A day in the shoes of a UI/UX designer - spot challenges and learn how to deal with them

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May 2nd, 2024, posted in learning
by Miruna

The process of designing a product includes some problems and inconvenient situations to face, beside all the mesmerizing parts. Designing user-friendly and eye-catchy web apps is not the easiest task out there and many challenges might get in the way of designers obtaining the best results.

While some obstacles are easy to notice or to avoid, others may complicate the whole process, without a clear understanding of the root cause. You can look at a design and realize that it’s just not working the way it should do, and that is because of gaps in the process. Here are some of the challenges that a UI/UX designer could face when designing a web app and some tips to avoid getting stuck.

 

So what seems to be the problem?

The beginning of the journey is crucial when working on designing a web app and setting its foundation. First of all, before delving into choosing colors or creating input fields, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the user’s needs.

One mandatory aspect is to identify the problem and to define it. Designers should avoid making assumptions or guesses, as they may lead them astray. Instead, gathering only reliable data and doing proper research is the way to go, to truly comprehend the challenges the user faces. This step ensures proper design decisions that align with the user’s expectations.

 

On tablet or computer - where does it look best? 

As one may already know, screen sizes in web app design tend to vary, and there isn't really a one size fits all. However, it is crucial to ensure the design looks visually appealing on different types of displays, as people use a wide range of screens. In order to optimize page layouts for various screen sizes designers have to take into account several key concepts, such as readability, visibility or aesthetics.

While the design may appear flawless on one’s screen, it’s essential to consider the user’s experience on different devices. Placing a button in the top right corner may seem ideal on a smaller screen, but it’s equally important to ensure it maintains its visual appeal and functionality on larger screens. By taking a responsive approach and considering the adaptability of the design the user can get an optimal experience across a range of resolutions.

Source: Freepik

 

You've heard it before: consistency is key

Although it can be quite challenging to fully appreciate a great design, it is remarkably effortless to spot a poorly executed one. Details such as mismatched colors, different typefaces or even inconsistent spacing can give the impression of an unprofessional interface and can lead to user confusion.

Users love consistency so it’s mandatory to make sure that the design of the app is able to provide it to them. Remember that no one is patient enough to try to figure out how things work every time they click on a button.

 

Avoiding selfish design

Tell everyone to take a minute and analyze the design work. Do you feel pleased with the direction it’s taking? When it comes to designing web apps it is essential to detach from personal preferences and concentrate on what’s best for the user. Even though there is a good grasp of the purpose, it is easy to cross that fine line and tailor the design only for personal taste.

Since it is called ”user-centered design”, it means that it should focus on empathizing with users, understanding their wants, their needs, motivations and pain points. Avoiding imposing personal taste onto the design is recommended, as it may alter the whole purpose of the app. An alternative is to keep focus on delivering a whole personalized experience.

 

Finding the right words to say it

Even the most impressive design might be pulled down by some placeholder text like lorem ipsum instead of real content. Finding the appropriate words for buttons, descriptions or actions might become a little bit challenging during the design process, but it is a part of the journey.

Placing the right words in the right places can significantly influence how users interact with the app and can affect their whole experience. It is essential to keep the language concise and straightforward whenever possible, since users rarely have the patience to read an entire novel while using an app. Additionally, utilizing familiar phrases ensures clear and effective communication, minimizing any potential confusion for the user.

 

Understanding that less is more

It might be a nightmare from time to time, but every designer understands the importance of avoiding overcrowded designs that overwhelm users. The goal is to guide the user through the interface without confusing him and in order to avoid this you have to steer clear of unnecessary details.

To achieve a clutter free design it is important to highlight key elements and reduce the emphasis on secondary ones. Don’t forget about the white space that plays a vital role in creating a clean design and breathing room between parts.

Although it might be a challenge to embrace simplicity, it doesn’t mean that creativity has to be sacrificed in the process. It should be considered as a way to combine and balance aesthetics and functionality, in order to achieve the best results for the web app.

 

Is overthinking bad?

Usually designers are natural born overthinkers, which can easily become an issue and get in the way of their productivity and creativity. One of the most common UI/UX challenges that can be faced while designing web apps is fighting the urge to overthink everything. Thinking too much can get in the way of focusing on prioritizing user preferences or needs and can ruin a perfectly good design by making too many adjustments.   

There are situations when great ideas get altered by too much time spent on analyzing them. It is important to try and find a balance between efficient decision making and thoughtful consideration. Don’t forget that focusing on the principles of user-centered design, can help with delivering impactful decisions and overcome thinking too much.

 

Keeping it neat and tidy

Creative minds might get a little bit messy sometimes, which can make it hard for UI/UX designers to keep information organized during the process of designing a web app. To avoid getting overwhelmed, designers should start establishing a design workflow that suits their working style, to help them stay focused and organized throughout the project.

Creating a design system may not sound appealing, but it serves as a great foundation for keeping things nice and tidy right from the start. This system should include a library of UI components, a color palette, typography styles and a collection of icons, to help you save time and avoid extra work.

It is also a good idea to use project management apps or tools to help with organizing tasks, track the progress and set deadlines for everyone. Additionally, keeping a detailed record of important decisions and feedback received to ensure nothing is missed.

 

Mastering the art of dashboards

Designing the dashboard screen can be a challenging activity, whether it is tackled at the beginning or at the end of the process. However, this step should be approached with a clear understanding of the information needed, the purpose of the app, the functions, style and so on.

The dashboard can be considered as a summary of the app, providing users with access to its main functionalities and an overview of the system as a whole. The creation of this screen implies gathering data in groups and displaying it in the most logical and intuitive manner, avoiding using only one type of chart and trying to accompany everything with the right amount of text.

Throughout the process overcrowding the screen should be avoided, in order to not confuse or annoy the user. A clean and organized layout can make the whole experience of using the app intuitive and wholesome.

Certainly a UI/UX designer faces a lot of challenges in designing web apps, on a daily basis. Situations like the ones mentioned are frequent and in these cases it’s important to keep in mind the fundamental design principles, in order to simplify the work process. The problem should be fully understood, the project should include a design system and a clutter free design. Additionally, consistent practice is key for skills improvement and for mastering the art of overcoming challenges and delivering exceptional results. 

 

All these challenges may alter the productivity of designers and can affect the final design of the app, the estimations and the budget. If you think you need some help with your app you can book a consultation with us. We can evaluate your product and offer you free UI/UX expert assessment, alongside with design recommendations for 3 or 4 screens.




About the author

Miruna

UI/UX designer, copywriter, wanna be photographer and doggo lover. Sarcasm and bad jokes are my superpowers.

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