Slaying 5 UX Myths for the Good of Mankind

As a problem-solver you meet a lot of people with opinions on how design and user experience (UX) works. These are mine.

1. UX is about asking users what they want

No. Just. No.

  • What makes people feel good
  • How new habits form
  • How people make decisions

“I don’t care! I don’t care about all these options! Just give me ONE button that says: give me insurance. Let me click that and I’m done.”

In the end people don’t really want to use most of your services at all. They actually want to be done with them. It’s a giveaway that the world’s most popular site, Google’s search engine, is really successful by having people leave the site as soon as possible.

2. UX is about designing interfaces

No, but you wouldn’t be the only one confusing UX with interaction design. It’s true that many who are responsible for UX also master, or come from, interaction design. But mastering interaction design alone will not bring clarity to the experience of a service.

  • available personnel and resources,
  • as well as investments in other channels and touchpoints.

3. UX is about coming up with new, trendy solutions

No, UX is about understanding what solutions will create a win-win situation for an organization and the people it is targeting. Staying up-to-date with emerging technologies is absolutely important; a person responsible for UX should have a firm grasp of available options. And the appeal of innovative technology should of course always be considered.

  • users were already accustomed to having the application open all day
  • the majority of applications (resumés, not software) coming in were already in Microsoft Outlook, there was hence no costly migration process
  • there was very little learning curve — the interface was familiar
  • there were no extra costs for the tool

4. UX is about making users understand instantly how it works

No, this is a frustrating myth that many people working with usability continue to strengthen by the way many usability tests are performed. If the users do not understand how to perform the tasks in a usability test, the conclusion is often that bad usability is to blame.

5. UX is about digital experiences

No, UX is by no means limited to the digital space. On the contrary it is an understanding of all the touchpoints of an organization that will bring you insights enabling you to contribute to a coherent experience.

Myths confine us

When myths are allowed to grow they quickly turn into walls and may limit us from moving into areas and obtaining information we need to perform well in our job. That’s why I make it a point to talk to anyone expressing the prejudices outlined in this article.

So remember to keep moving

I am far from correct in everything I do and conclude. It is not uncommon for me to feel like I’ve nailed a design solution only to learn that others fail to pick up on it in the way I anticipated. The key in these cases is to pursue solutions that work, keep learning about the situation, listening and being modest and humble in your approach.

Making tech safe and compassionate through design, coaching and teaching. Independent consultant. Co-host of UX Podcast. Primary publication:

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