5 not so obvious challenges in UX design9 Oct 2023
This is not just another text produced with ChatGPT listing some of the popular challenges we face as UX designers – but this image is generated by artificial intelligence (Midjourney).
Written by Autentika Team
This time, let’s not focus on the usual challenges that most UX designers face, such as budget and time constraints or keeping up with technology. Here are some of the less discussed but equally important issues we face as UX and UI designers.
In the dynamic landscape of user experience (UX) design, blah blah blah…. No – this is not just another text produced with ChatGPT listing some of the popular challenges we face as UX designers. We decided to focus on what is important to us– and to describe difficulties that arise in our daily work as UX and UI designers at Autentika.
1) Where’s the documentation?
In UX projects, documentation serves as a guide that describes how systems should work. Without this guide, we navigate through uncertainties and can’t ensure clarity and consistency in our projects.
For us, documentation is more than just a record-keeping. It is a storehouse of knowledge that records the rationale behind design decisions and the details of user interactions. This information is crucial when questions arise about the purpose and functionality of certain elements. Without it, we struggle to remember previous decisions – they become a puzzle, leading to misunderstandings and inefficiencies.
When documentation is inadequate, this shared understanding is weakened, unsettling team members and affecting their ability to build on established foundations.
To overcome this challenge, it is crucial to recognise documentation as an essential part of the design process. By prioritising the creation and maintenance of detailed documentation, we can strengthen projects and foster a collaborative environment where decisions are transparent and accessible and lead the way forward.
We are aware that documenting processes is sometimes met with reluctance and perceived as too time-consuming – but regular documentation of small parts can save a lot of time – an hour a day can save months of work. Therefore, we always recommend documenting interactions from the beginning to avoid later difficulties.
An hour a day spent on documentation can save months of work – image generated by MIdjourney.
2) Difficulties in accessing client groups
Our experience in UX design shows that it is not always easy to reach certain clients or user groups for research. This is the case when the end users are not easily accessible, or there is no direct way to reach them.
For example, in one of our projects, we had great difficulty reaching the end users of our client’s product. We tried to engage them in social media groups and through our own networks but without much success.
The solution to this challenge was to use our client’s mailing lists and databases – a powerful tool to reach a specific target group. Through targeted surveys via mailing lists, we gathered valuable feedback from the group we wanted to reach, helping to develop more inclusive and user-centred design solutions.
Sometimes, the UX research can be difficult, as certain clients or user groups are hard to reach (image by Midjourney).
3) Managing the stakeholder vision
Because we value honesty and don’t like to beat around the bush, we don’t want to hide that managing stakeholder vision can be a challenge in UX design. When stakeholders, especially those in influential positions such as directors, impose their visions without considering essential design principles, it creates complexities in the design process.
Sometimes, we face difficulties when pressured to adapt to stakeholder visions that may not align with established design principles. Understanding of user experience principles may differ from the client's original expectations, and this discrepancy is potentially dangerous – it can lead to compromises affecting the overall user experience. Therefore, bridging this gap is a crucial aspect of the design process.
Fortunately, years of experience have taught us how to balance design principles with stakeholder expectations and find a delicate compromise required in the UX design landscape. We can bridge the understanding gap between design decisions and client expectations by encouraging open and transparent communication. It is a dynamic process that requires constant dialogue and sometimes compromises to ensure a harmonious blend of client goals and design excellence.
Managing stakeholder vision can be a challenge in UX design (image generated by Midjourney)
4) Adapting to regulatory innovations
Sometimes, design challenges arise due to regulatory changes. In dynamic industries such as finance or pharmaceuticals, where regulatory changes are standard, the design needs to adapt to the relevant regulations. These requirements can be time- and resource-intensive, requiring UX designers to be constantly vigilant and adaptable to ensure designs align with the evolving regulatory framework.
In such cases, we need to clearly articulate the rationale for design decisions while taking into account constraints imposed by external factors. Open communication within design teams is again critical to overcoming resistance and fosters an environment where designers can collaboratively explore and implement tools that streamline their processes.
5) Cultural sensitivity
Cultural sensitivity involves understanding how different cultures perceive and interact with digital interfaces. The simplest example is colour symbolism, which differs from country to country and can be crucial to unintentional cultural missteps in design decisions
Even when we, as designers, create coherent user experiences globally, we often need to adapt the design to the local cultural context. For example, an e-commerce platform may need to adjust its user interface and payment methods to suit the preferences and norms of a particular region. It is important that we pay attention to inclusion and avoid reinforcing stereotypes.
To overcome these challenges, we must go beyond superficial observations and conduct in-depth research to gain insights into users' values, norms and behaviours prevailing in different cultural contexts. This expertise enables us to make informed design decisions that resonate positively with different audiences.
Interested in other design topics? Check out more articles on our blog!