UX mistakes that keep happening

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I generally dislike these Top 10 something list sorts of posts, but I still wrote one - sigh. This is about UX mistakes that have been identified, analyzed and criticised by UX experts, yet somehow still linger. Feel free to use it as support in arguments with project managers.

  • Carousels They are misused all the time, because they provide a (fake) way to put a lot of important things on top of a page. Which is way easier than admitting you have a limited amount of space and user attention. I don’t want to jump on the hater bandwagon, but in most circumstances they are a terrible choice. If you must, reduce the number of items to 3-4 and configure the carousel not to progress automatically.

  • Opening external links in new windows
    People from marketing once heard this technique prevents visitors from leaving your page. I prefer to believe most people can master the use of tabs and back button. Smashing magazine and Jakob Nielsen say we shouldn’t take control from users. Trust them.

  • Complicating when it’s not necessary
    It would be too plain without it is a terrible argument. Make the culprit some coffee and talk him into trying a one column layout first.

  • Obscuring links for looks
    Many designers find underlined links ugly and unacceptable. Don’t let them go too far with this and remind them to use different colors for :visited links. Here are some great guidelines.

  • Using meaningless stock photos
    I cringe whenever I see purely decorative photos on popular news sites. The irony is that contrary to popular belief, it actually doesn’t improve user experience.

Have some extremely useful references:

About me

Mato Žgajner - portrait

I'm a 30-year old human from Ljubljana, Slovenia.

I've been tweaking front-ends and writing JavaScript for about a decade - both in companies and as a freelancer. Read about my working experience or contact me on LinkedIn.

When not producing code for my corporate overlords, I help the good people of DJND with parlameter.si or hang out at Radio Študent talking about indie games. You might occasionally find me on stage - telling a story or singing with an a capella group.