In June we shared with you our opinions on the top five reasons why your user experience is unpleasant. We’ve given it some more thought and decided we didn’t want to stop there. Everyday we run across websites or other UIs that simply weren’t designed with the user in mind. This month, combining our more than 25 years of evaluating user experiences, we’d like to share five more reasons why your user experience is likely unpleasant:
REASON 1: You’re requiring too much of your users.
Generally speaking, as a user’s workload increases their efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction all decrease. User experience designers should automate as much functionality as possible and allow their users to focus on the specific parts of their task that require human input.
Memory is one—but certainly not the only—area where users are typically overburdened. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that when engaged in an unfamiliar task, users can generally remember only a few things for a short amount of time. This includes things like not requiring users to memorize numbers (e.g., order ID’s, etc.) or other minutia (e.g., steps in the task, etc.) across screen or menus.
REASON 2: You have your own way of doing common tasks.
Users tend to expect that certain tasks will be similarly accomplished regardless of what website or what system they’re using. Convention is a powerful force and shouldn’t disregarded without extreme caution. Searching and order checkout are good examples of the kinds of tasks that users will likely have an innate sense of how to complete. If your processes are radically different then everyone else’s it’s likely your users will suffer. As much as possible, your user s experience should be in line with convention.
REASON 3: Your users don’t know where to go for help!
Most people wouldn’t believe how often users find themselves in situations in which they need help. An equal number of people would probably be surprised to learn how rare user help is, let alone good help. It’s one of the most overlooked components of a great user experience. The best user experiences provide users with a FAQ or Help section (or equivalent) and, more importantly, a means to seek further help or additional details.
REASON 4: Your navigation confuses users.
User efficiency and effectiveness is increased when users are able to easily comprehend the destination of a link or menu item. Navigation labels should accurately reflect their destination and be free of unnecessary jargon or acronyms. For maximal usability, navigation labels should match destination titles. That being said, it is also true that no one navigation structure will be exactly right for every user and it follows that no one set of navigation labels will be correctly interpreted by every user. Therefore, critical or important content should be accessible to from multiple places throughout your system.
REASON 5: Your UI has low contrast.
We’ve all been to that website or used grocery store kiosk that uses light grey text on a colored background. It may sound obvious but users read fastest and most effectively when black text is presented on plain white backgrounds. Patterned or low-contrast backgrounds reduce content readability and system efficiency.
Want to share your user experience wisdom? Let us know in the comments below!
Are you interesting in conducting user research on your website or application? Normal Modes has the experience and expertise to get you the answers you need. Learn how Normal Modes can use usability testing and other user experience methodologies to answer your user research questions today: