Even within industry circles, the definition of user experience is often varied, vague and simplified. There are a lot of UI/UX myths since not a lot of organisations place a lot of value on it. The best way to get designers and organisations on the same page about UX is to break down its misconceptions. Ensuring that these misconceptions are corrected is not just to define the role of UX better, it is also about encouraging flexibility and challenging any perceived limitations so that designers can build better interactions.
Let’s understand some of the most common UX myths and how to clarify them.
1. Misconception: UX and UI are the same thing
User Experience and User Interface are two very different things, however they are not mutually exclusive either. It is almost next to impossible to work on user experience without considering user interface and vice versa.
There are some very clear differences between User Experience and User Interface. Let us first understand these.
User Experience design is subtle and natural. It helps users make tough decisions easily and makes them seem obvious and effortless. It combines good business strategy, user personas and technology analysis.
User Interface is the exciting button feedback, the colour palette and copy tone that resonates with your users. It is the result of taking all your research and choosing the appropriate platform to display it.
This distinction between UX and UI is important to maintain focus at different stages of the product. In the beginning stages you need to keep the focus on the user journey and not the colour palette. It also gives designers the right direction and keeps personal preferences at bay.
2. Misconception: If a trend keeps working, don’t fix it
Using a popular trend and not updating it, simply because it works may date your app later. It’s far more important to analyse why exactly the trend is working and apply that to what works for your particular needs. You can always improve and build upon it. A trend that works for another app might not work for you. User flows need to be different based on what your users need and what captures the heart of your audience. Research makes for a stronger experience in the end by allowing you to tailor the experience to your audience and platform.
3. Misconception: Everything always needs to be shown on the homepage
Designers often think that because users have shorter attention spans, all the information has to be put up right in the front. But the reality is that a lot of information at once can actually confuse the user. It is better to keep your design and copy minimal and only display the most information first. Let people explore and discover your content on their own. Don’t cram everything in that first screen. Create curiosity with an engaging interactive design.
The other side of the coin is extreme minimalism. Aim for being concise and intuitive. Invite participation and engagement from your users by drawing them in with a question, a bold statement or even an interactive game. Half the fun of an interactive design comes from self-initiated discovery.
4. Misconception: You need animation to delight customers
You don’t always need lots of bells and whistles to attract your audience. Good design can be attractive even without a lot of animation. Even subtle animations have a lot of value if used properly and the experience of the user is enhanced. These guide your user towards the action you want them to take. Large scale animations have their place too, but should be used sparingly to not overwhelm the users.
5. Misconception: It is okay to deviate from the brand guide to suit the requirements of a particular screen
Imagine a buffet that has Chinese starters, an Italian main course and Indian sweets for dessert. Would it not be disjointed and confusing to have so many different cuisines? The same can be said for a brand identity that’s twisted to suit all your different needs like transitioning from a website to an app. Businesses build trust through consistent quality of products, services, or content. That comes through when you see all properties belong to the same family of colour, fonts, and tone.
6. Misconception: Only designers can have input on design
While not everyone on the team may have the skills to design, great design concepts can come from everyone. Collaborative efforts can build more robust solutions because they grow from a range of expertise. Ensure that you ideate with the developers and stakeholders during the first stage of product design.
Challenging UX misconceptions is about more than defining the role of UX in the creation process. It’s about breaking through perceived limitations to build better products. Balancing between must-haves and nice-to-haves, delight and calm, trends and innovation, collaboration and independent research, allows design teams to avoid falling victim to the barriers these myths impose.