4 fatal pitfalls for UX designers

The course of truly great UX never does run smooth. UX designers, for all the fluency they strive to create, are bombarded with hurdles that impede their path to delivering a slick user experience.

From user journey mapping, to UX wireframing, to usability testing, UX design is more complicated than many people first assume. It’s understandable that the occasional pitfall causes even the best UX designer to stumble.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to avoid a slip-up.  Here are the four most fatal pitfalls for UX designers to avoid – spanning ideas, attitude, and (in)action

1. Attitude – arrogance

Self-confidence is a great quality. Arrogance isn’t. An arrogant UX designer can leave a team feeling frustrated and unappreciated, which in turn reduces employee productivity. This environment isn’t exactly conducive to creating an optimised user experience.

So, how do you spot an arrogant UX designer?

  • They carry the weight of the task on their shoulders, not sharing the load, because they believe they know better than the team, their peers and even the end user. As such, they are not open to different points of view or teamwork.
  • They don’t bother verifying their assumptions or testing their designs, because they believe they’re always right. Instead of researching what users want, they make decisions based on their own knowledge alone. This can lead to a missed opportunity or even a bad end user experience.
  • They want to be the centre of the attention and don’t recognise the worth of their colleagues. It’s great when people aspire to do great work, less so when they step on others to do so.

2. Reluctance to speak out

Arrogance isn’t the only attitudinal issue in the list of enemies of UX. In fact, the complete opposite can be nearly as fatal to achieving an optimal user experience. They may not be on the programming team, but UX designers need to speak out and ensure that they question each feature and product decision.

A good UX designer should help guide development decisions, not simply gloss them. A reluctance to speak out can mean that a designer isn’t pushing the importance of UX on the development team. Without this UX input, a functionally fantastic product can easily end up being horrible to use and difficult to sell.

Plus, a reluctance to speak out means that products end up being built in siloes. First comes the code, then comes the design, then comes the sales and marketing, then (inevitably) comes the tech support. This clunky and disjointed release process is damaging: UX considerations are needed at every point in the journey. A lack of views only leads to an unbalanced view of user needs, and can skew user experience optimisation efforts.

3. Feature creep blindness

This reluctant attitude links to the next fatal pitfall for UX designers. By not speaking out and questioning each feature that is introduced to the project, feature creep can become a real problem for both development and the end user experience.

Feature creep is a serious enemy of UX and needs to be avoided at all costs. For the end user, more choices mean more complexity, and more time needed to get the job done. Continually adding new ‘bonus’ options not only clutters up your user interface, but also buries the core function of the product in extraneous (and often unneeded) features.

A proactive UX designer will be less likely to fall prey to feature creep blindness. They will be involved in tactics such as creating user stories, and the development of an MVP – or minimum viable product to help keep the core function of the project in mind. And, if a pointless fluff feature does creep through, UX designers also need to be able to exert authority on the final product by being able to scrap the unnecessary.

4. Bad design and development habits

Pointless features aren’t the only thing that can creep by an inattentive UX designer. Bad habits also have a nasty way of settling.

Bad design and development habits can stifle innovation, cause issues to be overlooked, and allow incorrect beliefs about UX to fester. So, which behaviours should be kept firmly in check?

  • Believing that UX design is only about usability. Usability allows people to accomplish their goals, while UX is about designing the best possible experience in the process of accomplishing their goals.
  • Believing that UX design is only about aesthetics. Your designs might look cool, but do they convey meaning? Accessibility means making information easy to find on any device and making customer support easy to obtain. Good accessibility is key to creating a seamless user experience.
  • Staying in your comfort zone. UX needs innovation and creativity, not the reuse of the same time-tested designs, solutions and applications. It’s good to use things that work well, but by pushing innovation you could create an even better way of achieving optimal UX.

To name a few…

There are many other pitfalls for UX designers to be wary of, but these four are among the most fatal. Brands (literally) can’t afford to get UX wrong. After all, visit-to-lead conversions can be 400% higher on sites with a “superior user experience”, and a whopping 97% of business customers cite ‘ease of use’ as the most important quality in applications.

So, dodge the pitfalls along the road to optimal UX. The smoother your UX processes, the smoother the experience for your users, and the smoother your path to profit.

Note: we originally published this article here: https://dzone.com/articles/4-fatal-pitfalls-for-ux-designers