5 Common UX Mistakes (Not Understanding Your Users)

I often get clients coming to me with problems on their website. These issues prevent users from converting and can usually be fixed by doing a little user research and avoiding these common mistakes.

Not Understanding Your Users

Always remember

“You are not the user of your site.”

Even though it can sometimes feel like it, you are very rarely a good example of an end-user. So often we see sites designed not taking into account what a user will actually want to do and hiding user tasks that should be obvious.

It’s hard as a designer. You put every CTA, heading and search bar in its place, you know where it is, and you can find it, but you need to remember to take a step back and think… is a user, seeing this for the first time, going to find it easy to use? 

It’s crucial to understand your key user tasks from the get-go. What are your users visiting your site to do, and is it easy for them to action this need?

Discovering your key user tasks isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely worth doing. The process usually consists of a combination of user interviews, discovering business needs and a lot of common sense. 

For example, if you’re ASOS, your primary user-task is to add items to a basket and purchase them.

But never assume you know your users:

Source: UX Links on Twitter

Messy CTA Hierarchy 

A common issue I see all over the web and in apps is a cluster of CTAs poorly placed, and all look the same. Part of fixing this comes back to my last point, what is the primary action you want a user to complete?  That CTA should stand out above the rest, but it’s not just about looks, think about how the user reads and scans the site. Think about where their eye will eventually land that think about putting your primary CTA there. 

 UX Movement wrote an excellent article on this.

Poor Mobile Layout

Although these days, designers tend to design mobile-first, we don’t every time, and that’s not a bad thing. But every so often we see sites that were designed desktop-first with mobile seemingly an afterthought. Everything has been crammed onto the page with no consideration for layout and touch interfaces.

Mobile devices have a much smaller fold, and if an element is pushing the main content down the screen below the fold, consider moving it to the bottom or if it’s not too obtrusive halfway down the page. Remember, just because something is on desktop doesn’t mean it needs to be on mobile too.

Mobile devices also use a touch input which is a lot less precise than a curser on desktop, and we see sites all the time that don’t account for this and cram links together making it easy to ‘miss-hit’ and tap the wrong the link. Mobile CTAs and buttons generally need to be more prominent when compared to desktop, annoying as they take up more room on a much smaller screen. On desktop, the ‘hit area’ on a Button or CTA can be as small as 20px on desktop, but on mobile, I always try to make it minimum 50px x 50px, with enough padding/margin though you can get away with 35-40px.

Introduction / Tutorial

We’re living in an age where just about everyone knows how to use a computer or phone. People know what a button is and they can read a label, but if you feel like you need to show people around, it’s probably just too complex and not intuitive. 

This comes back to understanding your users and what they want from your website. Ensure key tasks have been well-labelled with clear icons by all means, but if you think something isn’t 100% clear, add a questions mark with a tooltip. 

Users don’t want to be told how to use your site continuously and, if they’re not logged in, they’ll face this irritation every time they visit your site.

Cluttered Navigation

Once again, this can be a result of not understanding your users. Often we see websites that cram every single page into a ‘mega nav,’ and yes people do call it that! 

Understanding what your primary user-tasks are and whether or not they need quick access to your blog or about us page will help de-clutter your navigation. Not assuming that you should never put a blog on your navigation as for some brands, this will be a crucial task but don’t ever just assume that. There’s nothing wrong with putting less important links in the footer.

Incase I haven’t hammered it enough, a lot of issues we see on website stem from not understanding users. Yes, a lot of these can be fixed with a little common sense and a little research, but if you don’t understand your users, how can they understand your site? Ok bit extreme but you get my point!

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