Written by Michael Georgiou
UX design does not have an official, standard definition because apart from its various visual components, it encompasses information architecture, user research, wireframing and many elements that together decide the fate of UX. The closest to a definition of UX is the one provided by Nielsen and Norman which states that “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” Thus, UX involves knowing what end-users want from a product or a system and meeting those requirements with perfection and in a way that delights them.
It is a design process that focuses upon the end-user. This is because a positive user experience leads to better user engagement, which in turn brings in more revenue.
It looks easy doesn’t it – earning profits simply by enhancing the user experience? The reality is, great UX doesn’t come easy. Things also get difficult because there are plenty of UX myths going around, which hamper the creation of a highly satisfying, extremely user-oriented UX. So, the first thing you must do is identify these myths and make sure you don’t believe them.
This article aims to make your job a little easier in this regard, as it underlines nine common UX myths that many believe are true, but actually aren’t. Let’s take a closer look at each one of them:
Myth #1: UX Follows the ‘One Size Fits All’ Principle
The ‘one size fits all’ principle doesn’t hold true for UX. Replicating the same user experience across different products, websites apps and software will not serve your purpose because your end-users have different needs and expectations. They also belong to diverse demographics and have different cultural backgrounds. In addition to this, they have dissimilar mindsets and therefore perceive a system or a product in a completely different way. Therefore, create unique UX for each system or product by focusing on the needs of target users rather than all users in general.
Myth # 2: UX and Usability/UI is the Same Thing
UX is not same as Usability. Think of it this way – UX is about how users feel when they use a system/product and Usability refers to the inherent user-friendliness and efficiency of the product/system interface. Usability although, contributes to UX in a huge way.
UX is also not same as UI (User Interface). UX is in fact the bigger picture with UI being just one part of it.
Myth #3: UX is Incredibly Expensive
Another common misconception about UX is that it is expensive both in terms of time and money. The reason is the cost of hiring experienced and expert UX professionals who will obviously charge a fee for the services they provide. Also, people tend to think that the entire process of UX takes forever to complete and this is why it is perceived as being costly.
But if you think of it as an investment that delivers sustainable returns over the long term, it will start making more sense to you.
Myth #4: UX is Everyone’s Cup of Tea
A lot of designers call themselves UX Designers, but very few of them are. Expertise in UX design is earned over the course of many years and even then, many designers don’t have the confidence of coming up with a great UX.
There are many web designers out there who think they are UX specialists, but if you are actually serious about maximizing the potential of UX, it’s important that you look for somebody who has core experience in UX design. Only someone who has been in the field for quite some time and knows the nitty-gritties can deliver on the user experience expectation of your target audience, irrespective of the system/product in question.
Myth #5: UX is Driven by Technology
UX is not driven by technology alone. On the contrary, it focuses on humans – that is, end-users and their experiences and interactions with a system. It is not only about enhancing the existing experience but also about creating better experiences. Remember, users do not know what they want and that leaves you with the responsibility of delivering the best experience on the system or product they are going to use.
Myth #6: UX is Asking People What They Want
Users are themselves unaware of how they will use a product or a system. Their use actually depends on the learning curve, existing comfort levels, their motivations, interests and demands. As a UX professional, you need to take these common factors into account when creating the specific UX for a target group of users.
Myth #7: UX is Only about the Latest Solutions
UX is definitely not about the latest solutions that set a trend on the market. It is actually specific to the company that creates a system or product. UX is about knowing solutions that will work best for the end-users and which will have a long shelf life. However, this doesn’t mean you do not need to update your technical know-how about the latest, innovative technologies and be comfortable in using the same. But at the same time, you need to focus on how you can make it easier for the users to interact with the system or product.
Myth #8: A Flawless Design is Sufficient for UX
Flawless design is always a good solution when it comes to UX. However, on its own it does not guarantee the success of a system or a product. Even if your system design is easy on the eyes, it still needs to be tested for performance. For instance, you need to focus on whether you have missed out on details such as errors in loading a page, links that do not change color, menus that confuse the users and similar issues that taint the overall UX. This is the reason why testing takes precedence when it comes to enhancing user experience on any system. Make a list of some common UX problems that you might face and address them during the testing process.
Myth #9: UX Testing Needs to be Done in the End
It makes no sense to leave UX testing right till the very end. The best practice is to test the system any time – preferably at every step of the development process and check for potential errors. This also helps you prevent costly delays arising out of last minute problems with a project vis-a-vis its UX.
Summing it Up
The mainstay of a great UX is that it not only works well for current users but also for future users. This means it is a continuous process and you need to think long term. Also, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by disbelieving the common myths underlined in this article. It will ensure your UX delivers the returns you are looking for