Best practices in UX are used as a guideline when designing a product. These guidelines provide a foundation to ensure a repeatable process and maintain consistency. Although they provide a basis for overall good User Experience, they aren’t a solution to every design problem. Therefore, it’s important to understand these general “rules” so that you know when to break them to create the best user experience.
Best Practices Are Guidelines, Not Rules
There are many guidelines that help us in creating good, consistent user experience. These guidelines are there to help create consistency and to provide a strong UX basis without having to reinvent the wheel for every new project. Although you can see these principles repeated throughout many digital applications and products, it doesn’t mean you can’t deviate from the standard.
Context Changes Everything
Each design problem is unique, and requires a unique solution. Knowing the specific requirements and limitations of each project will help to create a unique solution that works.
It’s easy to get caught up in what is popular and the latest trends. If we see something so often, we can start to assume it’s right. That’s why it’s especially important to know your audience and design according to their needs. Just copying what works for others doesn’t mean it will provide the right solution for your project. A popular trend in UX design is the hamburger menu icon. Despite its popularity, this icon is not as easily understood as people might assume.
A popular trend in UX design is the hamburger menu icon. Despite its popularity, this icon is not as easily understood as people might assume.
Know Your Users
Just like how every design problem is unique, so are your users. You might be surprised to find that what is standard practice and works for most users could be the opposite for yours.
Test Your Design
Always test your designs with your audience. Your design might work in theory but you never know how a user will interact with your product. You’ll likely notice things your users do that you wouldn’t expect. This can change the UX choices in your initial design or open up opportunities to break some of the “rules” based on your audience feedback to give them a unique and great user experience.
UX design has a lot of rules/guidelines/best practices but they are not set in stone. They change based on context and are always evolving. Understand your users and their needs so that you can break the rules (if necessary) and still have great UX.