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What would you say are your biggest struggles when designing your product?

Even if we use a great UI kit like http://tailwindcss.com and http://tailwindui.com it's not enough to design a product that is simple to use.

What I've seen most makers struggle with so far:

  • Validating if your design is good enough before shipping
  • Designing a landing page that converts
  • Designing a friendly on-boarding process that activates users
  • Designing tables and lists and displaying data and actions.
  • Designing easy-to-use multi-step user flows

Would love to hear your thoughts!

  1. 4

    We use contests on 99Designs to find good designers. So far, really not disappointed. They can help with your website / landing pages but also with the actual platform/product.

    One thing is to look at what similar products/competition do. Everyone works on UX, and tries to better it. You can get inspired by looking at other products.

    Sometimes, devil is in the detail (action flows, menus, quick access etc.). Took us about 5 months to get our UI/UX 'right' (I mean, OK - it's never perfect of course and it's always a work in progress).

    We saw considerable increase in conversions and usage in the end.

    1. 3

      Thanks for sharing these!

      Totally agree on the “Everyone works on UX, and tries to better it. You can get inspired by looking at other products.” - I am a big believer as well of this idea.

      Also really cool you finally found the right UX approach for your user flows! May ask what was the main way you achieved that?

      My process to achieve this is to do as much think aloud usability testing as I can to understand my users mental model and observe them how they perceive and use the flow I designed.

      1. 3

        We are very fact-based. We record every session on our platform with Hotjar (which I highly recommend).
        It allows us to see how every user interacts with the platform.

        It takes a stack load of time to go through all recordings, and see where the flow is broken / not optimal. But worth every second to fine-tune it.

        I find that only confronting yourself to the reality (and for that, recordings are perfect because users are not influenced by anything.) is the only way to learn the hard truth about how your UX is apprehended.
        As creators, we are at risk of having bias - be it positive or negative. Users on the platform give you the cold naked truth.

        Not always pleasant, but so useful ;)

        1. 2

          Totally agree with your points! Listening to users is the always the best approach and pays off.

          Regarding the Hotjar recordings, do you get plenty of insights? Because you can't listen to what they think or what they struggle with. I tried in the past but didn't really work for me as an approach to be honest. I see the users interacting with my app but I've no clue why they do what they do.

          1. 2

            You're totally correct! With Hotjar indeed you get the visual without any sound or context.

            But here is the thing though: if your product is good enough, it should - one way or another - be self-explanatory enough. That also implies you work hard on contextual help (help bubbles, meta-data for help, faqs, funnels etc.) to try and make it happen.

            When you think you are there, this is where Hotjar is super useful as you get to see where your users struggles, which steps they do not understand and drop etc.

            As a golden rule, if you need to explain verbally to your user how it works, it means that your UX is not scalable.

  2. 2

    Narrowing down the features.

    What I'm building (SurveySays.app) is quite flexible. I want to make sure users have enough options to do what they need to do, without overwhelming them with choices.

    Every day, I get requests for new features. They would all be great, but if I added them all, the tool would become hopelessly complex.

    1. 2

      I see that’s an interesting insight. Maybe you need to zoom-in more, pick a more specific customer segment and focus only on them? Not sure what’s the current state, just sharing a thought :)

      I see that from my own products (ux courses and thinkoutloud.io SaaS). If the audience is not focused enough then the product will end up not being practical. In my case I focus on solo indiehackers and small product teams (4-5 people in total). If I would focus on larger teams or enterprises then that would mean a totally different product.

      1. 1

        Yes. It's an important trade-off -- specificity vs. flexibility.

    2. 2

      This 👆
      Coincidently, I recorded a video on the exact same topic today.

  3. 2

    Listed a lot of issues I've had off the top of my head. Probably very different problems than you'd normally find in this community, but I fancy a rant (and feedback is appreciated)!

    Context: Open source - developing for a widely used app - 5MM+ downloads. We have many users complain about UX/UI. It's improving, but at a glacial pace:

    • Entrenched user expectations - at scale, you'll find someone who'll react badly to even the most basic changes (I'm going to move a UI element about 15px to the right in an update. I justify this because it's a bugfix for certain phones with rounded corners. I expect bad feedback from this). I've previously had multiple users complain that we uppercased some text.

    • Our users have very different use cases, and the app accommodates for all of these use cases. This leaves some newer users feeling lost, as much of the functionality is vital, but intended for power users.

    • Finding UX designers who'll work long-term on Open Source. Drive by dev contributions generally move the project forwards. UX decisions are typically more at a more macro scale, and having a design discussed, but with no momentum to bring it forwards can eat into dev time without anything to show for it.

    • Onboarding users in general, mismatches between a user's mental model and how the app works.

    • Proliferation of settings occurs we're trying to please users (if they ask to move back to a previous design).

    • UI and UX are trend/culture based. What once was good UX is no longer the case.

    • Some users ask for dark patterns because they're so used to them (crazy example: had users ask for ads!).

    • Limited dev time & UX is a lower priority than ecosystem compatibility.

    • Parity of UI and UX between multiple platforms (Browser/Desktop/iOS/Android). If UX means adding or modifying functionality rather than refining the look & feel of functionality, it becomes extremely complex.

