Key Lessons from 7 Beginner UX Designer Mistakes

Beginner UX Designer Mistakes-min

This is a guest post from Lexie Lu.

When you first look at web design from a user experience (UX) perspective, it is sometimes difficult to put yourself into the user’s shoes.

Another element to consider is that not every user will have the same needs. Some may face vision challenges, for example, while others may simply hate pop-ups with a passion. In order to figure out common UX mistakes and avoid them, you have to look at design through the eyes of your potential site visitors.

Within two years, Fab.com was able to hit $150 million in sales each year. This is likely because founder Jason Goldberg points to user experience. He states, “If you have to explain it, you’ve already failed.” It is vital that you understand your target audience so well that you know how to communicate through design as well as text.

While it is impossible to figure out every design mistake out there, there are some beginner UX designer mistakes that are pretty common. Here are some UX designer mistakes I’ve made – and how you can avoid them in your own design adventures.

Mistake # 1: Not Optimizing for Mobile Devices

Mobile Internet usage in the United States is estimated to be around 75 percent, and the number of people using their mobile devices to browse online grows every year. When looking at the usability of a web design, mobile-friendliness is something that new designers may overlook.

However, you will also be missing out on a vital part of your potential market by ignoring mobile responsiveness. Optimizing for mobile devices is a MUST in today’s mobile saturated marketplace.

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Fixing This UX Designer Mistake:

  • Make sure buttons are large enough to click on and use as navigation even on the smallest of screens.
  • Ensure the website automatically adapts to a smaller screen size without losing its overall design. How does your site look on an iPhone? How does it look on a tablet? Is there a major difference between those and how the site looks on a desktop?
  • Test on both mobile and desktop. Utilize sites such as mobiletest.me to see how the website actually appears on different screens. You don’t want to ignore users coming from different portable devices.
  • Text should be large enough to be readable.
  • Articles should not be so long that they are difficult to scroll through on a smaller screen.

Optimizing for mobile devices doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is something you should NEVER overlook in today’s mobile-heavy world.

Mistake # 2: Poor Navigation

When you visit a website, you likely anticipate certain things because you’ve visited hundreds of similar sites. You know that there should be some key navigation buttons that appear near the top of the page and likely near the bottom. A home icon or text should be readily available to navigate back to the main page at any point.

A common UX designer mistake is getting excited about coming up with an innovative design, and forget that there are some tried-and-true standards that should be included to keep it user-friendly. Navigation is something that users expect to be clear AND easy to find.

Fixing This Mistake:

  • Use universal symbols, such as a hamburger menu, the word “Menu”, a home button, and easily recognizable icons that site visitors have seen time and time again.
  • Have some of your family and friends test the site before you make it live. Are they able to navigate easily?
  • Test the buttons yourself and make sure every single one works and takes you where it’s supposed to.

One of the best things to do to ensure your navigation works as intended is to visit the website yourself. Look at it through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Is it obvious where you need to go and how to backtrack? Can anything be made clearer or work better?

Mistake # 3: Big Blocks of Text

When adding content to a website, keep in mind that most people simply scan over material they read online. Because of this, certain types of writing don’t translate well for a website.

Let’s say you are publishing a page to the website that details the history of the company. Using large blocks of text will almost guarantee that your site visitors won’t read the material in-depth.

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Fixing This UX Designer Mistake:

  • Use short sentences and short paragraphs. Consider 2-3 sentences per paragraph.
  • Keep an eye out to make sure there is a balance between the text and white space on the page.
  • Add H tags to break up text into subject areas.
  • Use bullet points, numbering, and other techniques to break up text into easily digestible content.

The overall look of the site is vital to the usability of the design – and this DOES include the way content is laid out on the page.

Mistake # 4: Using Fancy Typography

As a designer, you likely adore typography. There is nothing more exciting than designing a beautiful font that really speaks to the brand it is representing. Unfortunately, you can also take this too far and create text that is so fancy it’s difficult to read.

