September 16, 2019 Understand the difference between Good UX and Bad UX design

By Richard Buck

Man walks in front of a graffiti

At the most basic level, good user experience (UX) design solves problems while bad UX design creates them. But what makes UX design successful and what makes it fail?

Good UX is always based on human-centred design (HCD)

HCD helps you to develop a deep understanding and empathy for the people you’re designing for. This is done by learning as much as you can about your users, and ideating as many prototypes as you can based on your learnings. You then test them on the same people and iterate upon each new discovery. This philosophy is at the core of good UX practice. It ensures your product is correct when it hits the market because its design is informed by the users it seeks to target.

Bad UX is ignoring human-centred design

It’s easy to set yourself up for failure when you design based on assumptions that you hold about a particular product. A common pitfall is getting too close to the product, or falling in love with the product. In these cases people see themselves as the expert. Now, because they’re the expert, they already know the product, and what it’s trying to achieve. They even know the type of people who will use it. So, they don’t need to test whether people will like it or find it useful! This approach guarantees their product will have unconscious bias baked into its design. It will be appealing and useful to them only.

Good UX is delightful and transparent

Good UX is designing a smooth, transparent onboarding process that delights its users. One way to achieve this is through a method called moderated user testing. This is where a user researcher sits with a participant and gets them to perform an onboarding process. The tester monitors their performance and asks for feedback on their experience. Depending on the fidelity of your prototype, this can be done across 2-8 participants to capture useful, unbiased data.

Bad UX ignores the need for transparency

Bad UX performs the above to achieve a successful onboarding process, but ignores the need for transparency by hiding extra costs or consequences of subscription. For example, some platforms may indicate that a service is free of charge until the final confirmation window, or not provide an opt-out option for the consent of data sharing or email subscriptions at the final stage of onboarding. This type of design is known as a ‘Dark Pattern’ in the UX world.

Good UX is clear, useful and helpful

Good UX makes sure your content is clear, useful, helpful, concise and on brand. Involving your copywriter or UX writer in the early phases of research and discovery – as well as the validation phases of user testing – will enable this. For example, focus groups, workshops, and moderated user testing will provide great insights for your writers. These sessions help your writers develop a strong sense of empathy and insight into the users they’re writing for. They can identify moments that need the right content to assist the user’s journey. They might even see opportunities to delight the user through their crafty use of words. This participation is important for them to nail the tone of voice (TOV) your users respond to best. It also helps them develop a UX content strategy for your product. Below is great example of taking advantage of an opportunity to delight the user.

Bad UX confuses, guilts and shames

Bad UX uses content to confuse, mislead, guilt or shame users into an action. For example, when giving users an option to take an action that will go against the commercial interest of the product, you guilt them or shame into your preferred outcome. This is known as ‘confirmshaming’. The example below illustrates this clearly.

Great UX requires great content

At Avion Communications, we’re all about encouraging accessible and uplifting UX design. If you need an empathetic, expert copywriter who loves tracking the user journey, then get in touch with our Melbourne copywriters today.