There have always been a lot of misconceptions about user experience (UX); from even before it existed as an expressed and detailed concept there was always confusion between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) and exactly what they both were and what they meant. Many of these misconceptions still exist and below we have looked at the most common misconceptions.
- Let us start with the one identified above – that user experience and user interface are basically the same thing: while it is certainly true that a good user interface will contribute to a good user experience the two things are not interchangeable. The user interface is only part of the overall user experience; it is the visible face and hands of the system but there are other things contributing to overall user experience that are not part of UI.
- UX design takes place at the beginning of the process but doesn’t need to continue: taking this view might produce a workable site initially but constant adaptation and iteration are needed to keep the site relevant, effective and responsive. User experience needs to remain at the heart of your site design and development to optimise your users’ satisfaction.
- Something that has worked before will continue to work effectively: there are a number of things that fall under this heading – assuming a particular device or component will continue to provide user satisfaction even if more fulfilling options are available; assuming that users will continue to behave in a particular way forever; assuming users want video over content, simplicity over complexity and so on.The lesson here is that nothing is fixed in stone. A lot has changed in the online landscape since the web become a commonplace destination – a lot more will change as it develops. You cannot assume anything and good user experience design will be continually monitoring and sampling the marketplace and user universe to see where it is heading and what it needs to get there.
- The homepage is the most important one: well, not necessarily. Many homepages are more corporate statements than user-friendly or useful tools these days and what the users are really interested in lies beyond and within. As a portal it can be a useful device but what really works for you and sells is likely to be elsewhere on your site.
- Users don’t scroll down: this might have had some truth in it at one time but the fact is that users are more sophisticated and knowledgeable now and, provided you are giving them something they want they will pursue content until they have exhausted their requirements. This again illustrates the necessity to continually take the temperature of the market and keep abreast of what users are doing and what can help them achieve their goals.
Misunderstanding user experience can lead to undervaluing user opinion and research and missing opportunities to improve and maximise your site’s potential. If you would like to know more about user experience and how to gauge and use the information, why not get in touch and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.