As a UI/UX designer, I find myself constantly making the same mistakes. I don't want to make these mistakes and waste my time so that's why I'm writing this article for you guys!
You've probably made some of these mistakes before too which is why it's important to learn from them. Hopefully after reading this article, you'll be able to avoid them in your next design project.
Let me walk you through 10 common UI/UX designer mistakes and how we can avoid them.
Failing to Prioritize Key Pages and App Experience
With so many things to design, it's easy to lose sight of what objectives are most important which can be an extremely common mista. In the rush to get everything launched, you might not put your best effort into a key page or experience that could have a long-term impact on your product's success.
A couple months ago at my company I was leading our company’s redesign project which included the main dashboard page. One time I didn't know what else to do with it so I decided to add a random animation on hover as if by default...and then forgot about it. This animation caught fire among users and became very popular.
While I'm not proud of it being one of my early contributions, this animation did create a fun experience that users would talk about with their colleagues or friends. It was extremely unlikely anyone would have found this feature without help from someone else so there's some real potential here.
Figure out your top goals and prioritize them as high as you can. Try to determine which are long-term goals (best for the product) versus short-term goals (more attractive to customers). If you're having trouble prioritizing, run a simple A/B test to evaluate each goal's merit.
Failing To Understand User Needs and Pain Points With the Right User Research
This one's a doozy. You start designing without first making sure you understand the users' goals, motivations, and pains.
The other day I was browsing products on an ecommerce website. I decided to sort the page in descending order based on price to see if anything grabbed my eye - but it didn't work! What I wanted was for there to be an option to sort this product list either by best sellers or by newest products. These are features that can change how people shop online.
Before you start sketching out ideas, take care of your user research. Understand who they are and what their pain points are. Try to dig deeper into what they want to accomplish and why they're trying to do so.
Using Outdated Design Patterns That Are Difficult To Use or Don’t Translate Well
Your prototypes are based on old design patterns and you may not realize it because you've become accustomed to seeing them all the time happen such a common mistake. At some point, these patterns have served their purpose, but now we need something more intuitive . Instead of redesigning an existing pattern, try creating your own original ones. Even if others don't like it at first, there's a good chance that they might grow to love it over time as long as it delivers real value for users. This is how we can start transforming designs into something of our own.
I still remember the first time I used Google's Material Design framework and how it was very different from what I was used to at the time. My initial reaction? What is this, a kid’s theme? Seriously though, after using Material Design for a bit, it didn't take long before I got excited about its design quirks (e.g., hitting escape to close a dialog box). I started to move away from Bootstrap in favor of building our own unique responsive framework that gives us more flexibility than any other UI kit out there.
Review your current design patterns and see whether they're working or if you can improve on them somehow. If not, try designing your own. It's a liberating experience knowing that you can create anything from scratch, even if your creations don't always work out in the end.
Making Assumptions and Not Testing with Users Early and Often
You jump to conclusions without getting feedback from users or relying on other sources of research is a huge typical error. Doing so will cost time (which is money) because you'll have to iterate until you’ve finally got something right. What's more, these bad assumptions may cause significant design flaws which could potentially lead users away from your product.
My first year starting out designed an account page that was based on what I thought would be intuitive for users instead of what they actually wanted. I didn't even bother to ask them for feedback (hey, it was the first time designing when fighting to get a few users). Based on my own personal expectations and assumptions, I assumed that people would want to add their company name next to their avatar. The idea made sense from my perspective, but obviously not from theirs.
If you're not questioning your design decisions at every step of the way or testing alternatives with users in order to validate each assumption you make, then you’re doing it wrong.
Using Filler Content Rather Than Social Proof When Testing With Users
While working on the product page for a Video Chat tool, I didn't have any visuals to show my new users. To be honest, that was a huge mistake on my part! In the end, I decided to use filler text instead of showing real user videos or how-we-use-it photos from their peers.
When creating mockups, always try to fill them with helpful and relevant examples. Test your designs early and often, but test with real users whenever possible because they bring critical insights into the browsing process that can help shape other decisions you make along the way.
Assuming That Users Want Something Just Because You Do
Your biases play a role in your design process. While this is not always a bad thing, it can be when you start assuming that your users want something just because you know that’s what you want or how you think they should use the product in the first place.
