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Seven Deadly UX Sins

October 26th, 2015

Over the years, we have run into just about every UX challenge you can imagine – and as you might expect, there are issues we encounter more often than not. The list below reflects the most common, and deadliest, “sins” we work to combat on a daily basis.

1. Not starting UX early enough

All too often, the user experience is an afterthought. Clients have wireframes, a site, or a product already built and then they bring in a UX team to “polish the experience.” While this approach is better than completely ignoring UX, it is often too late to get the most value out of a UX team.

Your user experience encompasses everything about your brand. This includes the information architecture, design, and messaging of your site. Completing those steps before considering UX leads to products that don’t address the issues critical to a user’s satisfaction.

2. Thinking UX doesn’t matter

Attention spans are decreasing every day which means you have limited time to present your product to users. By the time you realize your UX mistake, three competitors have built something similar and are doing it better than you.

If you don’t respect your user, you can’t expect them to respect your product. People will quickly discard a bad experience and publicly share their dissatisfaction. Conversely, making your users happy can lead to invaluable public support, which is the cheapest, most effective way to have your product market itself.

3. Not thinking like your user

As the client, you spend hours with your product. You can’t help but think of every conceivable option and weigh the benefits of every decision. This level of care is important but can cause you to lose sight of the user’s point-of-view.

As the product owner, it will always be hard to step into the shoes of the user. That’s why testing is so important. Pull together user groups (family and friends will work too) who can suss out large user hurdles. You’ll be surprised the problems they will uncover that you may have overlooked.

4. Ignoring microcopy

Microcopy is the small bits of text/copy that help instruct and alleviate the concerns of your users. These snippets prevent your users from feeling stuck, or lost, so that they always know what action to take next – and feel confident that they are moving in the right direction.

Often times microcopy is neglected even though it only requires simple HTML modifications. This relatively small effort can go a long way toward elevating good UX to great UX.

Micrcopy example showing helpful form text like Why do I need to provide my date of birth next to a birthday field.

5. Nitpicking design before solidifying the big picture 

Good design can be an outstanding vehicle for a great user experience. However, you’re putting the cart before the horse if you debate font selection or a particular icon before you finalize messaging, edit content down to web-friendly chunks, and validate that your site is easy to navigate.

Your first focus should always be your user. Design details come later.

6. Focusing on edge cases

The 80/20 rule for UX tells us that 20% of the functionality and features in a product will be responsible for 80% of the results. Spending days on functionality that will affect only a small percentage of users can be costly. It takes time away from developing features that fall into your precious 20%.

Learn to recognize when your team is heading down a product feature rabbit hole, come to a decision quickly, and move on.

7. Trying to do too much

Too much content, too many buttons, too many calls to action, too many marketing messages. The world of “too much” is a difficult one to navigate. To avoid frustrated and overwhelmed users, simplify whenever and wherever you can.

Photo of an advertisement with too much copy on the page.

Anything we missed? Let us know!