Top 10 Mistakes in Desktop, Web, and Mobile App Design

Top 10 Mistakes in Desktop, Web, and Mobile App Design

Developing functional and technological applications is a serious challenge. An even greater challenge is to create applications that help solve complex problems through a cool and intuitive interface and at the same time help the user clearly understand how best to complete the task. If you are looking for a reliable UI/UX design and development company in San Francisco, then Dworkz is one of those companies. In this article, we will look at the most common design mistakes in desktop, web, and mobile applications.

Most сommon app design mistakes

There is a list of the top 10 app design mistakes that seem egregious but are common practice.

Weak feedback

One of the most basic recommendations for improving app usability is to create clear feedback:

  1. Show users the current state of the system.
  2. Tell how their commands and actions are interpreted by the program.
  3. Let users know what’s happening.

Applications that do not give feedback on the user’s actions make him wonder and think about what is even going on. In this case, very often the user is mistaken in his thoughts.

Good responsiveness can be implemented in many ways, from using a different color for the background (to indicate the current editable area) to changing the buttons that are associated with editing (to clearly indicate the functions they perform).

Inconsistency plunges into a stupor

The difference is about complexity. When a user has expectations about how something will behave and where it can be located, deviations from those expectations cause confusion, frustration, and increased cognitive load as the person has to figure out the problem. The human mind simply craves consistency and coherence.

There are several types of inconsistencies that are especially common in feature-packed applications and confuse even advanced users:

  1. Different words or commands for the same action.
  2. Controls related to the same functionality are located in different places on the interface.
  3. Controls that (according to the user) appear similar to each other, but are located far from each other (for example, one can be found in the toolbar, another in the menu, and the third in general in the settings dialog box).
  4. Functionality that, for some mysterious reason, is sometimes available and sometimes not, and these reasons are not explicitly disclosed to users in any way.
  5. UI elements and controls that move and break spatial consistency.

Useless error messages

Error messages are a special part of the feedback. They tell the user what went wrong. The most commonly violated recommendation is when the error message simply says that something is wrong and does not explain the reason why it happened and how the user can fix the problem. Such messages leave the user in a quandary.

No defaults

Default values ​​help the user in many ways. Here are the most important things they can do:

  • they speed up the interaction by freeing the user from having to specify a value if the default value is fine
  • guide novice users down a safe or common path if they don’t already know what to do and the defaults are fine for them

The default values ​​can minimize the user’s effort for repetitive tasks, such as filling out the same form multiple times.

Icons without a signature

An icon without a signature will not work for most users – this is a tested fact. Even icons that may seem generic (such as a menu hamburger) are actually not as familiar to users as UX practitioners would expect. But if the application has unique icons, then things get even worse. The likelihood that users will understand them is low.

The combination of icons and text has the following advantages:

  1. Increases target sizeю
  2. Reduces the time it takes to recognize a command: two hints (icon and text) for memory are better than one.
  3. makes it easier to learn the interface (by establishing multiple associations with the same command)ю
  4. Helps users visually distinguish between multiple commands located next to each other.

Goals that are difficult to achieve

In human-machine interaction, everything that can be clicked or tapped (if we are talking about mobile devices) is called a target. All active UI elements are targets. To achieve the goal a user needs to:

  • be able to identify the target;
  • be able to click exactly on the desired target.

Both of these aspects cause problems in the interfaces of modern applications. Among the main problems:

  • weak hints;
  • tiny click targets.

Modal window abuse

Many applications use modal windows to interact with data: modifying an existing element, adding a new one, or deleting or viewing its additional properties.

Modal windows appear on top of the current page, which at that time is slightly darkened (condition: dimming reduces distractions and helps the user focus on the current task).

Unfortunately, this design choice reduces the user’s context by hiding information that they could use to interact with the form in the modal window.

Senseless Information

Long strings of letters and numbers, such as automatically-generated IDs in a database, are often used to uniquely identify an object in an application.

Such data is useless to the user, but it is often and quite prominently displayed in the first column of the table. This forces people to scan the data past this column to find the information they care about.

Junk box

If your application has hundreds or even thousands of features, then they need to be placed somewhere, prioritized, and organized in such a way that the user can easily find and quickly get to the most necessary ones.

Often the consequence of this situation is an overloaded menu: the most frequently used actions are displayed in the toolbar, and the last item in this toolbar is usually called “More”.

Such labels in the menu are uninformative and are something like a junk box: a place where they put everything that they could not sort into categories, but I would not want to lose these functions.

Save or delete?

Putting actions like “Save” next to actions that destroy work like “Delete” is a commonplace design decision that causes a lot of frustration for users.


Applications are very dependent on the subject area for which they are developed. Therefore, what may be convenient, efficient, and enjoyable for one industry may be a disaster for another.

Experienced professionals are required to create an easy-to-use application. If you are looking for a company that specializes in UI/UX in the USA, then D/Workz is a great choice. The company responsibly approaches the study of the target audience of the client, the analysis of the company’s tasks, and the development of a quality product.