Maybe you’re a start-up or a new business with a great idea in mind. Chances are you already have your website or app published or are in the process of going live. If so, you want to make sure you provide a great experience to your customers — and that’s exactly what a great UX is all about. It can easily make or break the game. Keep on reading to discover 15 UX mistakes small businesses make. Make sure you’re not one of them. And even if you get everything right, #15 is what you can never ignore.
Let’s get into it.
1. Forgetting the Similar Pattern Users are Used to.
The most basic and obvious mistake: trying to innovate where you don’t need to. You see, there are some basic patterns users are used to across different platforms; whether it’s an app or a website. For example, signing up to create an account, navigating through the menu bar, uploading or downloading something, leaving comments…etc. These are all common no-brainer patterns every user is used to. If you try to deviate or innovate here, there’s a huge risk you might end up frustrating your users.
Adam Wood, co-founder of RevenueGeeks says “The best thing you can do is to research these obvious patterns — and leave them as they’re. Put your creative efforts somewhere else in your UX, to make it more enjoyable. “
2. Not Providing a Customized Experience.
Jaqueline Miranda, Psychologist at PracticalPsychology shares her experience about customer psychology and says ”In this era, especially, users really expect a personalized and customized experience — something that feels like designed exclusively for them. It’s true for both: whether it’s an app or a website.”
She further points to the research by Slideshare that says 80% of customers will more willingly buy from a company that provides a personalized experience.
So – what should you do to provide a personalized experience?
Well, you can give them the choice of making a personalized profile, the choice of seeing the feed however they like, and more importantly, give them human customer support rather than an AI bot. It’s all about using every touch point to make them feel they’re being valued.
3. Using Pop-ups the Wrong Way.
Pop-ups are a great way to improve engagement, capture leads, and help users — but they can be detrimental if used in the wrong way.
Have you ever visited a website where a pop-up just flashes right into your screen the moment you land on their page? And, to make things worse, there is no option to cross or minimize it — until their 10-second timer goes off…this is a horrible user experience.
Sandra Rios, Director of Client Services at Buzz Agency says “Make your pop-ups – whether on the app or website – user-friendly. You can do this by setting a well-designed pop-up used at the appropriate time, with the appropriate size. More importantly, your pop-up must offer something of value to the users — otherwise, it’s not worth it to disturb their scroll.”
Here’s a good example of using pop-ups the right way. Notice it’s simple, well-designed, smaller in size, has a clear cross icon so users can minimize it, and more importantly, it offers value.
Image credit: Marks and Spencer
4. Copy-pasting the Same Features of Competitors.
Yes – I know, it might sound counterintuitive to what we’ve initially talked about…but hear me out.
During your research, you might find some really cool features your close competitors are using. Maybe those features are related to the design, usability, functionality, or anything per say. You really like them…and want to use them for your own website or app. What should you do?
You CAN’T exactly copy and paste those features. Your users, most likely, will visit your competitors, too — and they can easily catch you. The worst thing that can happen is that you might end up losing your own identity to your peers. Robert Smith, Head of Marketing at Psychometric Success says “Your brand or design is unique – and it should provide a unique experience. And you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. You can get inspired by your competitor’s ideas — but, don’t forget to bring your own flare to them.”
For example, because of the recent craze of TikTok — YouTube and Facebook also decided to hop in. But YouTube called them ‘Shorts’ and Facebook called them ‘Reels’ — both added new filters, and new ways to interact, and scroll. They basically turned the same idea into something that feels new.
It might not be the best example, but you get my point. Even if it’s the same idea, make it exclusive by adding your own flare.
5. Using a Sluggish, Lazy, and Unresponsive Design.
Responsive design should be a no-brainer at this point — for every new and existing business. 2022 and beyond, you can’t even think of competing if your site has a sluggish and unresponsive design.
It falls flat right off the bat.
So what responsive design really is? Any great responsive design now starts with the mobile-first approach. In fact, the latest stats show that over 90% of users use the internet on their mobile phones — that’s crazy.
As Digital Marketing Expert at LoanCorp Myles Robinson says “A responsive design essentially means using layouts and styles that make a website seamlessly flow like water on every screen size. Today, if your website or app can’t provide that, you’re going to struggle in giving a great user experience. Make sure your site provides a flawless experience across different devices — but most importantly, on mobiles.”
