Many companies are heads-down in their product development process. It makes sense — building a great product takes not only hard work but collaboration across teams, especially in larger organizations.
Sometimes, companies make mistakes when building their products, especially when it comes to user experience. Here are a few UX mistakes we commonly see:
Cram That Feedback
Most people know that they should be seeking user feedback as early and as often as possible. But knowing is different than doing. Most companies end up cramming user feedback in at the very end of a project, like waiting until the night before to open your text for a final exam.
Companies that do gather user feedback are often doing it the wrong way. Teams rely on surveys and focus groups to make design and messaging decisions. They depend on a lazy approach called market research versus the “listening to the heart” approach of the user called behavior research. The main difference between market research and behavioral research is that the first collect opinions, while the second observes actual behavior.
If you want to learn why users run into difficulties, and how they use your product, then don’t ask, but watch! Observe and listen as users interact with the site. Both in-person and online user testing are ideal methods for this approach.
Furthermore, most teams think you have to wait for a working product to begin a feedback session, but this is wrong. With methods like paper and codeless prototyping, a designer or marketer can collect insights from users as early as the idea stage.
Getting into the habit of testing every single assumption and idea as early as possible is something teams should fully commit to. If you are not running an experiment everyday, then you are doing something wrong.
To help you do it, right here are some tips:
- Identify issues with a product and brainstorm changes
- Ask users if they have the same issues
- After validating an issue create a sketch, wireframe, or rapid prototype
- Engage users again, observe how they use the prototype
- Iterate and show the improved version to more users
- Deploy, measure, and validate with users that their pain is relieved
Marketeers Know Best… Not!
Many organizations let marketing have the final approval about what goes on the website. Marketing professionals develop the brand, and they make sure the language is consistent with the brand; they position products, they focus on aesthetic consistency and attitude and messaging.
We see organizations conducting excellent behavioral research, and handing the results to marketers, who say: “That’s interesting—lets see how this fits into the marketing strategy.” it’s not marketing’s job to produce a reliable, functional experience. The problem is that UX designers and researchers usually have little say in the final design of the site.
Marketing-driven design is problematic, and it also misrepresents what it means to build a brand. The landscape is changing and the industry knows that building amazing experiences is a much better branding strategy than endless marketeer gibberish. Research to build something people love, then build that!
Mobile is exploding: Brace yourself. The world is browsing on smartphones and tablets. People switch between tablet, to smartphone, then desktop, and back again. Nearly everyone is walking down the street and buying shoes online.
Yet, we still tend to design for users sitting at a large desktop, alone in a quiet space. Unless you are drop-dead positive your audience is experiencing your website from a desktop, you need to think design for a multi-screen, active experience.
Sure, it’s possible to code for a multi-screen experience, and everyone talks about responsive design, but can you easily prototype a multi-screen or responsive experience? And what about user testing for a multi-screen experience? Hopefully, our jobs will get easier; In the meantime, we’ll have to devise workarounds to be sure that we aren’t stuck in the “desktop” paradigm.
Wordy, Wordy, Wordy…
There’s nothing wrong with having text on your website, except of course that people likely aren’t reading it.
Think about providing content in another format. Research on the human brain shows that when people are listening to someone speak, their brain activity syncs up with the speaker. The more the listener’s mind is in sync with the speaker’s, the more thoroughly the listener will comprehend the content.
Where it makes sense, use audio and/or video instead of just relying on text. Ohh, and the right picture can communicate 1,000 words, but you must test your images to insure you picked the right 1,000 words.
Many designers — and this is far too common an occurrence — copy the look and approach of someone else’s design. If a design is appealing and appears to be working surely a rigorous process was used to arrive at the aesthetic, right? This may have been the case, but likely not. By being a copycat you copy the same issues, problems, and of another’s design.
It is recommended to leverage design patterns and the best approached from other designs, you must think long and hard about how that design might perform, and of course, test it!