This guest column is by Juned Ghanchi, Founder & CEO, IndianAppDevelopers
As a designer, you always run the risk of being misunderstood, especially because all problems in the design process cannot be fixed at the same time. A designer in no way can be an all knowing genius having solution for all problems. That is too much to ask from a designer. While all problems cannot be fixed we can at least take examples of good UX design practices and address some common mistakes.
The commonly referred mobile UX design mistakes you should avoid still include some faults and blunders that are in discussion for years. Complex UX, not optimizing enough for mobile devices, lack of CTA buttons and very scarce use of negative or white space, all these and many more contribute to UX design that can only make users stay away from the webpage or app.
Let us offer here a few guidelines about UX design, beginning with the mistakes and then how to avoid them.
1. Not designing for the audience
As a designer you can take pride on your creative abilities and that is quite natural. But to use your creative talent for a good functional design output you need to distance yourself from your ego. It is your goal to help the user when indulging in creative design.
The focus of an UX designer should always rest upon ease of use and functional brilliance rather than anything.
Often you can learn designing for audience by having a deconstructive approach to UX of other apps and sites. Design is now more context-driven than ever. It is your purpose, the problems that you are about to solve for the audience in the right juncture of necessity and time, should guide your design. So, UX besides offering simple and quickly engaging interface should be equipped to address the situational needs of the users in intuitive ways.
Audience specific design can also be benefitted from storytelling effect. There is pretty awesome range of arsenals a designer now can choose from. Sliding high definition images to custom illustration with beautiful typography to animation effects to split screen effects to parallax scrolling, there is no dearth of design elements to boost storytelling effect. But design consistency, addressing target audience and maintaining ease and simplicity throughout, these are the most crucial aspects.
Here are some effective tips to consider.
- Put yourself in the user’s situation at every step.
- Figure out different user journeys to know how different users will use the site.
- Create diverse personas that are likely to take interest in your site and their specific set of expectations from your app or site.
- Identify all the difficult aspects of UI that can hinder easy experience.
- Testing the UX on as much real devices as possible.
- Make rigorous A/B testing of all design elements like colors, layout, buttons, text, images, etc.
2. Not addressing mobile specific concerns
In spite of the well acclaimed dominance of mobile across all facets of digital interfaces and development, this is still a major problem with many websites. Just making a layout that is displayed on all screens with equal visibility is not the only aspect of mobile friendly design. Secondly, majority of mobile users still use low resolution devices in contrast to few high end devices. There are other crucial aspects like optimizing navigation and CTA buttons for the finger taps, addressing page loading speed, clutter free design that makes a quick impact on mobile screens, etc. Surely a mobile-first design approach will address all these and many more design problems. Let us offer some tips here.
- In small resolution devices the header remains fixed and takes up quite a lot of space in the viewing area. So, instead of using sticky header on mobile using a hamburger menu icon that opens as and when tapped on, can be a nice solution.
- Mobile users are far more restless and so to keep them engaged ensure optimum page loading speed.
- Make all buttons and links easily tappable by fingers.
- Use lot of white space around buttons and links to give them prominence and ease of finger-tapping.
3. Not providing relief with negative space
Use of white space or better to say, negative space is a crucial element in UX design. It helps the eyes to take rest in between visual elements and this in turn helps engaging audience. Our attention is visual in character and naturally too much elements can actually create a hazy, cluttered impression. Here are some effective tips to consider.
- The use of white space around text will optimize readability and help users quickly scan the text for important points.
- Use of white space around buttons will add to the prominence and ease of tapping on them when accessing from a mobile device.
- White space around images and illustrations prevent them from being lost in the visual clutter.
4. Not providing social buttons beside content
Social buttons are like salts and peppers on a dining table. Just as salts and peppers beside our meals, social sharing buttons should be placed close to the contents. Why you need them? You need them because of getting communicated by users across social platforms but it is very unlikely that users will try to find them out. How many times you have been reading a blog post and did not find a social button nearby, at least within a range of 100 pixels from the mouse pointer? Quite unexpectedly this occurs to many blogs. Here are some tips to address the problem concerning social buttons.
- Social media buttons need to be designed loudly and you should make use of their brand colors and logos in an eye grabbing manner.
- Secondly, just like too much salt on your meal avoid making use of them in a distracting and distasteful manner. Do not use social buttons just around everywhere creating clutter.
- Lastly, make a consistent approach. Try to make all the share buttons on your pages having similar look and feel. Do not make them appear too big creating visual distraction or do not use too tiny buttons creating obscurity.
Feature Image Credit – Truly Smart Home — meet homeOne by Michal Soukup