UX Pitfalls: What to Avoid When Designing a Website
How to create an experience your users will love
User experience is the reason why people stay on your website or move onto the next one, or why someone will click on a Call to Action (CTA). It’s the most important element of website design, because it either accomplishes your goals, or leaves your visitors hanging. In the design world, user experience is the process of designing digital that are useful, delightful to interact with, and easy to use. The question is, knowing how your own site stacks up against the rest. Find out where you stand by checking out our list of common UX mistakes that should never make their way into your website design.
Seven common UX design mistakes to avoid
1. Form not following function
Don’t compromise user experience by over complicating the and adding in irrelevant features for your MVP. It’s easy to build a pretty website. It’s much harder to create a site that is clean, simple, and easy to understand. When in doubt, err on the side of removing elements that are purely aesthetic, as they may confuse end users and negatively impact perception of the brand. Make your user flow as simple as possible.
2. Design that doesn’t appeal to everyone
Not everyone is a millennial with years of experience using technology. We can do our best to determine the exact demographics of the visitor through analytics. Make every effort to ensure the design is easy to navigate for anyone who visits your site.
3. Broken contact forms and links
If a contact form doesn’t work exactly as expected on the first try, most users will move on. On top of that, the inability to get a relatively simple function right lowers potential clients’ trust in a company. Getting lots of spam emails through your contact form? Add in a “honeypot” either manually through code or by this plugin.
4. Navigation that isn’t intuitive
Navigation that is not immediately visible and intuitive has a significant impact on user experience. While innovative design is exciting, there are certain elements – like hamburger menus or top nav links on backgrounds in a color that’s not visible enough – that users typically expect to appear and behave in standard ways.
5. Icon links
It’s not always obvious that icons are links to other areas of a website. Avoid confusion by including a button or text link along with all icon links so visitors can easily navigate through your site.
6. Centered text
Center-aligned text is traditionally for formal use like wedding invitations. Oftentimes on websites it’s hard to read because the user’s eye loses track of the next line. Instead, of centering your copy, use a grid system for your content and images. Content within the grid can be left or right-faced depending upon readability. You can also use the grid to tactfully and functionally move the user through a site’s content. Long paragraphs of copy should always be justified to the left.
A modal creates a mode that disables the main window, but keeps it visible with the modal window as a child window in front of it. Users may not know they can exit the modal – or how to exit – so they will leave the site altogether. This completely kills the user experience. Another compelling reason to remove these elements from your site: Google will begin penalizing websites that use modals starting January 10, 2017.
UX doesn’t have to be complicated. It really comes down to testing your product or website by getting it in front of as many eyes as possible, on as many devices as possible. Two great resources for UX testing are InVision’s user testing feature for prototype mockups, and this Chrome extension that does a heuristic evaluation of websites. Whatever you do make sure that you give your site a second set of eyes. That means sending it to everyone, even your mom—you never know who might find something you missed.
If you’re interested in learning more about UX, contact Katie Lord, Inc.