Great UX and mistakes to avoid on your website

January 30, 2019 • by Rasmus Gustavsen • 4 min read

About Author

Rasmus Gustavsen

CEO and Founder of Nerdpeople. A longtime trusted adviser for global brands and a frequent speaker at events about digital transformation or new technologies.

Have you ever seen how blunders on sites even of cool companies minimized the usability of the website and spoiled the impression of the company? For sure yes. But don’t rush to think that you should not be afraid of glaring mistakes. Even if you have a great team of designers and developers, you are not immune to UX mistakes that are often found even on great websites.

So, if you don’t want to see your website one day in one of the “how not to do” internet collections, read this article about bad UX mistakes and avoid them on your site.

What is good or bad UX? User experience includes every aspect of the user’s interaction with a product or service that make up the user’s perceptions of the whole. To put it simply and easy to understand, if you go to a website and find everything you need quickly and efficiently, that’s a good user experience. If you visit a website and aren’t sure where to click, or you get stuck somewhere and can’t find what you’re looking for, that’s a bad UX. As usual, we don’t notice good user experience cases, we only notice bad UX design examples.

Why do you need good UX? When your interface doesn’t work the way your users expect it to, they don’t engage with your product. They won’t come back and will go to your competitors. And when you have good UX, you’ll get loyal customers and its satisfaction, return on investment, improve the efficiency of your product, and many more.

Below we collected some common bad UX examples that even talented teams make. Don’t repeat them!

Users don’t know how to use button, menu or another digital object

It is called a Norman door. Design consultant Don Norman coined this term to refer to a door that doesn’t signal with its design how someone should open it.

Each element of a product or site that performs a specific action should give the user a clear and understandable signal to this action. And if the signals to the users are missing or don’t correspond to the functions incorporated in the product, there is “discoverability”— people can’t figure out how to use the product or feature. But don’t confuse discoverable with intuitive.

Any button must be clear and self-explanatory so that everyone who has never used a website or app before will understand exactly what features the button reflects.

There are several ways to give users signals for new functions. First of all, it’s a classic — building prototypes and collecting user feedback. Also, it may be clear and simple user onboarding. It’s convenient — while a user is learning how to navigate the product the introduction to the feature should include a tooltip explaining the feature or button’s function.

Last-resort UI elements for user’s navigation

It’s not a secret to anybody that such elements make user’s navigation more difficult. But product designers continue to use them as a first choice with enviable consistency to make their work easier. These elements are often used and more convenient for design building. But your site or app makes for users, not for designers, so resist the temptation to make the teamwork easier!

As practice shows, any last-resort UI element (like “hamburger” menu or drop-down selection) can almost always be replaced by something else that is more user-friendly. Yes, it will definitely take more time. But the easiest way is not always the best one.

Look for alternatives! Instead of hamburger menus, you can build tab bars. Drop-down menus can be replaced by steppers or sliders for quantitative options. And you can make only important parts visible. Just prioritize the features that are the most valuable for users.

Ignoring user data in personalization

Don’t be fooled by illusions — user’s name in greeting is a just nice touch, but not real personalization. It’s a bad UX example.

Do you understand the greatest value of the personalization for the users? Using unique user data helps users to reach their goals and thereby increase the engagement. The really great UX means not only excellent designed interface, but also optimization of every user interaction with your product. And data-driven personalization helps to make the connection with your users deeper.

To achieve this, you can use different types of data — behavioural, locational, industry-related, etc. For example, use behavioural data to affect users’ future actions. Provide users with metrics about their usage — and you can give them individual recommendations and drive them back into the product. Industry-related data can be used for personalization about specific concerns of customers in the specific industry.

Polish and external glamour over performance

No matter how beautiful your product or website looks, if it is inconvenient to use and is not productive, users won’t wait long and leave. First impressions are half the battle. If a good impression is not supported by performance, the battle for the users will be lost.

Even before good or bad design people always pay attention to loading time and response time. What difference does the harmonious colour combination of your brand identity on the site if users leave before it loads? Our modern pace of life is the fastest in human history so that no one will wait even 10-15 seconds on the internet! By the way, the poor performance leaves such a negative memory on users that they can even associate your brand with slowness. You don’t need this, right?

Build important features around the limitations of attention. Perfect loading time is 0.1 second. Even 2-3 seconds already perceived by people much worse. So, be careful with using elements that can slow loading time. If a special widget or another feature on your site is going to slow down your response time, don’t put it on the landing page. Experts say, even 0.1-second improvement can improve conversion rates.

Simplicity is more difficult than complexity

The product creators are often so engaged in improving it that they can’t adequately perceive the product and start to complicate it too much. Sometimes the best is the enemy of the good, so leave well alone.

True simplicity requires you to identify what’s most important and prioritize it which is often much more work than adding everything you can think of. Two of the biggest problems are content overload and visual overload.

Keep focused on the core value of your product during all development cycle, especially design stage. If you feel that your product becomes overloaded, go back to basics and remember about your market demanding. Also, you should prioritize visual simplicity — it’s always better and easier perceived by users.

So far as UX design is concerned, you can just dream of achieving perfection. But you should try! You can always find space for improvements. Understanding the significance of bad UX mistakes is the first and foundational step. Good UX means keeping the user in mind constantly!

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