By Kevin P. Nichols, Donald Chesnut

People often make the following common mistakes when designing a new user experience (UX). Make your UX stand out from the crowd by avoiding these pitfalls:

  • Content isn’t up to date. A UX is only as good as the content it holds, and if your content is stale and outdated then your UX will be greatly undermined. Be sure to develop a plan to update and maintain content to keep it fresh after the UX launches. Remember, your users rely on content to inform them and help them achieve their goals.

  • The UX isn’t multichannel. Sometimes during the design process, the UX team focuses too much on just one channel (such as a website for desktop computers) but does not contemplate the other channels that are critical (such as a mobile website). Your users may interact with your experience in more than one channel, so be sure you consider all of the channels and scenarios for use of your UX before you start your project.

  • The UX doesn’t take social networks into account. Social media is changing how almost every brand is engaging with customers. During your UX project, make sure you think about what role social media may play within the UX. Examples include connections to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr as well as inclusion of user-generated content.

  • The UX design team carefully considers the UX structure but not the content. Too often, UX designers spend a lot of time creating a structure for the UX, but they don’t put enough emphasis on the plan for developing great content. Be sure to develop a plan for creating effective and useful content that will help to differentiate your UX.

  • The UX team doesn’t give the visual design enough “love.” In some cases, the UX teams views the visual design process as nothing more than giving the wireframes a bit of color. Great visual design is a more comprehensive process — one that deeply considers form, function, color, images, typography, and other qualities of good visual design.

    There is an emotional component to how users connect with a visual design; when you understand this fact, you can create a visual design that helps your users engage with your UX in a unique and compelling way.

  • The UX’s visual design lacks sufficient white space. Many experiences are undermined because the great content isn’t offset by areas of white space. Keep in mind that a little bit of white space — empty space within a page that helps a user focus on what is important — can go a long way

  • The UX didn’t undergo adequate testing. A good, basic guideline for UX is “test, test, and test.” Yet, many times a UX goes to market without adequate testing and refinements. Account for research and testing with real-world users during the planning stages of your project.

  • The UX isn’t designed to be “scannable.” Digesting content from a digital experience requires that the content be carefully crafted for the medium. Most users scan pages quickly. Even when they actually read a section, they read it quickly.

    Great content design involves creating scannable text, which the reader can quickly comprehend with just a glance over the page. Simple, bold headlines throughout a page help ensure that the page is scannable.

  • The UX has poor navigation. Often a UX doesn’t have clear navigational cues to convey how a user arrived at the current page or how she might get back to where she started. There are a variety of visual cues that are commonly used to help a user with finding her way through the UX. Be sure to provide your users with appropriate wayfinding tools so they don’t get lost in the UX.

  • Information isn’t prioritized. When the pages of a UX have been designed with too much information, the user feels overwhelmed because all the content is competing for the user’s attention at the same time.

    As you plan your UX design, identify which content deserves the highest priority on each page, and make sure that bit of content is designed to stand out from everything else on the page. Prioritizing information is a great way to aid a user in digesting the content your UX contains.