    • Legacy devices which don't support, or have buggy implementations of features (animations) & platform skew in general.

    • UX for Chromebooks/phones/tablets/E-ink devices/TVs - each has different paradigms, learning all of these and keeping them in mind.

    • UX for accessibility - how do you handle loading animations/content popping in with screen readers

    • UX for keyboard input - how to avoid impacting user's keyboard-based workflows when updating UX

    • UX and translations - we're in 90+ languages and our translators are volunteers, we don't want a frustrating experience where we're constantly tweaking copy.

    1. 2

      Wow plenty of insights in here. Thanks so much for sharing!

      I think I could help you with most of your points and give you some nice guidance on how to approach these problems. Did you get a chance to check the free 1-1 UX sessions I announced a week ago? I will announce another round in two weeks so we could plan a session then!

      Some quick thoughts:

      • UI and UX are trend/culture based. What once was good UX is no longer the case. - Good UX will always be good UX. iOS for example is still using the same table views and navigation model they had in the first iPhone. The only thing that changed is how it looks (UI updates) and it got some new features as well. But the core UX is still the same. Trends are only related to UI and that’s why I hate them. Following a trend without understanding why, it will only make your product worse. The point is to create a product that works intuitively and also looks great. What “looks great” can be modeled by applying basic visual design principle and you can make it last for a long time too :-)

      • Users asking for dark patterns - That’s weird haha - one thing to note is that not all user feedback has to be incorporated into the app. How I approach this is by doing a bit of a 5-why’s followup questions and dig deeper and understand “why” they want that. Once I get this insights I think about ways to solve that problem as a designer.

      FInally one quick question I wanted to ask is, what’s your design process? Do you prototype and test new ideas or just ship them and iterate depending on the reactions?

      Thanks again for taking the time to write these!

  4. 2

    My biggest challenge is actually get good designers. Most grads only go with this hover style ,white background, blue logo, super-minimalist and etc. And they don’t really focus on mixing both UI-branding to create something original. And older-experienced designers don’t really follow new trends or know what good UI is, when they studied design that wasn’t even a thing.

    And if most landing pages fail sometimes is because of the content they are to generic or they are not appealing, so I think that’s more a copy/marketing problem rather than design.

    1. 1

      Great feedback, thanks a lot for sharing!

      Indeed many designers out there focus either on creating fully usably apps that look ugly or fancy app that are hard to use. Finding the balance there is they key and that’s what I am trying to do as well myself 😅

      Regarding landing pages I think you should think of copywriting as part of UX design. Text is the purest and simplest form of design. The content strategy at least (what the copy should communicate) should come from a product designer and then a copywriter can review and finalize it. :-)

      This is what we did on my previous job at TicketSwap and it worked really well. Copy was not anymore a pain and the design team had way more ownership to get the UX right.

      What do you think about this approach?

      1. 1

        I think most of the times people confuse micro-copy, UX writing and Copywriting.

        1-UX writing: This is the “placed text” usually is there forever a menu, a header text. The UX writing make this more interesting, as for example, a lot of companies have this “talk with sales” button. But if we think a bit about it “What person really want to talk to sales?” This companies usually lose lots of clients as people don’t want to jump into a commitment or talk with a salesman. Instead of “talk with sales” something like “schedule your demo”, “take free trail” “discover it by yourself”. Are more effective on closing someone.

        2-Micro-copywriting: I wrote a brief but really detailed article on Medium about that. I think by just checking the featured images you don’t even need to read it. https://medium.com/swlh/micro-copywriting-and-why-you-must-use-it-43b10bd984b9

        3-Landing copy: Landing copy usually face the same problems as email copywriting, being generic. Companies like mutinyhq.com solve this issue and I highly recommend it. Most companies help different segments (healthcare, hotels, gyms...) And they use the same landing for all of them. Usually I have a specific landing, now I use mutiny to have multiple ones. And then when I launch demand generation campaigns (product marketing) I create specific landing for each one. Which means you have the “Uber eats” generic landing page the one that we all see if we Google Uber eats straight. And then you have niche-oriented landing for ads campaigns. Not just generic restaurant ads instead just for sushi restaurant and the landing will only talk about sushi restaurant. Another one for pizzerias and so on. So yes all companies need a generic landing page but later they should use multiple if they want their ads campaigns to be successful.

  5. 1

    Mostly the combination of content, UX and design. Especially when multiple parties are involved.

    1. 2

      The way you separate these is interesting - Could you describe a bit what content, UX and design means for you in terms of deliverables/tasks?

      I think I could help once I have this insight and show you new ways to think about it and reduce the overall complexity :)

      1. 1

        Well, merging the deliveries from different teams into one single website can be hard. I sometimes outsource different parts. For example, there's someone who helps me with designing the page, but there's always an issue when it comes to the ux part. And when I outsource for example the copy, there's always an issue with fitting the copy in the design.

  6. 1
    • Knowing which content to put onto my landing pages.
    • Making my landing pages look good on both desktop and mobile. I.e. make them responsive without making either version look bad.

    Also agreeing with all the things you mentioned.

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