We’re continuously improving our knowledge on user experience (UX) and it has been at the core of many recent trends in web design. Making authentic, visually appealing websites without compromising their usability really takes a lot of craft, especially when you want to experiment a little. As a website designer, you’re continuously honing your craft with the aim to improve UX, but you’ll unavoidably run into some mistakes in the process. After all, learning from mistakes (both your own and those of others) only sharpens and enriches your skills. In light of that, we’ll look into some of the most common mistakes of modern UX web design that you should avoid.
Lack of clarity
Pouring in all your creativity to make your website innovative and authentic is great, but all too often, designers sacrifice clarity for the sake of making something edgy and different. You understand how the website works because you made it following your logic and you’re proud of how good it looks, but it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone thinks like you. There’s a huge chance of users missing the point if it’s not clear, which ends up in plenty of confusion that’s frustrating. Radial user interface designs are a good example of this – some may work if they’re intuitive enough, but others challenge the user with their complexity.
In your design process, always reflect on what users will expectcertain elements to do. Don’t make ambiguous icons and buttons that users will expect to do one thing but they end up taking them somewhere else. If you see hesitation during user testing, observe where users have hesitated when performing a set of tasks on your website and what had possibly misguided them.
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We’ve all experienced this – websites that forcefully demand registration from the user in order to gain access. Registration may not be the issue, although everyone would rather not have to do it; the problem arises when these registration forms are longer than necessary. People come to your website with an intended goal, and these long registration forms are an obstruction to their path. They make users feel forced to give information that’s of no use to reaching their end goal, and they often look forceful as well. This goes for any other kind of pop-up form you might subject them to.
If you have to have a form, ask for the bare minimum of information and make it easily accessible. Use third-party authentication whenever possible because it will save the user’s time and spare them the effort. It’s important that forms look short at first glance, so if there is a dire need for a longer form, break it up into sections to remove friction.
Overwhelming your design with images and choices
Minimalism is such a huge hit on mobile app interfaces and websites alike for a reason – it really enhances user experience. The cleanliness and simplicity of minimalist design put users at ease when they land on a web page because they’re not “visually bombarded”. But there’s still a lot of designers trying to stuff too much into their websites, and it’s hurting the UX although they don’t realize it. It’s frustrating for anyone to land on a congested page that’s full of loud images, icons, buttons, and text – the user won’t know where to look first, let alone what to do. Your design can’t direct users to the next intended action efficiently if you’re throwing too many choices in their face at once. Additionally, congested websites take more time to load, bringing even more hazard to UX.
You don’t have to declare your design as minimalist per se, but try to humanize it and guide users with it. You’ll find that in order to do that, it’s usually better to subtract than to add. The most effective modern website designs rely on visual simplicity, not information overload, to strengthen a brand’s identity, stand out from the crowd and improve UX.
A carousel can be a great addition to your web design, saving you space and engaging users, but that’s only if it’s designed well for UX. The most common mistake that website designers make with carousels is jamming too many slides or simply using the carousel as fancy decoration. With the first scenario, users tend to overlook the suggested content, and with the second you’re not really providing them with anything to engage in. Another common mistake is that the arrows or slide indicators are not obvious and easily accessible – remember, your design needs to guide the users and suggest to them where to click next.
When designing carousels, stick to the numbers – you don’t need more than five slides. You want to use the carousel to draw attention to your most valuable content and enhance the users’ experience, helping them get what they’re looking for effortlessly. Moreover, slides are not mandatory. You can have only two elements you want to display and place them alongside each other, use a hero image, or you can even get creative and use animation in different ways to emphasize your best content and improve UX.
The most difficult part about UX web design is that you constantly have to remind yourself that you’re designing for others – what may seem logical and perfectly viable to you isn’t necessarily perceived that way by the average user. That’s why it’s important to always conduct user testing on different devices and look for ineffective elements, as well as ways to simplify and clarify your design. Keeping these mistakes in mind and always correcting ourselves as we go, we can still find opportunities to engage users and innovate – subtly and without unnecessary complexity.