrolling carousel might wind up confusing and irritating the user because it’s progressing too quickly or too slowly.
When evaluating the use of a carousel, stop and think if it’s really necessary. Is this feature adding honest value to the page? Or, is it just a graphical gimmick masquerading as something useful?
Yes, the UX landscape is laden with traps, pitfalls, and snares. And yes, sometimes it takes a barrel of mistakes before we arrive at an ideal outcome.
At Orogamis, we believe that the journey to delivering a blissful user experience is made all the more manageable by applying the time-tested lessons learned from countless iterations of testing, revamping, and testing some more.
We wish you luck on your own UX odyssey. And, if we can help in any way, don’t hesitate to let us know.