UX Design stands for User Experience Design and is the process of designing products that are delightful for users to interact with and easy to use. With so much noise around web design rules, it can be hard to separate the helpful from the obsolete. We’re addressing 10 common UX myths floating around to help you separate right from wrong when it comes to designing your site.
Myth #1: People read on the web.
People are only looking for a few tidbits of information and are not going to read your 1000+ word about page. Readers are interested in what you can do for them and do not want to work to figure it out. The Nielsen Norman Group reports that concise, scannable and to-the-point copy results in 124% better usability. Remember, less is more! If you have to explain something in a paragraph, you’ve already lost the user. So just how little do people read? According to Jakob Nielsen’s eye-tracking study Less than 20% of text content is read. On average, users only scroll (Scrolling ≠ Reading) through 50%-60% of an article.
Myth #2: 3-click accessibility.
The three-click rule is an unofficial design rule suggesting that a user of a website should be able to find any information with no more than three mouse clicks. Contrary to this “rule”, fewer clicks do not, on their own, make users happier. What is most important is having a great navigation and site map. Users only give up when they no longer feel like their clicks are returning valuable results or getting them closer to their final destination. According to Jakob Nielsen’s ecommerce usability test, users’ ability to find products on an e-commerce site increased by 600 percent after the design was changed so that products were 4 clicks from the homepage instead of 3.
Myth #3: All important content should be above the fold.
Above the fold is important, but not as important as you may think. Your site’s above the fold content should simply and concisely tell users what to expect on the rest of the page, but don’t cram everything above the fold. This causes confusion and will ruin your main Call-to-Action. Instead, write engaging copy that keeps your users interested. According to Chartbeat, a data analytics provider, 66% of attention on a normal media page is spent below the fold.
Myth #4: Accessible sites look bad.
Design is primarily about flow, but this doesn’t mean it has to be dull & lifeless. Use foresight and judgment when designing to account for accessibility. A big part of this is separating your content (HTML) from your visual appearance. (css)
Myth #5: Eye candy increases engagement.
Users are looking for information, not images. Any images should be extremely relevant rather than just used to fill space up or make something look nice. Overly designed images fight for users’ attention, and ultimately, won’t help you reach your goals. In fact, graphics could actually be hurting your site. Jakob Nielsen reports that eye-tracking studies have confirmed people almost never look at anything that looks like an ad.
Myth #6: Your home page is the most important.
Marketers cannot control messaging or the user. The web puts users in control so a marketer’s job is to guide them to whatever destination and route they choose. Spend more time optimizing interior pages and templates and don’t put about sections and fluff on your home page. Google & search have changed the game so that the majority of the time, people see interior pages before your home page. This fact was supported by Joshua Porter of UIE, who said visitor statistics show lower level articles are viewed more than a websites home page. Think about it: when was the last time YOU bought something from a home page?
Myth #7: You don’t need content to design.
Copy work should be done before design. Designing without real content means your design will fall apart down the road when content is created. Instead, more time needs to be spent with the client working on strategy, mission and copy before designing. Never start designing without content as users don’t care about your award-winning designer, and are ultimately there for your valuable content. You wouldn’t start building a house without a floor plan or materials. In short: design without content is pointless.
Myth #8: Aesthetics don’t matter.
Aesthetics do play a crucial role in the user experience. Better looking websites perform better and add credibility, and initial impact plays a big role in the validity of a website. Usability isn’t enough — good aesthetics show you care about your product and consumers. According to a Stanford University Study, nearly half of all consumers (or 46.1%)...assess the credibility of sites based in part on the appeal of the overall visual design of a site, including layout, typography, font size, and color schemes.
Myth #9: UX only relates to the user interface.
UX should take place in every business decision. Designers need to understand your strategy and process in order to effectively design for your business. Business strategies and processes should undergo the same testing and revisions that the design process undergoes. UX doesn’t end with UI*, it’s about creating a brand and testing with people and continually making adjustments. The interface is only ONE part of UX design— your business model, customer service, strategy, process, store fronts, story-telling, and more all need to be taken into consideration.
Myth #10: UX design is only about usability.
UX is not limited to usability. Usability allows people to accomplish their goals while Usability Experience (UX) gives people joy and a meaningful experience. Good design immerses the user and is thoughtfully built, but easy to use does not always equal joy. Well-designed products have meaning to the user and companies struggle to achieve this. The ones that do stand out.
UX encompasses so many variables, it can be hard to define and even harder to implement. We hope debunking these ten UX myths will help to send you down the right design path. Do you need more help with your web design? Contact 10 Pound Gorilla for a free consultation!
Glossary of Terms
*UI- User Interface refers to the graphical layout of an application and includes anything a user may interact with to use a digital product or service such as the buttons users click on, the text they read, the images, sliders, etc.