June 21, 2023

Debunking the Biggest Digital Product Design Myths

Red, green, orange, yellow, and teal shapes on a light background

Designers are often skilled in multiple disciplines, letting them fluidly transition between one design project to another. But their flexibility and adaptability — coupled with the design industry’s fluctuating trends — result in a few misconceptions about what their roles actually entail.

A large number of these fallacies are concentrated in digital product design, an iterative design process that focuses on solving users’ needs to help drive a company’s goals. The confusion usually stems from outdated information, antiquated techniques, and unclear design definitions. These misbeliefs seem innocent, but they have the ability to negatively impact the apps and websites designers (especially new ones) create. 

To set the record straight and avoid any mishaps, we're sharing the truth about the 9 most common UX myths in product design.

Top 9 UX Myths in Product Design

UX Design Myth 1: UX is the same thing as UI.

UX and UI are often grouped together or even used interchangeably. This isn’t because they’re the same thing; it’s because you can’t have one without the other. 

The user experience (UX) is the overall experience a user has with a digital product from start to finish. UX design considers every interaction users may have with an app, website, or interface and how those interactions can shape their experiences and perceptions. It combines research, strategy, and product development to anticipate and solve users’ needs, so designers can make a digital product that’s effective for businesses but enjoyable for users.

The user interface (UI) is the visual experience that people have with a digital device. Graphical user interfaces are the main methods of interaction on a website or application, communicating to the user the possible actions they can take. Since a product’s look and feel determines how a user interacts with it, UI design involves the visual elements that make an interface user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. 

While UX lays a strategic foundation through research and user journey maps, UI artistically guides users through predetermined interactions on an app or website with visual elements like colors, buttons, input forms, and more.

UX Design Myth 2: UX is only about the user.

Of course, the user experience is about the user — it’s in the name. But good UX takes a company’s goals and needs into account, too. Most of the time, the purpose of a digital product is to help a business educate their customers, move their products, and make a profit. Users also don’t always know what they want, so creating something that’s too user-centric could be a detriment to the company you’re designing for. Great UX balances business objectives with user needs to produce one, cohesive experience that adequately serves both.

UX Design Myth 3: UX/UI is one-size-fits-all.

When designing user experiences and interfaces for a variety of companies, you may run into similar user journeys. But reproducing the same experience across every digital product won’t properly cater to a brand’s unique user personas and groups. Every brand’s target audience is different — set apart by distinct goals, needs, expectations, mindsets, and demographics.

UX/UI design isn’t meant to satisfy the general public; it emphasizes creating a satisfactory experience for a specific group of users, the ones most likely to interact with or use an app or website. Competitive analyses and user research will help you identify where you can customize the user experience for the company’s target audience.

UX Design Myth 4: Good design means looking good.

Design isn’t just making things look good. It’s also a form of tactful planning that anticipates and solves problems, and structures a digital product in a way that makes it easy for people to use. A great design is both visually stylish and highly functional, prioritizing performance above all else. Users want an app or website experience that’s fast and useful, so adding glitzy elements that crowd content or take a long time to load is counterproductive. 

UX Design Myth 5: The more features, the better.

Generally speaking, having a lot of choices is a positive thing. It makes us feel like we have more control over what we do. On the flip side, it can cause analysis paralysis, a phenomenon that keeps us from making any decision at all because of too many factors to consider. The same applies to design. The first instinct might be to show every capability your app or website has, but when we give users endless options, we run the risk of overwhelming them, which can lead to drop-off and stop user interactions altogether. When it comes to design, it’s best to follow a “less is more” approach. Limit designs to include only the most necessary features (the ones that best solve a user’s needs) or break down complex tasks into smaller steps.

UX Design Myth 6: Users don’t scroll past the fold.

Users spend about 57% of their viewing time above the fold, which refers to the content they see before they move further down the page. That number was 80% in 2010, so that means users are actually scrolling more now than before. Thanks in part to smartphones and infinite social media feeds, we’re now conditioned to continue scrolling if we want to view content in full. Before this, there was a tendency among designers to pad information at the top of the page while leaving the bottom bare. Content and design placed above the fold will still be the first to grab attention, but it should be enticing enough to compel users to explore the rest of the page for other relevant information. 

Here’s another thing to consider: The fold varies on every device. A smartphone, tablet, and desktop all have different heights and widths, so it’s impossible for each to have the same content above the fold. You can optimize for this by using responsive design to see what content will look like across devices.

UX Design Myth 7: Designers need to know how to code.

Most designers don’t even touch code. When they wrap up a design, they pass it to developers who work on ensuring it’s operational and functional. Though you don’t need to be a coding genius to be a good UX/UI designer, it is important to have a basic understanding of how code works. Since it’s a designer’s job to figure out how a website or app should function, having a little background knowledge can help you recognize what features developers can or can’t create. 

UX Design Myth 8: Content and copy are secondary to design.

During the design process, designers often put filler or dummy text (lorem ipsum, we’re looking at you) as a placeholder in their designs, allowing them to map out content in its prettiest form. This practice creates the pretense that design supersedes content, but design is essentially a vehicle brands and businesses use to communicate and share information with their audiences. In other words, users might stay for the design, but they come for the content. 

We like to think of the relationship between design and content as mutually beneficial, with each informing and influencing the other. When we were updating TodayTix Group’s new corporate website, our copywriters and designers worked together to make sure TTG’s nuanced story could be explained to their audience in an accurate yet pleasing way. We made tweaks to the designs based on the structure of the content and vice-versa.

UX Design Myth 9: Testing can only be done at the end.

Designs are often created in sprints and that means testing should be done in sprints, too. It’s natural to want to save UX testing for the end when the project is complete, but improper functionalities can heavily affect designs. If you wait to discover that one of your main design components reduces load times or fails to work altogether, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and readjust the rest of your designs accordingly. To save time and effort, test the functionality of an app or website design before you wrap up each design sprint. This will also help you anticipate any future issues and stick to the project timeline.

Need an expert’s help with your digital product? Send us a message.

up next
Multicolor envelopes and arrows on a dark blue background
June 15, 2023


The Best Email Marketing Best Practices to Use — No Matter Your Industry

Pink and green shopping carts on a light background
May 31, 2023

Product Design

10 eCommerce UX Best Practices to Increase Sales