IMPORTANT POINTS WHEN DESIGNING UX
May 08 2021
In product design, we try to reduce the number of decisions that a user needs to make. We assume that people are using the product to complete a task, and the more smoothly and intuitively it goes, the better. The more small decisions an individual is asked to make over a specific period, even if they’re trivial (like which show to watch on Netflix), the lower their quality of decision-making will be.
When you’re tired, this can significantly impact your ability to make decisions, and UX designers must know how fatigue affects users when they design interfaces for them. This topic is an interesting one because there are many reasons why people might experience cognitive overload when using your product.
1. Reduce the number of choices users have to make
The number of options we have as users is increasing exponentially every day. The internet has given us access to the world’s knowledge in seconds, not minutes like it used to take before computers were invented. This amount of choice can paralyze us, lowering our satisfaction and potentially leading us towards frustration instead of conversion.
When users are given too many choices, they will often get confused and frustrated. A product can have all of the features in the world, but when the interface is too convoluted because of this overabundance of choice, it does not end up being user-friendly.
Research has shown that people are more likely to purchase a limited number of choices. They will also be happier with their choice in this situation, leading to a greater sense of satisfaction. The point is that companies have created too many options for the user, which can be wasteful and backfire on them. The customer may waste their time trying out all the possible products instead of committing and making an actual purchase.
There are many myths in the world of UX on how many clicks to use and how much information the human brain can take in at once. The most important thing is that UX designers need to create a balance between simplicity and functionality, so they’re not asking customers too much work or too much thought about what’s happening with their decision.
You should reduce the number of choices, but the most important is your information structure. If your information isn’t well-organized or if there are an excessive amount of steps involved in a decision process, users will not bother trying to find what they’re looking for because they feel like it would take too long or require more effort than necessary.
To get better results from customer decisions on websites, I would suggest getting rid of anything unnecessary, such as extraneous tabs and links which distract users from finding what they’re looking for.
2. Make it easy to get back on track if you make a mistake
By keeping the user on track, you are more likely to retain them as customers and not create a frustrating situation where they leave your website or app. A good example is a 404 page. We have all seen one, and it can be frustrating not to find what we’re looking for. One example of how to fix this is by adding a “back” button, which will take the user back to where they were before trying to go elsewhere. The 404 page is also a golden opportunity to guide the user into explorer mode and discover something they didn’t know they were looking for.
These are some best practices that I always take with me when I design a user flow:
- Avoid annoying people by not boggling their brains with errors
- Make mistakes easier to find for users to fix them and continue
- Don’t just pop up a message that covers the whole page, but show them which field(s) are in the wrong.
- Steer away from harsh wording in your messages as they may drive off or even anger some users
3. Use visual cues for navigation
The UX of the navigation should be intuitive and easy to use. The user should always know where they are, what’s available to them at that very moment, and how to get there. A good way is to give the user cues in their surroundings or appearance on screen: a different color theme when changing sections and clear messaging about what function can be found under each menu item. These little touches help make navigating your website or app an enjoyable experience rather than something difficult.
The right amount of visual cues can:
- make it easier to scan and read a page
- improve the visual hierarchy
- enhance the navigation of the page
- skyrocket conversion rates
4. Reduce cognitive load by using familiar patterns and conventions
When designing a new interface, it’s essential to keep the cognitive load on your audience as low as possible. One way of doing this is by using patterns and conventions that are already familiar to them. But how do you know what these conventions are?
I’ll show you three examples of common UX design conventions that will make your users feel more at home when interacting with your product or service. This will help reduce their cognitive load and get them started faster with whatever it is you’re trying to teach them.
Use a consistent color scheme.
A consistent color scheme can be the difference between a good design and an amazing one. There are many reasons to use a cohesive color palette, but one of the most important is that it makes navigation easier for users.
Use repetition in design patterns and conventions
It’s essential not just to follow common UX conventions but also to reuse them. When you do this, two extraordinary things happen:
- People feel more comfortable using your product because there isn’t anything utterly novel about it (this lowers cognitive load)
- Your users learn by example faster than from explicit instruction (again reducing cognitive load)
A great example of this is the use of breadcrumbs in web navigation. They show users where they are and how to get back so that a simple mistake doesn’t mean time spent trying to find their way out by themselves. Another good suggestion might be making your menu bar stay at the top or bottom of a site no matter which page you’re looking at. This helps people feel oriented because it lessens cognitive load when deciding what action needs to occur next — like clicking on an item from a list, for instance.
Use familiar icons and symbols to represent everyday actions, like the trash can for deleting files.
Icons are a great way to communicate an action or object in your app. They’re easy to understand and universally recognizable, so they’re perfect for quick interactions. Adding icons and symbols that are already widely understood can help keep your app’s content from feeling too complex without becoming overwhelming.
5. Design with your users in mind, not yourself or your company
We all know that we should be designing for our end-users, but it’s not always easy. When you’re in the middle of a design project and trying to figure out what your user needs or how they’ll react, it can be hard to keep them at the forefront of your mind.
The best way to design with your users in mind is by listening to their input. When you’re working on a new project and thinking about how it should work for them, make sure that you speak to the end-users directly before moving onto prototyping or finalizing any decisions.
To do this, try asking questions like
- “What did you enjoy most about our last product?”
- “How would you feel if we changed x feature?”
You’ll be surprised at what insights they can provide and how they will change your prototype’s direction.
There are several UX research techniques you can use to make sure you’re designing with the user in mind:
- Do proper market research
- Create personas
- Use wireframes or prototypes to get feedback quickly
- Talk with your customer service team regularly
Decision fatigue is a popular term used to describe when people have made too many decisions over a period of time. Research shows that this mostly happens as a person's cognitive resources decrease over time. Decision fatigue can occur when there are too many options to consider, or when the decisions made seem irrelevant and don't deserve any attention.
I've provided several ways that you can reduce decision fatigue in your products and services, so that customers are more likely to stay on track, achieve their goals, and give you the green light for another sale! Did any of this help you? Let me know in the comments below. Thank you for reading and have a nice day!
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