The term UX, although seemingly ubiquitous in the workplace, is often misunderstood and, sadly, undervalued by those outside of the field. This is due to many reasons – the main one being that there’s a lack of proper understanding of the level of expertise required. For instance, it’s often thought that visual designers can take on the role of UX designer without warning or a prior skills assessment. However, the nature of UX design, with its integral links to human cognition, means that UX designers must also possess many other skills not related to design at all. In fact, user experience (UX) designers are among the most sought-after professionals in the creative industry right now due to their skillset!
Myth 1: UX and UI are the same thing
UX and UI may sound the same, but these two terms mean very different things. At the same time, humans are very prone to binary thinking and prefer it when things are oversimplified into general categories. This oversimplification has unfortunately made its way to the UX field, resulting in these two terms getting confused. In practice, UX and UI design are related terms and tend to overlap, but they’re certainly not interchangeable.
UX design is focused on the usability, relevance and desirability provided in the interaction with a company, its services and its products. It’s very similar to the customer experience, though the ‘customer’ in this regard is the end-user of a website, mobile application or product.
UI design works closely with UX but is more focused on enhancing the appearance of a product. It results in outcomes that delight users aesthetically and is often responsive to changes in browser space or device type. UI design covers all the visual elements that UX design seeks to implement, which means that a great product experience starts with UX followed by UI.
Myth 2: UX is all about design
One of the main misconceptions about UX design is that it involves only design elements. Of course, this is misleading considering its name, however UX design incorporates many other aspects beyond the design process. A UX designer is not only a designer but also a strategist. In order to create a usable and intuitive experience for the user, a UX designer must be involved with user testing and observing user behaviour. They will also need to work with different stakeholders to determine what features to improve upon or add to the product – always with the goal of improving the business overall.
Picture it like a house. It’s unlikely to have been built straightaway, right? Great levels of planning, blueprinting and fixing would have taken place behind the scenes. The same goes for UX design. A lot of behind-the-scenes work must go ahead before any designing takes place.
Myth 3: The more information, the better
We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘the more the merrier’; used to convey the opinion that sometimes having more of something will make something else more enjoyable. It’s a phrase used in reference to various things. Of course, this works in reference to money and the amount of people attending your birthday party, but the same can’t be said for UX.
In reality, UX design follows the philosophy of less is more. The purpose of a UX designer is not to deliver a feature-heavy product, but to prioritise only the essential part of a website to the user. To make a user experience more enjoyable, UX designers will aim to declutter and prioritise elements to allow users to complete their desired goals in as little clicks as possible. The fewer clicks, the happier the user.
Myth 4: UX only concerns the user
Perhaps a little illogical, but user experience concerns more than just the user. Though the user and their behaviour play a large role in the overall process, it’s also important to make sure that the UX designer’s own creativity is not ignored.
This is because most of the time users don’t even know what they want. Users always love the idea of something but when it comes to the actually using it in practice, it’s a whole other story. Sometimes it’s more helpful for UX designers to brainstorm ideas beforehand on the back of their expertise, using user insights as as a framework to help structure and coordinate these ideas.
Interested to learn more? Check out this brilliant article by UX heavyweights, Nielsen Norman Group: ‘First Rule of Usability? Don't Listen to Users.
Myth 5: UX is just a fad
Just like most buzzwords in today’s digital world, many expect the enthusiasm for UX Design to be short-lived; nothing more than a set of tools and disciplines used to affect good design. However, UX design is a powerful concept and one that is more vital than most people realise. When done right, UX design can manifest long-term business success with huge implications for customer acquisition, retention and engagement. UX is here to stay.
In fact, UX design has a long history that is not commonly known, tracing all the way back to 4000 BC to China with Feng shui and the importance of space. This is because Feng shui is the practice of optimising your surroundings in the most harmonious and user-friendly way. Just like UX design, its end goal is to satisfy the user and provide them with the most positive experience possible. From there, Ancient Greek civilisations practiced in ergonomics, fitting their tools and workplaces to the user, and in 1966, Walt Disney envisioned Disney World as a place where: “the latest technology can be used to improve the lives of people.”
As you can see, the notion of enhancing user interactions and experiences with a product, system of service is hardly a modern concept.
How can we help?
At Novicell, we encourage businesses to focus on customers over transactions and to adopt user-centric design models. This means using the customer journey user experiences as the focal point of your company's activities. We conduct scenario testing to run a series of user scenarios, applying the results to plot improved UX and UI designs that better meet your user's criteria and success points.
We go beyond what any of your competitors are doing. This means doing some things a little differently but doesn’t have to involve risk.