What do UI designers do every day

Really SMILE UX mistakes that even large teams make

Some of your most important UX decisions are going to be the things you do Not to do.

Creating that hamburger menu, changing the scroll direction, and adding more features can be important decisions that will make it easier for people to use your website or app and keep them excited for longer. It's easy, even for great teams, to develop great products and make terrible UX mistakes in the process - because it is not always clear what will go down well with users.

If you experiment, iterate and make mistakes with your product, that's fine. These mistakes are also opportunities to better understand what users need. But to make sure that your mistakes are constructive, you need to educate yourself about why certain things work and some don't.

Really bad UX errors frustrate your users if they are overlooked for too long. Below are some really bad UX errors that occur even with popular products with talented teams behind them. Let's learn from these mistakes and understand why they don't work so we can avoid them in our own product. Or we learn to understand the meaning behind it so that we can work towards a better overall experience for our user.


Mistake 1: A Norman door

When I look at something I should be able to see what operations I can perform. If not, you don't know how to use something.

For example, the "Norman door" in UX design is a button, menu or other digital object that gives no indication of how to use it.

Every element of your product gives some kind of signal to your user - whether you intend it or not. You can unknowingly create really bad UX if the signals you're sending don't match what the application is actually using. This results in poor "usability" - users cannot figure out how to use the product or feature.

This is not just one aspect of digital design. They also exist in analog objects with which we interact every day. Design consultant Don Norman coined the term "Norman Door" to refer to a door that doesn't design to signal how someone should open it.

Some applications do the same by using buttons or functions that are not self-explanatory. If someone has never used the app before, it leaves a user in the dark about how to use the feature.

For example, for someone who has never used Google Translate, this symbol - is it a snake? a lasso? - is not easy to understand from the notes in context. Little bit of knowledge that this button will allow you to write words on your phone with your finger for translation.

Findable is not synonymous with intuitiveness. You can introduce a new symbol and emit enough signals in your product to help a new user understand how it works, even if they are unfamiliar with it. Some important ways to do this are:

  • Prototyping and collecting user feedback: Most of the time, discoverability is improved with simplicity - but sometimes you can simplify too much and remove the necessary context. Test prototypes and see how real users who the app is for interact with it. The best way is to find out exactly how much context your users need.
  • Provide clear and simple user onboarding: Simple explanations should always be built into the onboarding of your product. You don't always have to display a text label next to a button. However, as a user learns to navigate the product, the label should stay there or the introduction to the function should include a tooltip explaining the function or button.

As you build your onboarding, you should have a clear idea of ​​what your features will be like. If you find that there is too much explaining to do with your feature's functionality, it is likely too complex.


Mistake 2: You used what appeared to be working items

It is tempting to rely on familiar menu controls. But hiding critical parts of an application behind such menus could have a negative impact on usage.

Elements of the "last resort" category make navigation more difficult for your user. But too often, they are product designers' first choice because they are widely used and easy to create.

In reality, these final UI elements - like drop-down selections and hamburger menus - can almost always be replaced with something more convenient for the user.

Not only are drop-down menus annoying, they let users click multiple times to make selections. But they make it easy for users to make a mistake by grouping selections so close together in horizontal rows.

Similarly, hamburger menus should be viewed as a last hope. They have been overused because they give designers a lot of space in a small space. But ultimately they make users forget about functions (because they are out of sight) and cause more work for the user (because it takes more taps or clicks to navigate).

For example, if Facebook changed their iOS mobile design to include a bottom tab bar instead of a hamburger menu in the top left corner, the result is more engagement, higher user satisfaction, higher revenue, and a higher perception of speed .

Look for alternatives that will show users what they want and make it difficult for them to make mistakes so they don't have to resort to the convenient but last resort:

  • Make decision aids visible and give users more control: Put simply, interaction increases when users can see what options they have. Instead of creating hamburger menus, experiment with tab stops. Use steppers or sliders for quantitative options and radio buttons or buttons for qualitative options instead of drop-down menus.
  • Identify what is important. Not everything can and must be visible. You need to prioritize the features that you want users to interact with the most. This starts with understanding what is most valuable to your users.

Don't bother thinking that these menu controls simplify the user experience - they just hide the complexity.


Error 3: You did not use enough user data for personalization

Personalization is a hypothesis like any other design or function change and should be treated with similar rigor. This is by looking at the data to make sure it improves conversion rate and other important metrics.

Using your users' data to create real, personalized recommendations goes much further than saying "Hello, dear {customer}!" It takes a little more effort, but more success in UX and engagement.

Each inbox is full of subject lines with your personalized name. This was once a useful tactic for building better relationships with customers by adding an element of personalization through which to create an emotional connection. But it's out of date.

Now that many marketers understand liquid tags, superficial personalization like a name doesn't make much of an impact. It's a nice touch, but the personalization can't stop there. The value of personalization is in harnessing what is unique about a person and how they are used to achieve their goals and encourage interaction.

This kind of superficial personalization - which is not based on meaningful data - is not enough because it is inconsistent with what the user is trying to do or helping them get there.

For example, a company marketing a new membership can't be content with just one name in the subject line - because it makes the personalization seem hollow.

Instead, it would have been more beneficial for this company to use the data from the user's history and recommend specific packages to suit their preferences.

Really good UX is more than just a well-designed user interface - it's about optimizing every single interaction your user has with your brand. Data-driven personalization can help you create a deeper connection with your user and provide them with really helpful ways to achieve their unique goals.

To really add value and increase engagement, look for ways to leverage the data you have about your customers to provide personalized advice and recommendations:

  • Use behavioral data to influence future users' actions. By providing users with metrics about their usage, you can give them tailored recommendations for improvement. Not only does this increase user satisfaction, but your recommendation leads them back into the product and makes them more successful.
  • Enrich your lead data to offer specific personalizations. You can get more information about your leads or current customers to learn important details - like the industry they work in. Some companies use this data to provide helpful personalizations such as landing pages for specific industries that address the specific concerns of customers in that industry.

There is a wide variety of data that you can use to make personalization authentic and helpful - behavioral, local, industry-specific, and so on. Create better user experiences that offer three-dimensional personalization.


Mistake 4: You chose looks over performance

Responsiveness is a fundamental user interface design rule that is dictated by human needs, not individual technologies. A fast user experience beats a glamorous one for the simple reason that people interact more with a website when they can move freely and focus on the content rather than its endless load time.

The first things users notice about your website or app are load time and response time. No matter how much time you spend perfecting your navigation menu or color scheme, people will never love your design if they leave the page before a screen loads.

According to Jakob Nielson, the ability to react is so important because people have strict needs in terms of attention and control:

  • We have natural restrictions on our attention, and the longer we wait for a page to load, the more our attention wanes and the more likely we are to be distracted.
  • We would prefer to be in control of our own navigation and poor performance makes us feel like we are exposed to the incompetence of others.

Kissmetrics released an infographic showing how slow response times can cause your product to die - but the most alarming and noteworthy observation was that literally every second counts.

After just two seconds of waiting, over 10% of users have already left your website. And the frustrating wait is so insistent that the consequences are not isolated - poor performance will be remembered by your users for so long that they even associate slowness with the whole brand.

While much less sexy than UI tweaks, the improvements in your product's performance can have great benefits:

  • Develop those around the limitations of attention. Users generally feel that a 0.1 second response is immediate, a 1 second response is quick but delayed, and a 10 second response is on the verge of tolerability. With a response time of around 0.1 seconds, users feel like they are directly manipulating the product instead of waiting for the product to work for them.
  • Be aware when using elements that slow down loading time: If a special widget or complex data processing function on your website is slowing down your response time, you shouldn't put it on the landing page. If you need to add something that is slowing down response time, acknowledge it in a message to the user so that they are better informed and able to stay in control.

Small improvements are important here. An improvement in response time of just 0.1 seconds can improve the conversion rate. Optimizing performance means getting tangible engagement results.

Mistake 5: You fell in love with your product

Making the simple complicated is commonplace. The complicated is simple, incredibly simple: that is creativity.

If you become too attached to your product's features or design elements, it can be difficult to let go of them. However, this can be detrimental to UX as adding complexity can overwhelm and confuse your user.

As with many things in life, simplicity in product design is often more difficult than complexity. True simplicity requires figuring out what matters most and ruthlessly prioritizing - which is often a lot more work than adding everything you can think of.

It's difficult because some products are really complex. In addition, the people who build products are aware of the complexity and know how interesting and nuanced all of the features are. Imposing a hierarchy of importance for features and actions for a user is difficult from this perspective.

Two of the biggest contributors to complexity are too much content and visual overload. Because if the most important information is lost in content or visual clutter, it becomes much more difficult for the user to find what he needs or what to do next.

Figuring out what to remove isn't always easy, but it's important to developing a good UX. There are a number of ways you can overcome the discrepancy between what a product designer or engineer wants to create and what the user actually needs:

  • Focus on the core value of your product. If your product is overcrowded, go back to basics - what is required in your market? The best way to find out is to talk to users and do market research. Identify and prioritize the core functions that lead to the underlying value. If necessary, you may need to remove features or content that doesn't target this value and reject nuisance feature requests.
  • Prioritizing Visual Simplicity: Many users perceive that less visually cluttered user interfaces are easier to use, even when objectively less helpful. It's simple, but the benefit of visual elements like white space and clear calls-to-action is that a product is easier to use.

To ensure simplicity in your product, you need a strong product vision backed by real user experiences and preferences that guide you to the most important elements.


Building a really good UX is a constant process

As your market and product evolves, so does your UX. Therefore, really good UX cannot be seen as a single performance. You have to keep delivering great experiences to your users. You need to understand the mechanics of different user experiences and how your product will affect your user.

Jim Nieters, Global Head, User Experience of the HP Consumer Travel Division, says:

"The big question is not knowing that a product has a great design. It is what it takes to get great user experiences over and over again."

Understanding the meaning of UX failures and how they affect your users is the first and most fundamental step.