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5 Reasons Why Your User Experience is Unpleasant

Design Research


Technology is changing the way we interact with the world at such a rapid pace these days that it’s never been more important to focus on the user experience. From Fortune 500 corporations to one-man shops, more and more businesses every day are learning that marginal user experiences aren’t cutting it any more—there are just too many alternatives out there.

We’ve compiled a list of five reasons why your user experience is probably unpleasant:


REASON 1: You skipped out on user research.

Do you know who your users are? Do you know their likes? Dislikes? Capabilities? SES?

If the answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ or you couldn’t create a persona for each one of your user segments, right this minute, then you’re not prepared to create an acceptable user experience. Imagine building a house only to realize that it needs to be handicap accessible. I imagine you would have done things differently if you had know at the start what you do now. Redesigns are expensive. User research provides a framework from which you can build a successful user experience the first time.


REASON 2: Your search is broken.

The number one complaint we hear when conducting usability testing is, by far, that the search feature is broken or doesn’t give accurate results. In our experience, users spend remarkably little time manually searching for the content they’re looking for. Generally speaking, if users can’t find what they’re looking quickly they’ll resort to using the search feature and when the search feature inevitably fails, they turn to Google. It should go without saying, but every time a user has to result to using Google to search <feature name> + <company name> there is another opportunity for a competitor to pop up in the search results.

PRO-TIP: The primary reason search results fail is because capitalized and lower case search terms aren’t treated as equivalent.


REASON 3: You haven’t communicated your purpose.

Another curious trend we’ve noticed is businesses that have invested heavily in the look and feel of their user experience without bothering to communicate to users why they should care. We’ve all seen those landing pages or kiosk screens that dazzle and wow and draw you in without effectively communicating why we should care once the awe wears off. The best user experiences are a blend of eye candy and effective and efficiant communication.


REASON 4: You don’t understand your users’ purpose.

Most people don’t fully realize that all user experience projects can be distilled into one basic element that’s common to all: your users are searching for information. That can mean that your users are literally searching for some bit of information or a bit more abstractly mean that users are search for a means to complete the next step towards whatever goal(s) they have. Regardless, the best user experiences all recognize and cater to the fact that users are searching for information.


REASON 5: You’re using color alone to convey information.

It’s the number one axiom all budding UX student learn: don’t user color alone to convey information. It’s the closest thing to a sin that the user experience community has. Yet, we see it everywhere, all the time. Categories are color coded, warnings are only highlighted in reds and oranges, and on and on. Did you know that approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world suffer from some form of color blindness? Why are you alienating those users?

Is it really just about color though? I would argue that the best user experiences always provide for multiple users experiences. Not using color along to convey information is basically the same as saying never rely on a single information modality to communicate with your users.


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.