6. Trying to Hop on Each Trend.
This is a fairly common UX mistake small business owners might fall into. Because, especially today, new trends come and go every now and then. Hoping into those trends might make you think that you’ll provide a better and more relevant user experience. However, what often happens is that you end up messing up your own existing good UX. Just because a trend sounds good or is getting fairly popular amongst other platforms, it does not mean you also need to jump on the bandwagon.
- Reassess whether those trends actually help provide a better user experience.
- Analyze whether those trends are supporting the core idea of your app or site.
- Before you even think about making new changes, ask for your users’ feedback first. Or release beta versions to test things in real-time.
One of the most prominent examples is Instagram, which fell into this trap. Yes – the biggest social network on the planet. How, exactly?
Instagram, as we all know, was a photo-sharing app – where users could see awesome photos of their loved ones every day. But, Instagram, in an attempt to promote ‘Reels’ — because these short videos are apparently trending — faced a lot of backlashes. Users are constantly bombarded with reels or photos from people they don’t even know or follow. Users reported Instagram is not Instagram anymore — which means it’s not a photo-sharing app anymore.
So, there’s a lesson to learn: reassess everything before making big changes to your existing great UX.
7. Prioritizing Aesthetics over Functionality.
Prioritizing aesthetics over functionality is the most unpredictable and common UX mistake I’ve seen small businesses making. And I don’t blame them. Why…because both of these things are super-important for a great UX. Where most businesses might go wrong is going over the board with aesthetics — and forgetting functionality. You need to have a balanced mix of both says “Nick Oberheiden, Founder & Attorney at Oberheiden P.C”
He further provides an example saying using too many colors and creative icons might look beautiful at the first glance — but they might end up distracting the users. You need to prioritize what’s more functional for the users on an everyday basis. Just add your logo design in the top corner, have some helpful sections and make it as simple as possible. A calculator app, for instance, is not the most beautiful app on our smartphones. It only has numbers and symbols. But it gets the job done and users never complain. Imagine if we add cool animations, background images, different sounds, and a new icon for every button. What do you think will happen? Yes — a lot of angry, mad users rating the app with zero stars.
8. Poor Usability.
Let me ask you something: why do almost all the websites and apps look similar in most areas? For example, in the case of a website, there’s a hero section, then there’s a scroll-down menu, then there’s a footer with important links, etc. Or an app with a simple sign-up interface?
Because of this: these are the things that over time marketers have figured out work best in terms of usability. If you, in an attempt to deviate from the norms, or try to show innovation use something else: you’ll end up with poor usability. Users will have a hard time figuring out where to click, where to put emails, and where to find important information, adds Abdul Saboor, Full Stack Developer at The Stock Dork.
And the most shocking part: 70% of businesses fail because they provide poor usability.
The above was just a basic example of making your UX more functional. Think of every feature on your website or app: Is it useful? Is it easy to access? Is it easy to understand? Does it need to be there? How can you make a certain element more seamless?
Answer these questions for a better UX.
9. Forgetting Simplicity in the Crave of Innovation.
Simplicity is always the best shot — no matter whether it’s a website of online podcasts or a digital marketing agency. . Because it’s timeless, your apps or website will age well — and will also provide a distraction-free user experience. Think of Tinder, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Spotify, and more — these are all really simple to use. In fact, companies are always improving to minimize as many features/icons/items as possible to provide a seamless experience.
It’s the foundation of any great UX design: You need to provide your customers or users exactly what they want – without creating any distraction, confusion, or puzzles.
Shawn Malkou, Managing Broker at X2Mortgage says “Focus less on re-inventing the wheels, or showing your creative side — and focus more on the simplicity to provide users the experience they actually want.”
Have a look at Airbnb’s booking app, for example. It’s so simple. It does not need any explanation. It’s clean. No fancy features or animations. Users can instantly and easily book or save dates they want to.
Image credits: Airbnb
10. Poor Navigation Experience.
Let this be clear to you: your users don’t know how to use your app or website. The moment they land on your page or download your app, it’s completely new to them. It’s your job to make it super-easy for them to understand what each feature, icon, or element means. It’s your job to strategically place links on your site that are useful to them — and for your business.
Tanner Arnold, President & CEO of Revelation Machinery put up a scenario below:
Imagine this: a visitor lands on your website’s home page. He sees numerous links right off the bat pointing towards ‘about us’, ‘learn more’, ‘buy now’, ‘company policy’, ‘press release’, ‘DMCA policy’, and whatnot. On top of it, there are numerous buttons, icons, design elements, and sections.”
Now…answer me: will this home page convert that visitor into a paying customer?
Absolutely not. Because you confused him — by making your website cluttered like a bush.
Now…what if you used a single headline focused on the visitor, with a single powerful call-to-action, a relevant image, and a sleek drop-down menu? This will provide a much more awesome user experience as compared to the previous one — and this will also drive more conversions.
So, the lesson: make your users’ life easier for a great user experience.
11. Using Too Much Content to Get Your Message Across.
I understand you’ve so much to say — but your app or your website’s main pages are not the places to use too much text. Instead, use a powerful copy that says a lot more in fewer words.
Ellie Shippey, Outreach Specialist at Epic Productions says “Users now have an attention span of fewer than 8 seconds — which means too much content can only confuse your message.”
Instead, use the best design thinking and powerful writing — make it short, crisp, loud, clear, and simple. It’s often more effective than using long paragraphs of text.
Have a look at Harry’s website copy. Instead of rambling on with reasons why they’re different, they used shorter copy with design elements to get their message across:
Image credit: Harry’s.
12. Designing to Satisfy Yourself, not Users.
It’s always about the users.
You might want to present certain elements in a certain way — but, hold on: will your users find it appealing or helpful?
Based on your research, deeply understand your users’ behaviors, how they interact with websites or apps, how they’re used to using certain elements in certain ways, and how you can make it even better for them.
Steve Rose, Vice President at Money Transfers urges you to remember the end goal of your UX design which is to make your users satisfied, not you. Even if you don’t like certain colors or elements — that’s compromisable — but not otherwise.
13. Being Clever Instead of Clear.
I get it – you want your site or app to look groundbreaking, creative, and something unseen. While showing creativity and smartness is good, there’s a risk you might end up being just ‘clever’ and not clear. Users don’t usually care about how clever your UX/UI is, what they usually care about is this: is it helpful for me? Is it working for me? Am I understanding this?
There’s a very thin line between the two. The risk-free way is to always try to become clear with what message or experience you’re trying to convey:
- Have an objective look at everything, and assess whether you’re being clear about everything.
- Ask your team and users for feedback.
- Run heatmaps and try to figure out where users are stopping or feeling hesitant.
That way, you can decide whether you’re being clear or clever.
14. Implementing without Testing
The quickest decisions are not worth it — the same goes for UX design.
John Halkins, President & CEO of Retirement Expert suggests “As soon as you see a new trend, get a new idea, or even see your competitor doing something — don’t act too fast to implement the same on your website or app, too. Even though it might sound cool, appear cool, or apparently might seem helpful — without proper tests and evaluation, it’s never ideal to introduce a brand-new feature.”
You’re risking hurting the user experience — or worse, breaking a trust factor amongst your regular users. We can again take the example of Instagram, which in an effort to become like TikTok, provided a poor usability experience, and faced a lot of backlash.
So – don’t jump too soon. Even if you want to try something new, release beta phases, limited access, and then based on the feedback, go for full-scale.
15. Forgetting to Improve Over Time.
A great UX is a constant battle/ battle. Think of all the best apps you’re using today — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp — if you just look at their previous versions, you’ll be surprised how far they’ve come in perfecting the user experience, says Adam Fard, Founder & Head of Design at Adam Fard UX Agency. He further adds “In fact, in the upcoming years, these apps will change and improve even more for the good. Why? Because companies behind them are always researching, testing, gathering feedback, and developing technologies that bring the best user experience. The same goes for websites as well.“
And all of that brings me to you: as a small business owner, creative designer, or even just a new UX developer, you’ll need to constantly improve based on the feedback and new industry norms. If your UX is great now, it might feel dull after a while if you’re not monitoring. Just think that your competitors are always on it, and you don’t want to fall behind.
Summarizing: UX Mistakes You Can’t Be Making.
So — that’s about it, which summarizes pretty much everything on ‘what not to do’ if you want to provide a great user experience.
If it’s too much for you, keep this simple ideology in mind: if your users are not satisfied, you need to re-think your UX. Bram Jansen, Chief Editor of VPNAlert believes “A smart user-centric UX will make everything enjoyable, seamless, and functional for the user, so they will keep coming back to your app or website.” Resultantly, you’ll earn great business.
If you’ve not read the whole thing, here’s a gist of everything above:
- Research your users, and give them what they exactly want.
- Provide a personalized experience.
- Make it easy-peasy for them.
- Don’t jump on the trends too early.
- Design for users.
- Be clear.
- Make your UX design more functional rather than more aesthetic.
- Listen to feedback, and keep improving.
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