You’ve probably seen the mistakes that some brands have made, too. They used typography that looks like something other than what it is. People can – and will – find the error in that and make fun of you relentlessly, particularly on social media.

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Fixing This Mistake:

  • Keep the typography simple. Scripts are often difficult to read. Sans-Serifs (Arial is great) eliminate the ornaments on the letter’s ends and increase fluid reading.
  • Make sure the type is large enough to easily decipher what the letters are. Does it work on all size screens (see Mistake # 1 above)?
  • Print out the logo and make sure others can easily read the text and tell you what it says.
  • Do some A/B testing to make sure the typography you are using speaks to the typical visitor to the site.

Typography is a fun way to give your website a unique look. But as a UX designer, you need to be smart about how you use it and how fancy you get with it.

Mistake # 5: Slow Loading Speeds

You can spend all the time in the world creating a beautiful design that is easy to navigate, but if your site loads slowly, user experience will be impacted negatively.

Most users will only wait 6-10 seconds before they abandon a website for taking too long to load. Of course, this is a range. Some people will bounce away from a website in as little as three seconds. You can see that it is vital that the page loads quickly and your design can most definitely impact load times.

Fixing This UX Designer Mistake:

  • Make sure your server has fast speeds. You may need to pay a bit more to increase the overall speeds.
  • Compress heavy images so they load more quickly.
  • Balance images and text.
  • Avoid slow loading items, such as videos, or create some basic alternate text for those who have slower Internet speeds. Consider linking out to your videos instead of embedding them.
  • Don’t place a lot of JavaScript within the header as this increases initial load time.

These are just a few things you can do to help your load times. Obviously, you don’t want to completely sacrifice style to gain speed, but you also don’t want your site to take two minutes to load.

Mistake # 6: Not Designing for Your Audience

Many UX designers sometimes create a design that they personally think is lovely and that suits their personalities. However, the audience who will be seeing and using that design may NOT agree.

Fixing This Mistake:

  • Look at the site from the perspective of your target audience. This might include doing some market research about preferences, surveys, and even A/B testing.
  • Once the design is complete, get feedback from the target audience.
  • Study what competitors are doing and learn from them.

Designing for someone completely opposite of you can be a challenge. But with a little persistence, you’ll be successful at it.

Mistake # 7: Pop Up Ads/Subscriptions

While it is important to try to connect with site visitors and convert them into mailing list subscribers, annoying them with incessant pop-ups is NOT the way to go.

Have you ever visited a website where you can’t even read the article because there’s an ad or pop-up every three seconds? What was your response? More than likely, after a couple of interruptions like this, you simply left the site. That is what your visitors will do as well.

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Fixing This Mistake:

Limit your pop-ups to ONE per page and offer the user the choice to opt out. If the site visitor exits the pop up, it should not pop up again and again.

As mentioned above, you should always test and retest your site. You might forget you coded an additional pop up or two and not realize it until you test your site as a first-time visitor.

These designer mistakes will impact the overall experience your site visitors will have. By paying attention to common errors, your work will have a more positive impact, and your site visitors will thank you by hanging around your site a little longer. Who knows? In time, you may even gain a loyal audience.

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About the Author:

Lexie Lu is a designer and blogger. She actively contributes to the design world and usually has a cup of coffee in close proximity. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

Disclaimer:
This is a guest post submission. Any views or opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not represent that of SEOexpertpage.com and its properties. The accuracy, completeness and validity of the statements written in this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, oversight or misrepresentations. Copyright infringement and/or intellectual property rights remain with the author and any liability or claims should be filed to them.

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2 Comments

  • Billy Reply

    Thanks for sharing this observations Al. This true about what you point out on fonts. It is really not appropriate to use “Fancy” Fonts if the website is for professionals. It is also recommended to use 2 fonts maximum.

    • Al Gomez Reply

      Your welcome Billy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

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