The 4 Most Common Pitfalls In User Experience Design
- Posted by GM, Digital Solutions
- On July 15, 2021
- Customer Experience, CX, Discovery., User Experience, UX, UX Design, UX Project
User experience design is critical for digital product development today.
It’s through the UX design process that we identify a specific problem, study it carefully, develop tailored solutions, and iterate rapidly. UX design emphasizes constant testing, refining, retesting, and refining again, to ensure that we get to the right answer for our customers.
The first stage in the UX design process, the discovery phase, is particularly important, as it helps point us down the right path.
But this is what happens a lot of the time.
UX design teams set out to study a specific problem domain, but as time goes on, projects get off track, and what ends up launching is not something that truly meets customer needs. Even those committed to the discovery phase can lose sight of the ultimate goal: creating value through focused innovation.
Fortunately, at Daitan, we’ve seen enough digital product design projects to know where leaders and UX design teams typically get off course. In this post, we highlight the 4 most common pitfalls that hinder the discovery phase and prevent companies from achieving their full innovation potential.
Not Enough Time or Resources
One issue many UX design teams run into is not having enough time or resources at their disposal for the discovery phase. Discoveries require serious effort to get right, and organizations that don’t invest sufficiently struggle to uncover the problems that need solving.
UX design teams often have to explore many avenues before they can come up with decent hypotheses. It’s hard to do this in a few rushed days, especially when bringing cross-functional teams together.
The Nielsen Norman Group recommends that UX design teams spend at least two weeks on discoveries. Bigger problems may require even more time. At the end of the day, there is no hard and fast rule for how long you should spend, so long as you don’t jump too quickly into development.
Lack of Executive Support
A big factor in whether UX design teams have enough resources for discoveries is the buy-in level of the executive team.
The problem is that many executives tend to feel anxious about the early stages of UX design. As a result, they push UX design teams to test ideas prematurely before stakeholders have had enough time to validate initial hypotheses. And they put pressure on managers to generate output as quickly as possible. After all, it’s hard to measure ROI based on abstract concepts and brainstorming sessions.
Another challenge associated with executive support is that decision-makers can fall victim to the “overnight success fallacy” – they see other successful products on the market and assume those innovations were born and delivered overnight. Then, they put those expectations on their UX design teams, dooming them in the process.
The answer instead for executives is to support their UX design teams fully and empower them to discover the underlying problem that needs solving. Only then can the discovery phase lead to the best possible roadmap for innovation.
Poor Understanding of the Customer Problem
We’ve been circling around the idea that many UX design teams fail to identify the underlying customer problem. When enterprises are strapped for resources, or they don’t have executive buy-in, they fail to give the discovery phase a proper chance to deliver what it promises – a clear indication of an issue that requires a new solution.
Of course, our assumption here is that by solving the “problem under the problem,” companies deliver better value to their end-users. Too many organizations end up addressing symptoms, and, consequently, underwhelm consumers when they launch new innovations.
These companies also fail to recoup their investments because they pour time, money, and resources into the wrong buckets. When this happens, it becomes much harder for leaders to innovate, as they have little to show for past efforts. The way to mitigate this pitfall is to dig in with an open mind, speak directly with potential customers, and get beyond your own ideas of what the market needs.
The Wrong People Are Involved
The fourth common pitfall that companies fall into is not bringing the right people together in the UX design process. The real advantage of UX design comes when you have stakeholders from across the organization working together to solve complex problems in creative ways. A few individuals who don’t have the right attitude or insight can detract from the output of the group.
You need people who are committed to collaboration and exploration. You need bold individuals who can resist groupthink and embrace ambiguity. Ideally, your UX design team includes agents of change who aren’t satisfied with the status quo and who are deeply curious about what solutions might resonate with customers.
Keeping these characteristics in mind, the roles you should have on your User Experience design team include:
- A UX researcher & strategist
- An executive sponsor
- Technical talent
- Project managers
- Product managers
Outside of these positions, feel free to recruit others who can help fulfill your company’s unique innovation goals. A strong, well-supported UX design team can achieve tremendous results under the direction of enthusiastic executive sponsors.
Download Daitan’s User Experience Design eBook Today
Understanding these common pitfalls to UX design success is paramount as you think about digital product development. But avoiding these traps is only a part of a much bigger story.
To learn more about the importance of the UX design process and the discovery phase, specifically, download our Executive Guide to Experience Design Success eBook today.