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7 Mistakes To Fix In Your Web UX Immediately

We’ve talked about, somewhat at length, what UX is and how it operates on a broad, development and conceptual level.  But the work of  UX designer happens in both broad strokes and narrow ones.  

You need to be able to keep the whole apparatus and product direction in mind, and then be willing to push pixels around (or guide someone to do that for you).  

There’s nothing that can replace a solid UX review/optimization process and careful testing, but there are some tweaks you can make to the interface and user flow to give your design a quick spruce.  

This might be especially useful if you’ve got to have something that looks and feels polished to show to higher-ups, an investor, or a some highly critical users. 

These mistakes are also great things to keep in mind when you’re in the process of reviewing or updating your UX, so you can make sure to avoid them.

1.  Your colors tell a different story than the one you want.

Colors aren’t just empty signifiers you can use on your interface so they appear the way you like. You probably shouldn’t base your product’s color scheme on your high school’s, in other words.  Colors each have meanings and emotions attached to them. 

Entire fields of color psychology are dedicated to unraveling those, and helping brands better match their colors to their brand identities.  If you’re a kid’s entertainment agency, your primary color scheme probably shouldn’t be grey or navy, for example.  

Your call to action buttons on the page should be strong in color and carry a clear sell.  Some of this stuff you can figure out on your own through educated guesses, but as you progress in your work, it’s worth looking it up!

2. Unnecessary or vague buttons are all over.

Any buttons on your site need to be simple and clear.  

Search buttons are often one that people mess up (at least slightly), simply because there are quite a few ways to format them.  Make each button distinct from the others on your site, and quick to understand.  ‘Take me there’, except in specific circumstances, is not a great substitute for ‘search’.  ‘What else is there?’ doesn’t usually work as well as ‘See more’.  

Keep the buttons simple–you can show off your wordsmithing in other sections of your site. This is one of those places where UX convention generally works best.

You probably wouldn’t have even found this article with a bad search button.

3. There are too many pathways to the same place.

User flow is central to the work of a UX designer.  

That means you’ve got to map out pathways that your users are taking to navigate your site, and especially how they reach different favorable outcomes (whether that’s signing up for your newsletter, buying your product, sharing your work, etc). 

If people feel unsure or tripped up by how to access basic information on your site, they won’t trust it, and they’ll feel annoyed.  

You need to anticipate those kinds of problems before they happen.  One quick-fix issue that many mobile and web designers alike have is too much similarity between the landing page and login page.  Where are users supposed to type in their information?  

Don’t let them wonder about–treat them like guests you are trying to lead through your site.

It’s even worth remapping your userflow with a pen and paper so you get a high-level, tangible feel for it.

4. Your key content isn’t distinct from normal content.

Think of UX content design a little like public speaking, or writing those 5-paragraph essays in secondary school.  You need topic sentences, and then body: in other words, you need to clearly mark what your user should pay attention to.  

Again, don’t let them wonder.  

Draw their attention with strong fonts, distinct color schemes, bold, boxes, images, whatever makes sense for your brand identity.  And just like you might with an essay, ask your users if they are able to identify that key content without you telling them directly.  

If they gained a clear picture of your website quickly and without much effort, then you’ve got a winner. Otherwise, figure out what methods you can use to make that more prominent.

To summarize point 4, keep your design out of the 90s.

5. It’s all text.

With very few exceptions, it’s hard for people to process a whole webpage that has no images or video, or at least empty space on it.  This is where it’s particularly important that the writing is really strong.  For any page that’s not explicitly a written content page (like a blog), you want to narrow down the writing to exactly what you need, no more.  Humans tend to process visual information all at once, and textual information linearly, as it’s presented.

That means you’ve got to switch it up more!  Avoid the Dr. Bronner’s label effect on your website (seen below).  It works for a soap company, but it’s probably not going to work for you or your UX.

6. The loading time is too great for your audience.

This recommendation might seem ridiculous if you work in a high wifi place, but anyone who’s travelled or lived in less signal-saturated places (or even just bad or crowded hotels!) will tell you how important this is as a usability principle.  If there are too many HD images, videos, or other high-stress features for the bulk of your audience to load comfortability, they will get annoyed and likely leave.  

No one wants to wait on a webpage longer if they can get the information or service they need elsewhere.  A quick way to test this is moving away from a wifi source or tuning into a weaker signal and seeing how your own experience fares.  

Google even uses site speed in their search algorithms, if you need more convincing to keep this UX principle in mind.

7. Your links don’t go anywhere, or some pages aren’t linked at all.

We’ve all had this problem with webpages: we click on something and it goes somewhere we didn’t expect, or to a 404 page (though you can makes those fun too).  That’s a frustrating experience for a user.  Checking if your links work is the UX equivalent of checking if you have dangling modifiers in your sentences.  

It’s just like spelling and grammar: if it’s good we won’t notice it, and if it’s bad it’s glaringly so.  So click through one, two, three more times and make sure everything that needs to be linked anyway is already there!

The only time I might be disappointed to see a skillfully drawn comic.

Not all UX issues can be solved with a few simple clicks, but following these simple guidelines can give an almost-there interface a needed face-lift.  

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About the author:

Janani B.

Janani has a Master's in Design Thinking and writes frequently about UX, design, psychology, and other topics.