April 2016

Five common App design project mistakes.

As designers and observers, we’ve seen approaches of all shapes, sizes and strengths come and go. These changing times have done both wonderful and woeful things for the state of UX design. For every user experience success and win, there’s a flurry of common mistakes that still plague how designers work and the results they deliver.

1. Simply poor practice – Missing the process points.
When it comes to common UX mistakes, poor overall process is usually a familiar feature. It’s a series of missed moves and ill-informed understandings that fail to give your outcome a fighting chance. You can have concrete concepts and world-class designers on side, but if you’re prone to bad practice it’ll only take you so far. Being unclear of goals, neglecting research and mishandling client and team-wide collaboration all make for a pretty poor process.

Prioritise hitting the principle process points, the success of a project really is in mastering the basics.

2. Inflexibility – One size rarely fits all.
The old ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t really apply to the design process. It can be easy in stressful, time-consuming times to resort to a reliable, successful approach, but we all know that no two clients are the same. If there’s one thing that can create a pattern of repeated slip-ups it’s applying a blanket, inflexible approach to all your projects.
Cranking out the same process for each client means you miss the changing factors, and pretty much write off the user and goals. There’s a lot to be said for agility. It takes into account the fact that context, expectations and timelines are all subject to change.

But remember never break the process, and don’t skip the basics.

3. Trying to account for every imaginable use.
The simple fact is you can’t account for every single user and every single action they might want to take. Aside from it being an exhausting, complex design process for yourself, it also neglects your key users, and they should be your priority. No one wants to be burdened with functions and expectations they don’t need.

Hone in on how your design can handle segmentations of users to provide an excellent experience – respond and design for this.

4. Habitual hiccups – Bad with basics.
Linked to number 1 on this list is the habitual hiccups. These basic UX design slip-us occur frequently and can form the beginning of some troublesome habits.

  • Forgetting about the users need, while innovating this can be an issue.
  • Overuse of content – Drowning users in nondigestible text and ignoring images.
  • Not considering multi-screen behavior while designing.

Users aren’t only a concern when initially designing. Don Norman of Apple once said

User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

Their problem, behaviours and needs inform every step of the design process from form design to font selection. If you lose sight of them, you lose sight of the solution.

5. Misinterpretation of usability test results.
Add to this only taking results at face value and you’re asking for trouble. Processing test results is a real skill. Uncovering what they tell us and implementing relevant iteration are rare qualities in a UX professional. The key is thinking beyond buttons and tasks, fixing an interface in the light of testing is about more than moving and reshaping. Break down each any every result element and tackle them individually. What did it tell you and how can you turn this into a new design target?

These usual suspects are commonplace among projects big and small, complicating and even derailing design engagements aplenty. But it doesn’t have to be this way, so many of these wobbly practices are quick and easy to remedy. If we all invest a little more time and energy into assessing our performance and practices objectively, we can keep a keen eye on any bad habits that may be forming. And nip them in the bud promptly.