Top 10 UX Gotchas

Google’s George Zafirovski asked his UX colleagues at Google to nominate their UX gotchas, and then compiled the top ten from their feedback:

  1. “I skipped the wireframes and produced hi-fi mocks instead.” – By going straight to a hi-fi mockup you lock yourself in to a single solution. Better solutions can usually be found by comparing a number of approaches, and you can produce multiple lo-fi mockups in the time it takes you to produce a single hi-fi one.
  2. “We don’t have time to test it.” – You never get a second chance to make a first impression, don’t spoil it by having a glaring issue which would have been quickly picked up in testing.
  3. “Just make it a setting.” – This can lead to a cascade of UX issues, both in controlling the settings themselves and in the combinatorial explosion of possible interfaces engendered by the settings.
  4. “We only want to test with savvy users.” – If only savvy users can use it, then you don’t have a usable application. “Passengers will one day become drivers” – if you just consider the needs of the main user (the ‘driver’), then the less experienced users (the ‘passengers’) will not choose your product even when they’ve gained the experitise to use it.
  5. “We’ll let the translator worry about it.” – Issues like sizes of buttons to accommodate labels and bidi need to be dealt with in the original design, the translator can’t be expected to re-design your application just to make it usable in a different language.
  6. “We’ll launch this and then figure out how people use it.” – If you don’t know how to use it when you launch, how will your users figure it out?
  7. “We’ll fix this in version two.” – Similar to 2, if you mess up the version one then many people will not even look at version two.
  8. “The target user is a late-twenties technology professional.” – There’s no such thing as a late-twenties technology professional. Even within that seemingly homogeneous group there is huge variety, don’t kid yourself that because one late-twenties technology professional finds your application usable that anyone else will.
  9. “If you build it, they will come.” – If it’s not usable, they’ll leave again.
  10. “Who is this for?” – Don’t ask this question, assume it will be for everyone.

It’s a list that’ll ring true with anybody working in the UX zone. Frighteningly familiar.

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