UX design is an umbrella term that not only includes visual particulars, but also other components like information architecture, user research, wireframing and many such elements. It is difficult to define UX, still if you want to sum it up then user experience is a term that includes everything required to enhance the end-user’s interaction with the company, its products and services. It focuses on the expectations users have from a product or system and then fulfills them to grant utter satisfaction. UX is a comprehensive process undergone for the end-user. The reason here is higher user engagement which is always good for the brand in terms of reputation and revenue.

Now, does that sound easy to you? Well, then think again because this isn’t a piece of cake. UX has a lot to it. Also, one tends to get stuck in crafting UX owing to the various usability misconceptions, which get in the way of creating an interactive user-centric product. So, for starters, you must make yourself acquainted with these misconceptions so that you don’t fall behind in creation with misconceptions in mind. This article will debunk some of the common usability misconceptions that have been misguiding the designers for long. Read and know the truth-

1. UX = Usability

UX is not all about making a product usable. No doubt, usability fulfills the needs of users and keeps the things at ease. But UX design is just not concerned with usability and includes lot of other elements required to give a pleasurable experience. Talking about design, a good design is delightful and is created with the goal to get the users completely engaged. Experience design has come a long way with its revolutionary ideas and concepts, but a factor that stands super important is satisfaction. A design qualifies to be good if it is pleasurable and tempts the visitors to go ahead. However, user experience is much more different than usability.

It corresponds to feelings, that is, to give happiness. Your aim is to make the users happy as soon as they get associated with the product. Yes, right from the first glimpse. Just work on making users happy and usability and meaningfulness will follow.

If is essential to create an identity of your app, website or brand as it will have a pulling impact on the users and they get to relate even more. People want a feel of the real world, which is what businesses actually are, made of real people. There is a realism present that often gets consumed behind the commercial name. It is this ‘real’ factor which makes people empathize more with the products and services of a brand. If you want your product to be a success on the web then you must master the art of seducing users. This can be done through testimonials, comments, reviews, posts, whatever makes an influence and establishes an instant connection. In other words, seductive interface sets the trigger for audience. Great experiences are always interactive.

Now, this meaningfulness can sometimes come from lack of ease and complex matter too. We always go gaga over user-friendliness and usability and even get too much driven by it. Yes, matching with the context can backfire and make things so easy that they lose their charm. Indeed, too much easy-of-use can hamper performance. Humans like to challenge their brains. Bring in more play so that users enjoy racking brains and get powerful experience.

Good design creates a flow for the audience. They get immersed and experience enjoyment which in turn also peaks the performance. If you design keeping in mind emotion and flow, users will get absorbed and will have no track of time at all. A design should be such that it creates positive feelings, generates good thoughts and keeps the user engaged for a longer time. Purposeful products go well on a personal level as they match with the needs of the users. It is tough to accomplish meaning with looks and that is where major lag comes. The products should be substantial as then only they will connect better with the audience. Designing must be done with a prime goal of giving meaningful experiences to the people.

2. Usability Tests And Focus Groups Are Same

Talk about collecting feedback and the biggest blunder that is done is confusing usability tests with focus groups even though they are completely different from each other. Focus groups analyze what users say, here participants gather to discuss their ideas and perceptions on a given topic so as to disclose their choices. On the other hand, usability testing involves observing people in terms of usage by allotment of tasks in order to improve through their experience. Both the methods have different aims to work on. Focus groups make you understand users’ feelings and thoughts while usability tests tell how they use the product.

The former pinpoints what user wants and the latter describes whether a product will work or not. Even in terms of research, focus groups are meant for the members of target audience whereas usability testing is concerned with observing users performing particular tasks. Further, focus groups involve a group of participants as against usability testing which is one-on-one. Also, a major difference lies in the timing as in the phases of development. Focus groups should be conducted early in the product cycle to know the target audience while usability testing should be performed in the test phase to evaluate the response of the site.

3. People Do As You Think

Even though a product is created keeping in mind specific user needs, still there is no certainty that the customers will use the product in the way you have imagined. They may not always match your intention. There are chances users might get confused on the working of the product, but once they understand they will surely stick to it. One common example is many people mistake Google search bar instead of browser’s address bar to type URLs. Remember to gather feedback on your design and never be over confident as the user has a completely different mindset with regard to the usage for the fulfillment of their needs.

A product can create a purpose of its own when it comes to users just like in Twitter; people used the site to share links and ideas instead of posts, which it was originally created for. Another example can be our common communicating tool-SMS which was created by mobile operators to notify people about network problems, but eventually was used by users to send messages to each other. People tend to defy the original purpose generally when they are not clear how to use the device or don’t follow the instructions and when they are blinded by their needs and just want to get what they are looking for. Whatever is the case, innovation always makes a product interesting!

4. Usability Testing Costs A Lot

It is a common myth that usability testing is heavy on the budget as it requires well equipped lab and takes a lot of time to perform. Clearing the air, we would like to tell you that usability testing is actually very fast and inexpensive. You don’t even require very fine prototypes as low-tech prototypes also suffice equally and deliver results. Few participants are good enough to perform specific tasks and can be comfortably found through guerilla-style. In case you have various projects, you can go for remote and unmoderated tests. To cut corners in testing, you can have lab-less testing which gives quick and useful results.

Moreover, labs can also be a major distraction for the participants and dilute the very purpose. Further to lower the budget, you can use flexible methods and change them according to the situation. Keeping the participant number limited to 5 is a benefit as you get to learn more with less chaos around. However, for an in-depth analysis the number can go high to get a better judgment. Note that unmoderated testing is good when you have quite specific questions to ask with straightforward tasks at hand. Face-to-face usability testing is also helpful to save money as you get fast responses without the luxury of lab and all.

5. Users Go For Optimal Options

In a desired scenario, users would scan and straight away go to the info they are looking for. But this is not the case, as research indicates that according to usability tests, users tend to opt for the first reasonable option that they come across instead of searching for the optimal one. Once they catch hold of something even slightest related to their search, they go for it. They think choosing the wrong option and clicking back to amend it is better than having to read the entire page for the exact stuff.

Yes, it is true that instead of going for the exact matter, users do guesswork to get the info they want. This is kind of fun for them and moreover, there isn’t any harm in guessing wrong. They always try to scan for quick solutions rather than wait for perfect answers of their questions. To conclude, users won’t always make optimal choices; instead they will go for the easiest one.

Wrap Up

There is no denying that UX is a broad discipline and its diverse components have plagued usability with various misconceptions. Due to this whole surrounding confusion, it is not surprising for a designer and even a layperson to be misguided. For your design to be striking you must know how users actually think and act and for that it is important to bust all the Misconceptions. By now you might know that creativity is not sufficient alone; clarity is also required to give a memorable experience. Hope this article cleared the air pertaining to usability and set your direction right.

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Prince Pal

UI UX Consultant Helping Digital Startups & Stakeholders Grow Their Business at Think 360 Studio
For 15+ years I have designed, developed and marketed websites/apps startups in New York, California, Florida and in India. Always focused on great User Interface is key.