When we were designing our new module, I was sure my team and I wanted to build an experience that was intuitive and easy-to-use. What we've learned since then is that different kinds of people have unique needs which influence the way they interact with things around them .
In order to eliminate these biases, try defining personas for yourself; naming predefined groups of users who are similar to one another based on certain traits they have in common (e.g., they all live in California, are women between the ages of 25 and 35, have children, etc.). Then design with them in mind.
Failing To Design For Test-Driven Development (TDD) from The Beginning
Not designing for test-driven development is a big mistake many designers make. It's actually much easier to do than you might think while adding value at every step along the way. TDD teaches us that we can't just throw things at our users and expect them to understand what we're doing.
Instead, it encourages us to focus on incremental improvements based on user feedback at each step of the way. Examples include running A/B tests, which allow your users to do the hard job of telling you what they don't like about things they see.
If you're going to test, it's good practice to use a/b testing tools that enable you to split-test multiple versions of the same page and allow control over which user gets what version. You can use tool like: Maze
This would give you the best results when deciding which combination works best for your particular audience based on their behavior as they browse through the different variations.
Failing To Find The Problem First
I used to think that my job was to come up with all the features, and then it was my team's job to build them (with my designs of course). What I've learned since then is that for a project to succeed it has to be a collaboration between design, engineering, product management and users. In fact, you have to ask yourself what problem you're trying solve before anything else .
If you can't answer that question clearly, then chances are no one else will be able to either. And if they don't know what the problem is, how can they help find solutions? This is where user feedback comes in!
As stated above, user feedback is valuable. Without it you are more than likely doing something wrong because no one will know better than them when something's not right with something they helped create from the ground up (i.e., their problem).
They may not always be able to tell you how to do things differently but if you ask questions about what didn't work for them then that might just open a door of opportunity for you. Which leads us into my next point...
Failing To Listen And Act On User Feedback
Getting lazy and thinking that you already know the answers to everything, which will inevitably lead you down a dark path this mistake seem to happen consistently. Remember when I said above that getting user feedback is important?
Well, it's more than just getting feedback from users. As designers we are sometimes guilty of falling into the trap of thinking we are smarter than our clients and/or stakeholders...we think that what works for us will work for everyone else (i.e., instead of asking them questions about their problems they face with trying to solve something).
If there's one thing in this world without which nothing moves forward or gets done properly, it's communication . Without good communication any project can come crashing down around you like a house of cards.
Spend time talking with your team, clients and users about what they think would be a good solution to the problem at hand. Not every idea is a good idea. Not every bad idea will turn into something great if given enough time or resources (most of the time). In other words, killing your darlings can sometimes be harder than it seems - but remember that iterating upon ideas based on user feedback can make them more viable solutions in the long run anyway!
Failing To Have The Courage To Make The Right Decisions
As designers, we're usually at the whim of our clients or stakeholders who want a certain thing to be done "their way" because it's what they're most comfortable with. There were many times where I was working on projects for large organizations that had design teams much bigger than myself and my team.
When these teams got together to collaborate on a project they would often agree upon something just so that everyone could agree...or succumb to pressure from higher-ups and agree on something because it didn't take effort to do so but only negligibly more effort than disagreeing with them. The problem is when you get into a situation like this (and you will many times in your career), you need to know who's really the customer.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important lessons I learned in my career. Who's the customer? Well, your client may be paying you to design something for them but they are not necessarily the customer . The user is the one who will ultimately decide if what you're doing is good work or bad work (by consuming it).
The more time you spend talking with users and asking them questions about their problems, the easier it'll be for you to spot when a good decision was made rather than just agreeing on something for the sake of getting it over with quickly without fully understanding why that decision was being made in the first place.
In conclusion, it's important to take the time to reflect on your work and see if you're making these same mistakes. I've learned more than any other period of my career from reflecting on previous projects which is something that not many people do.
This is why I'm willing to share with you some of my lessons learned so that you can learn from them in turn!
Practice makes perfect so are 18 Free UI UX Courses for you
I hope this list has been helpful and if it was then please share it with a designer friend or two. Thanks for reading and good luck in designing your next project!