There are so many misconceptions around web design. Research shows that 94% of website first impressions are design-related. With that being the case, 10 Pound Gorilla wants to ensure you understand must do’s vs misinformation. Have you read our first ten UX myths? If not, be sure to. In the meantime, here are four more common UX* myths and how to avoid them for optimal website design.
Myth #11: UX is More Important Than UI*
Placing UX against UI may imply they can live independently from each other - which is certainly not the case. UX is the result of the users’ interaction with the UI, which means the user experience includes the user interface. UI and it’s contributing factors must be considered for the end-user experience.
In order to create a “good design,” a designer needs to view UI and UX as a collaboration. A designer who ignores how the user will interact with their design is missing half the story. The same goes if a good interaction designer can’t layout information in a way that will be easy for the user to digest. When designing, you UI and UX, must coexist together.
Myth #12: Stock Photos Improve Experience
A common belief when creating a new website is more images make for a better experience. However, usability testing shows content and navigational graphics are helpful, but ornamental graphics often do more harm than good. Let’s define these types of graphics for a better understanding of how to optimize your UX.
3 Graphic Types
- Navigation graphics guide users to the information they are seeking. They are often paired with descriptive content to help train the users on the vocabulary intention while providing clear guidance of what to click next. The graphics add to the conversation and provide visual insight that can’t solely come from words.
- Content graphics deliver the information the user is seeking. These graphics give users more information than content or a written description would. Examples of this kind of graphic may be a map or an infographic.
- Ornamental graphics rarely provide users helpful information. If the graphic doesn’t guide users to other content and doesn’t deliver information, it should be considered an ornamental graphic. Ornamental graphics should not be used except in rare instances where they highlight key concepts of your copy or support your brand image as well as content on the page
Navigation Graphics Example: Best Buy
Content Graphics Example: Zillow
Ornamental Graphics Example: Banking Sites
Ornamental Graphics Example 2: Health Insurance
Visuals should be utilized to support users navigating through a website or to support the content on a page. But an image is added to fill space, the visitors' engagement may wane.
DO: Think about content, guide users with images, use brand/company images.
DON’T: Use stock for fillers, use overly complex images, use images for image sake.
Myth #13: Usability Testing is Expensive
Large companies have been known to dump millions into usability testing. But small companies with small websites can employ usability testing methods to improve the quality of their designs as well. And they should! Even a small amount of testing on a tight budget will substantially improve a site's business value.
If you don’t have the budget for expensive prototypes, low-tech paper prototype testing can bring valuable results. You don’t need a lot of participants and high-paid professionals. Hire a consulting to advise on the testing process and then teach existing staff how to conduct your test. Gather five users in a conference room to perform specific tasks. and save money on outsourcing your testing. Anyone will do. If the average business professional cannot navigate your site, your customer probably won’t be able to either.
Try These Steps to Usability Testing:
- Sit next to someone and watch them navigate through your site.
- Ask them to perform simple tasks you want your visitors to do and see what they do.
- Have them talk about their thought process the entire time.
- Follow up with questions “why did you click that button?”
- Retest on other users to grow your usability outcomes.
Myth #14: White Space is Wasted Space
White space, or negative space, refers to the empty space between and around elements of a design or page layout. This space is often overlooked and neglected. While many may consider it a waste of valuable screen space - white space is an essential element in web design.
Not only is white space responsible for readability and content prioritization, but it also plays an important role in the visual layout and brand positioning. White space allows for easier readability and scanability. White space reduces the amount of content a user sees at once, making content more digestible. A cluttered page is unattractive and doesn’t make the users engage with the content, especially when there is no visual hierarchy within the text.
Lab research conducted by Wichita State University showed white space actually improves reading comprehension. The results of this test revealed a significant negative effect on satisfaction. Users favored sites with more margin of white space, reporting lower levels of physical fatigue and eye strain. Those sites with tighter elements and less white space lead to significantly less satisfaction and proved more strenuous to read.
We hope busting these myths help you to navigate the murky waters of web design. 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.
*UX- User Experience refers to the process of designing products that are delightful for users to interact with and easy to use.