User experience design is very broad and individuals who practice UX design must also possess different skills in many other different fields. Great UX design is one of the foundations of a great business module and this goes a long way, as the impression your users have with your product easily sets the stage for the rest of their relationship with the product, your business, and your brand as a whole. Therefore, it is important that UX designers understand this and implement UX design best practices while designing a product.
A well skilled UX designer who follows the UX design best practices is sure to deliver products that are not only visually attractive but also easy to navigate for users.
A chunk of a product’s UX design can control how an app, a website and an entire brand interacts with prospects and users. Imagine a situation where users find your product navigation confusing and cannot easily find what they are looking for? Or where they have to wait so long for a page to load, what if they can not easily locate a call to action to help their transaction or purchase processes easier?
There is every chance that these users will bail on the product and even the business, as the average human attention span keeps getting shorter.
A good user experience (UX) design will help you solve these common user problems. Whether it’s a problem of creating a simple “brochure” site, a SaaS product, or a large eCommerce site, using time tested and proven UX design best practices are an absolute must for designing and optimizing your product as it should be.
Every touchpoint your users have with your product and brand effectively contributes to their overall experience, from the landing or onboarding screen which introduces them to your product to the signup flow, and down to every feature or element which makes up your product. All these affect how users see, feel and what they think about your brand.
A product’s user experience will determine if users will return, if free users will convert to paid users, or if they will abandon your product and brand. User experience is a concept that cuts across every team within an organization, but a more vital concept for product and customer success teams.
While it may be difficult to summarize all UX design best practices that guarantee career success in one article, we have put together some important UX design best practices every UX designer should know and implement in order to create an excellent experience for users.
Let’s check them out:
Understand that you are not the User
Testing your products with actual users is one of the very important UX design best practices.
UX designers often assume that the humans who use their designs are just like them. Therefore, they project their own behavioral patterns, expectations and reactions onto the users, and this often does not end well.
The idea, thought or assumption that you are just like your user is a fallacy. This assumption in psychology is known as the false consensus, this is a tendency to assume that other people share our beliefs and ideas and will behave similarly like us in a given context.
The best approach to understanding and knowing your users is through user research. User research is the first step in the design process and a skill every UX designer should acquire.
It should really not be surprising that one of the most important UX design best practices to consider and implement when designing a product is your user’s personality. You need to understand that most of the people who will likely use your product have different ideologies, mindsets, backgrounds, mental models, and different visions and goals. Therefore, they are definitely NOT you. Not in the most individualistic way.
There is a process which helps UX designers to overcome false-consensus bias, this process is known as usability testing. If you really want to build products that will meet your user’s expectations and something they will love, then you must pay great attention to UX research and testing.
Researching and testing your product with real users allows UX designers to gather all the necessary knowledge needed to create products that are right for those who will use them. You can say this is also one of the UX design best practices. This may most times be time-consuming for a designer, but it’s an important first step and therefore, organizations may want to employ people with specific skills in research and testing.
Keep things simple and consistent
According to the human attention span, a lot of people will spend less than 15 seconds on a website. Getting them to stay longer and keeping them focused on the brand’s message requires a UX design that is simple and this can easily be achieved by following the UX design concept of “less is more” and avoiding a cluttered, busy design.
For digital products, simplicity simply means that it is easy to understand and navigate through a product.
Users should not need to read several instructions and go through different maps to understand how to use a product. Simplicity is one of the important UX design best practices and a crucial part of a designer’s job. It is your responsibility as an interface designer to make sure your product is designed clearly and subtly in a way that users do not need constant guidance to use your product.
Interface designs must also be kept consistent throughout a design flow. Color schemes, templates, fonts, buttons, layout structure, photograph style, and more, are examples of design elements that need to stay consistent through the product. Inconsistencies in design can often cause confusion and frustration in users and can make them abandon a product. Therefore, it is highly important and effective to keep design elements familiar, and constantly hold up the most important facets of your design at every turn in your product. Consistency in UX design makes your product appeal more to your users, and makes your brand feel elegant.
The important point is to make your design components and navigation processes very familiar to your users, which helps make your product more predictable. And yes, users do like predictability!
Predictability in UX can be defined as how much a user can successfully foresee the result of an interaction.
Simplicity and consistency takes out the guesswork which users may have when trying to interact with your product.
Airbnb has done a beautiful job at achieving consistency with their visual elements on the site.
The site design is hugely focused on “cards” which helps to create a uniformity.
Expect the unexpected
As a UX designer, you want to keep an open mind and expect the unexpected, do not assume that everything will work out as you have planned and set them. It is also one of the important UX design best practices to make plans and set expectations. Of course when you have designed a process, met all the necessary rules and completed all the process, it is normal to expect the flow to work just as designed. But, there will always be exceptions to these rules and some processes and expectations may not go as planned.
You may have expected that your users who are tech-savvy should be able to figure out a simple process but there are chances that you’ll likely have someone in the crowd who can’t.
For users who are not digital natives, it is important to ensure the tabs, buttons and pop ups on your site are clear and all information clearly stated so that all users can easily understand how to navigate through your site and not have to “figure it out”. Do not make the mistake of allowing them wander through the proverbial halls in awkwardness – they’ll probably leave!
You may also have the expectation that all your users have great internet connection and their network is fast because your target audience are people who live in areas with good internet and fast network, but there is a chance that a user’s internet connection has suddenly gone bad and this users is now unable to download large images of even view them. To still ensure that this user does not abandon the product, you may want to avoid using complex graphics or custom typefaces that not all users will be able to access or you can add texts which will send the same message as the image to this user.
Users’ expectations may often change, sometimes, right in the middle of a transaction or a purchase. One of the crucial UX design best practices is to readily expect the unexpected. Don’t assume everything will work fine for all users.
Users may encounter different errors or issues based on factors that are personal to them but you must be ready to think of a way to solve the problem and still give these users the best user experience.
It is totally okay to keep trying out different approaches to improving your career in UX design. Follow rules, set goals, understand processes, but above all, keep learning and trying new UX design best practices and techniques to find the one that works the best for you and your users.
And don’t forget to test your UX design skills with SimplifiedUX
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