UX has become a hot topic recently, as the popularity of mobile and web applications is still on the up. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions regarding UX and as a result there are still lots of people who don’t really get what it really means. In this article we debunk five of the most common UX myths so that nobody will misunderstand its core principles ever again.
Myth 1: UX = UI
Just like in many other cases, it’s not a coincidence that these two separate terms mean two different things (thank you, Captain Obvious, I know). UI stands for User Interface — the layout you are confronted with when you visit a website or use a web/mobile app. UX, that is User Experience, refers to your behaviour while using the site or app, the way you feel about the interface. Good UX helps the developer to achieve the goals of their product as it guides the user to the right places at the right time. You’ll find a detailed explanation in this wonderful post by Alex Ivanovs.
Myth 2: The more you personalize, the better
I think we’ve all been there: you’ve just found the perfect app to make your life a little less messy, e.g. a shopping organiser. But before you start, there’s a long barrage of questions you have to answer before you finally get down to business. As you trawl through one question after another, you totally lose focus and forget how this app was supposed to help you in the first place. It’s clear that your app users will be annoyed if you grill them about the minutiae of their lives before they can do something that takes 3 clicks to complete. Luckily, there’s a way to achieve a healthy balance - anticipatory design.
Myth 3: Your users are predictable monkeys
You probably wish that was the way things were but, sorry — that’s just not the case.
So you think you know what your visitors like? You’re wrong.
So you think you know where your users will click next? You’re wrong, again.
So you think you know your users’ first impressions about your product? Guess what, you’re wrong.
The best attitude you can get in terms of knowing your audience is to look at them not as monkeys, but as … aliens. These fascinating creatures should release the inner scientist in you. What paths do they follow? Why are they scared of certain things? What makes them feel comfortable and what loses them? Scientific discoveries require a lot of thorough, extended research, so prepare yourself for it.
Myth 4: UX? Why bother? I can do without it!
Sorry to pop your little carefree bubble, but there’s no such thing as no UX. If there’s a website, or an app, it always has UX (unless you have no users, then it would be Owner Experience, but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, really). Good, average or bad, it’s always there. But I can imagine how hard it must be to create something good if you don’t believe it even exists.
Myth 5: The latest tech stuff and UX go together like peanut butter and jelly
You may perceive the term UX as something fresh, state-of-the-art, and associate it with the usage of brand new technologies or web design concepts. In that case, it’s great you believe that UX exists and that it’s necessary, but hold your horses before you blast gung-ho into a total website makeover mission. UX is not about what’s the newest; it’s about what happens to be the smartest and the most functional. The temptation of adopting novelties that dazzle and excite may be hard to resist; however, there are other considerations you ought to keep in mind all the time: your user’s habits, wishes and preferences. That comes before anything else.
Of course, there are many more myths and misconceptions about UX, both from the side of the clients and the designers. Here are a few really cool articles I found if you want to dig a little deeper: