Two Common Usability Myths on UX by User Experience

28 December 2020

I’d like to share two myths that I’ve discussed with colleagues and developers. These myths always come up when discussing usability as part of the user experience.

Most of these usability myths are born due to design trends becoming rules, spreading the misinterpretation of research, or the dehumanization of users.

Common-Usability-Myths-on-UX

Liked this article: Usability A part of the User Experience because of the simplicity used to explain the term usability and it’s applications:

“Usability” refers to the ease of access and/or use of a product or website. It’s a sub-discipline of user experience design. Although user experience design (UX Design) and usability were once used interchangeably, we must now understand that usability provides an important contribution to UX; however, it’s not the whole of the experience. We can accurately measure usability.

With this in mind, and taking into account the importance and rise of the term in the past decades, I believe the following myths were born out of that widespread phenomena:

Inevitably, the user flows will be copied and implemented in a huge variety of sites and products that will most likely not be suited. If no one has done proper -or any user research- to implement this design, it will very much fail.

The first myth is:

You could/should copy what works. Whenever someone disrupts the market with a new product that has a great UX and/or usability, many will start to copy the formula as a “one size fits all” solution. They’ll probably copy the UI layout, visual elements and, overall, “what it looks like”.

Inevitably, the user flows will be copied and implemented in a huge variety of sites and products that will most likely not be suited. If no one has done proper -or any user research- to implement this design, it will very much fail.

The second myth:

Don’t listen to users. Jakob Nielsen posted in 2001 an article titled: First Rule of Usability? Don’t Listen to Users. This was controversial at the time — of course, but it was because like pretty much of the internet reading, lots of people stuck with he headline and didn’t even read the article. In spite of what many interpreted from the article, it never meant that usability specialists shouldn’t listen to people at all — obviously.

He DID say in that article that it was better to watch users work, and then Nielsen explained When and How to Listen. The thing is that you should listen to users AFTER they’re done with the tasks.

Trying to listen just for the sake of “listening” it’s not taking you, your project or research anywhere. Your project needs organized and meaningful listening, and that’s exactly where the When and How to Listen come into play.

There are many more but, in my opinion, these two are part of the most widespread among teams getting started in UX, and the ones you want to tackle first. One on the side of product developers/designers and the other on the hand of the people in charge of usability.

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