Myth 1: Users don’t scroll
BUSTED: This was probably true in the ’90s, and maybe a bit in the ’00s. Nowadays, however, people know how to use the web, including how to scroll. We know this from our own user testing and from the literature.
Caveat: We have found that there are times when the design of a page can make your users think they’ve hit the end. Watch out for too much vertical white space between sections and using full bleed solid blocks of color (people can mistake this for a footer if they aren’t paying attention to the content). The Nielsen Norman Group refers to this as a “False Floor”.
Myth 2: Wireframes shouldn’t use color
BUSTED: While we do believe that wireframes shouldn’t rely on color or be the place to discuss the “best colors,” we do realize that colors are an important part of the user experience. It’s ok to use red to show errors or green to show success (InVision). We recently used four bold colors in a project to show users which object they were interacting with.
Caveat: While colors are a useful part of the design, and can be considered during wireframing, we should also remember some of our users are color blind or have to use screen readers. Do make sure your designs work well without color but don’t be afraid to use it to enhance the experience! Which leads us to…
Myth 3: Accessibility is expensive and ugly
BUSTED: I’ve covered accessibility several times here, so I’ll keep this short. Accessibility doesn’t have to be expensive if you factor it in from the beginning. And even if you don’t, every time you make an addition or update to your site or component library, you’ll be making a difference! And to reach WCAG AA standards your site definitely doesn’t have to be ugly! There are a lot of tools out there to help with color contrast and generally to check your designs.
Caveat: There are no caveats for this one…make your site accessible!
Myth 4: Your experience should always be original and cutting edge
BUSTED: Going back to Myth #1, people have learned how to use the web. They know what a radio button does, how to use a drop-down menu, and where to look for a search box. Feel free to style these components to match your brand, but unless you have a very good reason, stick to what people already know!
Caveat: If your target audience is young and tech savvy, it might be okay to be a little riskier.
Myth 5: UX is only one phase of your project
BUSTED: As my colleague Lars wrote about in a previous post, persistent UX involvement in any project is key. Having a dedicated UX specialist on a project from beginning to end will help to make sure the needs of your user are being taken into consideration every step of the way, and decisions made based on user interviews or testing aren’t lost in the shuffle of visual design or coding. This person doesn’t mean a full-time resource for the entire project, just SOME involvement.
Caveat: Understandably, some projects just don’t have the budget for this. Try to at least include the UX specialist during handoffs between teams if possible.
Myth 6: More white space is better…let it breathe!
BUSTED?: This one is actually not really busted, it really depends! In marketing sites, this is actually good advice…but when designing transactional and enterprise sites, particularly with lots of data, you probably want to limit the amount of white space you use.
Myth 7: The 3-click rule: all content should be accessible in three or fewer clicks
BUSTED: There are a lot of articles disputing the 3-click rule. We have debunked this in our own usability testing as well. The truth is, people aren’t too bothered by a few extra clicks, as long as they feel like they know where they’re going, where they are, and how well you lead them to their destination.
Caveat: While it is okay to have content that is more than three clicks away, it is still advisable to try to avoid “deep” IAs.