In today’s competitive market, web design & optimization has become a hot commodity. Yet many clients still don’t have a clear understanding of what their customers expect from their website. This is why User Experience, or UX design, is in demand – it’s a fresh take on the design process; one that emphasizes ease of use and access for the user, instead of internally assigned features or designs. The main benefit of UX design is finding the right balance between adhering to your customers’ needs and accomplishing your business goals.
Since UX is a relatively new concept, there are still many misconceptions about what it entails. To help clear the air, here are a few of the most common UX myths that are still prevalent even today. Let’s put them to rest once and for all:
USERS MAKE LOGICAL/RATIONAL CHOICES
Believe it or not, the customer is not always right – in a certain way. That is, they don’t always make rational decisions, or at least follow your logic. Many a great idea has failed because businesses just assumed, “Our product is the superior and rational choice! We can’t lose!” Yet many times the market will choose irrational aspects when making buying decisions. Sometimes it is the way they feel about an interface or branding that win them over. While it may not be our job to judge this behavior, it is highly beneficial to capitalize on it.
[pullquote]Sometimes subjective, irrational aspects influence the buying decision the most; and figuring out those triggers for your user experience can make all the difference.[/pullquote]
USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN IS OPTIONAL
All of a business’ sites have a user experience. The key here is that not all businesses design their user experience. When your business sends out an invoice, the tone of that invoice can help or hinder your brand… both options will get you paid, but one of them stands a better chance of retaining your customer’s future business. When your business answers the phone, you can enhance the work that your website is doing… or you can provide a disjointed picture of what you’re about! Both options will result in conversation, but one stands a better chance of winning new business or retaining existing business.
YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR USERS
Perhaps the most common mistake of any business marketing itself, is believing that it understands its audience, knows what they like, and what they expect from the company. This should be made clear to all businesses: you always love your product too much, and think that others must love it, too. The only way to achieve results is to test everything and collect clear, comparable and objective data.
Understanding customers can only come from in-depth research. If a company makes assumptions about the experience users need, then the company is designing for itself. Sure, you’ll hit the mark by chance sometimes, but if you want to be confident designing a user experience assume you know nothing, and research research research.
UX IS A WEB THING
Many still look at UX design as some magical formula that’s supposed to “fix” a design’s problems, but in fact, UX design encompasses the entire design process and beyond. If a brand is a company’s values, then UX is how the company implements those values.
UX plays a huge role in web design, but its importance extends beyond the Web into every aspect of a business and especially into areas where that business connects with its customers.
UX IS NEW TECHNOLOGY
In this age of technology, many businesses have been dazzled by the flashy possibilities of new, emerging technology, but just because a new technology is available, doesn’t mean that it’s the best option, especially when it comes to UX design. Technology is just a tool to achieve results, which means improving the user experience; and if it doesn’t serve that purpose, it’s simply a waste of time and resources.
[pullquote]Remember that UX design is about the customer[/pullquote], and customers often don’t have the time or inclination to retrain in order to understand something new. Implementing new technology is fine, provided that it meshes seamlessly with your existing business so that established customers aren’t alienated.
UX IS JUST ABOUT USABILITY
While usability is an essential part of any UX and web design, the fact is that natural principles of business and targeting can’t be ignored as well. In order for a design to be a success both financially and as a branding tool, learnability and behavioral-emotional responses by the target audience have to be studied and then implemented. It represents an essential part of the equation in the success of a project.
UX IS A ONE TIME THING
Perhaps one of the more common UX design myths is that it is a project that can be finished and put to bed. The fact is that because of the insurmountable opportunities for improvement, and the ever-changing landscape of the online markets, only those that continually monitor and work to improve their user experience can achieve measurable and sustainable success.
When companies implement a UX design, it’s not about choosing to rebrand, or adding a new channel to contact customers. UX design results in a UX strategy, and that strategy needs to be referred back to anytime a decision is taken in the company.
Even though UX design is increasingly recognized as an essential tool for business, too many clients, and too many designers, view it as part of a website design project. That couldn’t be further from the truth. UX design is an all-encompassing approach that covers everything from web design through to customer service. Running an e-commerce store, UX design covers not only the design of your site, but your returns policy too. Running a blog, UX design gives your unsubscribe process as much attention as your sign-up.
Remember – all businesses have a user experience; the smart ones choose to purposefully design theirs. The others… leave it to chance.