Complexity is the dirtiest word in UX.

Steve Krug says:

Your website should be self-evident, obvious, and self-explanatory.

The users don’t have to ‘think’.

When users have to think (and decide) as to what they should do (next), that’s a UX failure.

Leaving something (or anything) on visitors, expecting that they will ‘obviously’ know what to do because it’s too common, is a UX mistake that can cost your business a lot.

What happens when you make UX mistakes?

It increases the bounce rate, it reduces conversions, and increases churn.

And improving UX can increase conversions by 400%.

UX mistakes frustrate people who visit your website. They will quit without converting, it’s obvious.

Some of the common yet costly UX mistakes are discussed in this article along with steps on how to avoid these mistakes.

1. Popups

Popups are controversial.

Google doesn’t like them and announced that it will penalize websites that use intrusive popups that restrict people from accessing the content.

Sumo analyzed 1,754,957,675 popups (this figure shows popups are used extensively) and found that they work. The average conversion rate of popups is around 4% which can go as high as 40% when popups are personalized.

So marketers are still using popups because it works.

And the debate continues…

However, popups aren’t bad.

The way how you use popups make them bad. When your popup doesn’t ruin UX, it’s fine to use it.

If it restricts website visitors from accessing content, that’s a lethal UX mistake.

The thing is: There is a very fine line between popups that don’t hurt UX and popups that hurt UX.

Google clearly distinguished intrusive from non-intrusive popups. Here is when it’s not allowed:

And this is how to use popups:

It’s obvious that when you block a visitor’s view with a popup (or anything else), it won’t be appreciated. At least, I don’t.

If you’re using popups that cover full-screen and block visitor’s view, you’re ruining UX.

Solution

Fixing this UX mistake is easy.

Follow Google’s guidelines. Google told you what you should do and how to use popups without hurting UX.

In fact, you should use popups to improve UX. Here is how to do it.

  • Don’t use entry popups.
  • Use popups that don’t cover the entire screen. Keep them small.
  • Use personalized popups that are relevant to visitor’s previous interaction with your website and are consistent with the content of the page.
  • Create engaging and valuable popups that visitors will love interacting with.
  • Allow visitors to close popup with a single click. Make close button prominent.

2. Complexity

Sebastian Tan wrote an interesting article on how PayPal has a poor UX. He tried withdrawing money from his PayPal account and the field wasn’t user-friendly.

In fact, it was complicated. Entering amount, deleting it, and deleting part of the entered amount was messy.

What does this show?

UX mistakes are common and even big companies make them.

It is against the basics of UX. It makes users think. They have to find their way.

Complex navigation, complex design, complex user flow, and complex hierarchy won’t help website visitors.

The Bolden contact form isn’t user-friendly. It’s complex because you cannot find it, the font color and the background blends, and form border isn’t visible clearly.

Creating problems for visitors instead of facilitating them never works.

Solution

Replace complexity with simplicity. Make it easy and simple for users to do what they want to do.

Instead of letting users find their way, guide them.

The easiest technique to remove complexity is to follow Brady Bonus’s three-step method to removing complexity which he derived from John Maeda’s laws of simplicity:

  1. Reduce thoughtfully everything that’s not needed. Stick with what’s necessary.
  2. Organize what is left after reduction.
  3. Prioritize by defining a clear hierarchy.

Reduction, organization, and prioritization will lead to a simplified UX.

3. Ignoring Mobile

Perhaps the biggest UX mistake is ignoring mobile users. Not having your website optimized for mobile will ruin UX.

Statistics show that 52.2% of all website traffic in 2018 was generated through mobile.

This means 47.8% of traffic is generated from all other sources including desktop, tablets, iPads, Kindle Fire, and other devices.

Mobile traffic converts quickly. Almost 70% of mobile searches result in an action on the website within an hour.

According to Google, a non-mobile friendly website will hurt a brand’s reputation. As much as 48% of users feel frustrated when they visit a website that’s not mobile-friendly.

You cannot afford to have a poor UX on your mobile site.

Solution

You have to admit that mobile is different than desktop.

  1. Mobile screen is small
  2. Mobiles have touchscreens which are different than keyboards
  3. People mostly use mobile with a single hand.

With this in mind, you need to create UX. It should handle small screen size, it should be designed to support touchscreen, and it needs to be created for people who use mobile with one hand.

There are several best practices to improve mobile UX:

  • Utilize above the fold. Make sure it has a CTA and a short form.
  • Avoid popups especially ones that cover the entire mobile screen.
  • Add a link to search in the primary menu so visitors can find what they're looking for.
  • Offer live chat on mobile so that expert agents can offer assistance to potential customers right away.
  • Add links to help section in the menu. This will help visitors solve their problems themselves.

Conclusion

When you tweak UX, measure its impact with split testing. Does change improve any metric? Does it improve the conversion rate?

If it doesn’t change a thing (or has a negative impact), switch back.

UX changes should be data-driven.

UX improvement is a continuous process. It’s common to make mistakes related to UX, and it’s not a problem.

The problem is when you can’t identify your mistakes which means you won’t be able to solve them. It is, therefore, essential to find UX mistakes so you can take appropriate action.

The 3 mistakes covered in this article will help you get better at UX.