UX Design

The Business Case to Stop Overcomplicating UX


Good design isn’t the cluttered one with the most bells and whistles. Instead, it’s the one that solves a user’s one specific issue most simply. Yet, simplicity in design is easier said than achieved. 

Design teams get caught up in the complicated circles of modifications, adding more elements and features to the design. Meanwhile, users get overloaded with a complicated UX and never use your product as they intended to.

Good UX design is as much about building as it is about eliminating and reducing. Let’s make the business case for an uncomplicated UX and see how you can achieve it.

Related Reading: Should You Indulge in Conversational UX for Your Startup?

Why does UX get overcomplicated? 

There are many reasons why UX designers end up refining design to its detriment. Often, the idea of the ‘perfect design’ keeps designers stuck in cycles, ultimately leading to a complicated UX.

Typically, overdesigning is a consequence of the following:

Unclear goals

Not having clear goals defined at the beginning of your project is a sure shot way of setting your UX up for overdesigning. Without clearly identified goals, every extra element looks like it fits the purpose.

However, when you have clear goals defined, you can easily filter out new ideas and focus on only the most important aspects of the UX design, as you know what will and won’t help you move forward on desired goals.

No ownership

Too many cooks…well, we’ve heard it. It holds true in product UX designing, as every person brings a unique set of ideas and suggestions to the table. It’s important to have someone in charge who can make a final call and prevent overcomplications.

Again, the project owner would look at the previously identified goals and objectives before making decisions.

Communication gaps

Even before COVID-19, many enterprises had remote design teams. Today, all companies have had experience communicating with a remote designing team. Miscommunication can even happen sitting in the same walled office but is more rampant with diversely located designers.

Gaps in communication can overcomplicate the UX design of a project and lead to inefficiencies along the way. A key aspect of succinct communication is to ask questions and confirm and acknowledge answers so as not to presume or assume anything.

The idea of perfect design

Designers often get hung up on the idea of the perfect user experience and end up cluttering it. In pursuing perfection, it is easy to complicate a project and invest more into it than intended.

The Pareto principle comes in handy here. Only 20% of the UX effort will lead to 80% of the results. The perfect design doesn’t exist. But a good one does. It’s better when designers aim for the good one.

A hyper focus on methodologies and processes

From pinpointing business objectives to analyzing competitors, pinning down the business strategy, defining the company vision, analyzing the target audience, conducting user research, undertaking usability testing, mapping user journey, building wireframes and prototypes, a lot of meaning and simplicity is lost in the UX design process.

There is a long list of techniques that we could potentially use to solve each problem stage and areas we talked about above, but we would never use all of them. It’s important to identify what answers you are looking for, if there is an easy and efficient way of getting those answers and who would ultimately benefit from them.

Simplifying the processes and choosing only the needed methodologies can cut back on many complications in UX designing and, therefore, in the resulting UX design.

Possibility vs. probability design

A final common problem that leads to UX overcomplication is when designers confuse design elements that may possibly be of use to the user against elements that would probably be useful. 

If a design element or feature is probably useful, most users will end up wanting and using it. If something is possibly useful, this is the designer conjuring up an image or scenario in their mind. Adding possible use cases leads to overdesigning.

Those are the most common factors resulting in overdesigning in projects. Next, let’s see what design thinking can do to curb complications in UX.

Related Reading: How to Design User Experience for Diversity & Inclusion

How does design thinking help keep UX simple?

Design thinking helps designers better understand the target user, form and test assumptions about them and design a product that addresses a real-life problem for them in the simplest possible way.

Design thinking consists of these imperative stages-

  • Empathize – Empathizing involves engaging with and observing potential users of a product to understand their motivations and experiences and immersing ourselves in the same physical environment to better understand the issues involved. Empathy allows for a human-centered design approach where designers either confirm or discard their assumptions about users and their challenges.
  • Define – This is the stage where designers put together the information they gathered in the previous stage and define the core problem statement along with the features, functions and elements that may allow solving the problem without hassle.
  • Ideate – This is where design teams think outside the box to identify potential solutions and look at the problem in alternative ways. Techniques such as brainstorming, SCAMPER and Worst Possible Idea encourage free thinking and expand the problem space for ideation.
  • Prototype – This is where the design team produces scaled-down versions of the actual product to conduct solution analysis. This is an experimental phase that identifies, investigates, accepts, rejects, improves and re-examines solution approaches to the problem.
  • Test – Designers identify the best product solution and rigorously test the complete product. This is an iterative process, so results from the testing stage are used to redefine more problems and better understand the users’ perspectives.

Design thinking eliminates guesswork and complications from the UX design process and leads to a simplistic and powerful design that gets the job done.

Related Reading: Fundamental User Experience Design Principles for Startups

Sometimes, the usual is enough!

Designers often go for newer ways of thinking about design instead of the standard and widely accepted designs. Overcomplicating UX breaks the user experience and makes a good case for simplified UX- where the usual is enough.

Adhering to the norms can mean not having users relearn what they already know. It minimizes the barrier to using the product. When users know their way around, they are more likely to keep using a product.

Sometimes, the usual is enough.

Make sure your UX design isn’t too much.

A lousy UX design can be too visual, cluttered, functional and readable, ultimately breaking the experience it was supposed to build.

Engage with UX designers who can walk you through designing thinking and ensure a product that is easy and sticky for your users.

Learn more about our UX designing process here.

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