While UX is one of the most important parts of designing an app, the curious thing is that there is a wide range of definitions to describe it. UX can encompass such a wide range of factors that all impact on how users will interact with the product – from user research to wireframing to information architecture and content layout – there is no unique, singular, formal definition for this concept.
As a UX specialist, I have to say, that during my professional development, I have come across a number of UX-related myths that, while widely believed, are actually untrue and could be harming the way we, designers and developers, create and launch an application.
So, let’s take a look at the worst of these myths and explain how although they may be rooted in fact, the message behind them is pure fiction.
Myth #1: Replicate for success
One myth running rampant across the industry is that once a successful, positive UX has been created on one app, designers should seek to mirror that experience across other platforms. While it’s not uncommon to take an idea or feature that worked in one place and bring it over to another, utilizing a “one-size-fits-all” approach to UX is not only problematic, it’s near impossible.
This is because different applications and websites are just that – different. They won’t include the same content, features or capabilities, so trying to force a square UX peg into a round application hole simply will not work.
The same goes for trying to replicate a UX created by another organization. Just because it worked for a well-known provider like Amazon doesn’t mean it will work for you and your project. Target.com learned this lesson the hard way after purchasing Amazon’s customer review software. Despite being successful on Amazon’s site, Target did not see the same level of response.
“It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t copy the design of others – by all means, do,” UXMyths stated. “But make sure you understand why it worked for them and how it will work for your company and your users.”
Myth #2: Functionality = A good UX
This is another commonly held, yet mythical belief held in the development industry. It is the idea that a functional site that offers beneficial usability will automatically provide an enjoyable user experience as well. However, designers and developers must understand that there is a big difference between usability and user experience, and that these factors can be mutually exclusive.
The Next Web contributor Jerry Cao, noted that a usable site enables users to easily figure out how to use features, and usually sees a low level of user mistakes during testing. Users are able to follow signals and carry out activities in a simple way. However, just because a platform is easy to use doesn’t mean it offers an enjoyable experience for the visitor.
“Simply put, usability is centered around the ability to use something such as a product or website,” Cao wrote. “User experience, on the other hand, is concerned with how the site makes the visitor feel.” In this way, there is a distinct difference between usability and UX.
UX seeks to evoke emotion in the user through elements like colors, content and its overall look. For instance, customer testimonials have been included more often; while these do little for the site’s usability, they can help instill trust in a brand and boost the overall UX.
Myth #3: The application will always be used as designers imagined
This myth is particularly troubling, because it could be considerably holding a team and its project back from success. The idea here is that it can be somewhat difficult to think outside the box when it comes to one’s own product. However, users won’t always leverage a platform as it was intended by designers, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In many circumstances, users don’t care or don’t understand how a product works, and once they find a way to use it, they’ll stick to it. For this reason, you should never take your design for granted and always collect feedback on how your product is actually used to reveal the real user needs and to get ideas of innovation.
Unorthodox software use cases can help designers and developers create an even better product than they first imagined – one that is in direct response to users’ needs and preferences. For instance, Facebook and Twitter were both first created on the basis that users could leverage the platforms to share what they were doing – hence the questions “What are you doing?” on Twitter’s original interface and “What are you doing right now?” on Facebook’s.
However, users soon discovered that the platform was more effective for sharing links, photos, ideas and other content that didn’t necessarily fit into the activity-based approach the social media companies originally envisioned. Using this feedback, the platforms changed their interfaces to include questions like “What’s happening?” and “What’s on your mind?,” adjusting the way users interact with the platforms.
While UX can be somewhat of a difficult concept, there is one important factor that should be observed above all – How users are connecting with, utilizing and actually experiencing the app or website.
One of my favorite myths is this: Lists like this prevent you from having to do in-depth research on UX. While our insights are surely enlightening and highlight some of the most common myths seen, this doesn’t mean they are all-encompassing.
As we were able to see in this post, there are several myths enclosing the concept of UX. Nevertheless, being aware of their existence, allows us as designers, to debunk them and work towards the real concepts and ideas. UX is about personalization, a desirable design, accessibility, credibility and simplicity. As long as your design gathers these features, and it is an integral part of the design process, from early concepts to the final product, your UX it’s likely to be on the right side.
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