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The 20 biggest UX myths - what's really true?

Everyone has heard or said at least half of them themselves at one point. We have taken a closer look at the most common UX myths!

Margit Bogner 15. June 2021

"UX is only for designers." "A stock photo is better than no photo!" "Let's work with dummy text first ..." These are just a few of the UX myths that experts are regularly confronted with. There is more to some of them, less to others. The important thing is to deal with them - in order to provide the right arguments and make the right decisions in the respective case.

Myth 1: UX issues only affect web designers

Not true.

User experience doesn't start on the web, nor does it end with design. 
Everything is UX, from functionality and usability, to information architecture, information scent, user interface design, type of content, and the specific wording of text. 

That's why it's important that everyone involved in a project has some understanding of UX. While designers ensure that a website is implemented accordingly, copywriters must formulate clearly and comprehensibly. When practiced holistically, UX contributes to the bigger picture and is reflected in all elements of a project.

 

Myth 2: Users do not scroll 

Wrong! 
Nowadays, users have learned to scroll. The top part (of a website, for example) is the most viewed part and therefore crucial for how users move on. Especially with coherent content, scrolling offers better usability than when content is split into different pages. The upper part of the page is what users use to decide whether it's worth scrolling further - or not. 

 

Myth 3: There should be a maximum of 5 navigation points

No!
Users can still find their way around a site with more than 5 options. Recognition plays a much greater role here than pure recall from memory (recognition vs. recall). However, our working memory is limited and cannot remember everything at once. Therefore, the information content of the terms as well as the order of the individual items is relevant. 


Myth 4: All pages must be accessible with 3 clicks

Wrong!
The decisive factor is the guidance of the user. Users must be navigated through the process in an understandable way. Good information architecture is therefore crucial. The number of clicks is not the decisive factor. In the best case, the right functions and content in the right places bring users to their destination with ease. 

 

Myth 5: Moving images are a must

It depends ... 
Video content is very popular. However, the use of video must be evaluated and decided on a project-by-project basis because, as with everything, there are pros and cons. Video content attracts a lot of attention, but it can also be distracting, especially when used in the background. Users also want to have some control over what they listen to or watch. 

 

Myth 6: Design is about making the product look good.

Not only ...
Design is not just about aesthetics. Rather, design is about the overall content and functionality of an object of use and it's resulting form or appearance. This commodity can be anything from a website to a kitchen appliance.

 

Myth 7: The design must be unique

Well ... 
Using established design principles is quite advantageous, because users already know them and don't need further explanation of how they work. But of course, designs should fit the brand - and they should be appealing. Users should not have to think twice when navigating. When completely redesigning an existing solution - from navigation to content to visual design - you (unfortunately) have to expect initial rejection from users and an associated adjustment period. 

 

Myth 8: You can design without knowing the content

No!
Designing a website without having defined the content requirements in advance often leads to an aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time unrealistic design. In addition, the impression is created that the content of the website is secondary to the user experience. As described earlier, however, this is not true. What amount and type of content is relevant at which point is determined by the user goals and influences the design. After all, the design should match the content and present it to users in the best possible way.

 

Myth 9: We can add the right text later as well

Wrong!
Because then we would have to work with dummy text again in the meantime, and we don't want that. Content is already relevant in the coordination phase and helps to convince clients of an idea. Text must be included as an essential component in the entire design process, and thus also in UX design. UX writing is a discipline in its own right.

 

Myth 10: As UX experts, we don't need to test the design draft.

No!
Experts can deliver an appropriate product based on their experience and various assumptions, guidelines, and best practices, but this is no substitute for user testing. Because a good end product understands problems and requirements as well as the context of different user types. And that can't happen without contact with users.

Myth 11: Accessible websites are unattractive

False!
WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) have little to no impact on the visual design of a project. Accessible websites are also beneficial for users and provide operators with a larger audience as well as better SEO and usability scores. However, accessibility should be considered from the beginning. Because a later revision can be time-consuming (and expensive). 

 

Myth 12: More features and options help users

It depends ... 
If you have a choice, you are - in most cases - spoiled for choice. Because even if a large selection seems appealing at first, with more options it also becomes increasingly difficult to understand the various options and to make a decision. Users want to make the best choice with as little effort as possible. Therefore, the offer should be manageable and, above all, prioritized.

 

Myth 13: Mobile first!

Yes and no ...
According to the omnichannel approach, users should have a good experience with the respective product on all their end devices. However, it is important to learn from the mobile-first approach. This means reducing the existing content and functions to the most important ones and arranging them according to their importance. In any case, the same content should always be shown on the mobile pages as on the desktop version, for example.

 

Myth 14: The home page is the most important page

Well ... 
A disproportionate amount of time should not be spent on the design of a welcome page. Other (sub)pages are often more important for the users' tasks and goals. In any case, the start page should make it clear at first glance what it's all about. And then offer users good navigation so they can find what they're looking for. 

 

Myth 15: We need personas

It depends ... 
Personas can be helpful to better remember user groups. However, they should be based on user research in order to be representative of the actual users of the resulting end product in the course of a project. In the process, these personas then shape design decisions, for example, because they are based on a qualitative understanding of users and are therefore particularly memorable. 

 

Myth 16: Websites need regular relaunches

Yes and no. 
New and different does not necessarily always mean better. However, regular further development and revision based on new requirements or findings does make sense. However, this should be done carefully, as users tend to reject complete overhauls.  

 

Myth 17: Icons increase usability

No!
Because there are only a few icons that have a uniform meaning and are used by default. Whether users know an icon depends on their previous experiences. However, the knowledge for this cannot and should not be assumed. In addition, symbols and icons alone are often not meaningful and require additional information to communicate their meaning.

 

Myth 18: Stock photos improve the user experience

No!
We know from studies and special tests that content-poor stock photos or other graphic, decorative elements rarely add value for the users of a website or an app. Only images that show relevant information, such as real photos of people or products, are perceived. 

 

Myth 19: Graphic-intensive elements increase content visibility

No!
Not every piece of info needs or should be graphic-intensive. On the contrary. Making important content graphic-intensive often makes it less visible. This is because users often ignore such content (banner blindness). Users want text and links that take them to the desired information. Colorful page elements, on the other hand, are often identified as advertising and therefore ignored. 

 

Myth 20: White space is wasted space

No!
White space is important. This is because it helps to identify which content belongs together and which does not. White space also aids in scanning text and ensures good readability. And it is important for sufficient touch space. Basically, a balance between simple design and complexity is and remains the be-all and end-all.

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