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  • Nayana C

Caught in the act: common UI bugs

Updated: Jun 18


In the digital era, where application options for any given category are plentiful, the user interface (UI) of an application plays a crucial role in shaping user perceptions and driving success. The moment a user engages with an app, the quality of their interaction can significantly influence their overall opinion and willingness to continue using it. According to Forrester Research, a well-designed user interface could increase a website’s conversion rate by up to 200%, while a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400%. The stakes are high: a well-designed UI not only meets user expectations but can also exceed them, creating a seamless and enjoyable experience that fosters loyalty and satisfaction. 

The most popular apps that have become integral to daily life boast their exceptional user interfaces. These apps are successful because they offer intuitive, engaging, and seamless user experiences that meet or exceed user expectations. For instance, social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter captivate users with visually appealing and easy-to-navigate interfaces, while e-commerce giants like Amazon provide smooth and efficient shopping experiences. Banking apps simplify financial transactions with clear and secure interfaces, and educational tools like Duolingo make learning enjoyable and accessible. The importance of UI in these apps cannot be overstated; it is the key factor that keeps users engaged, satisfied, and loyal, ultimately driving their success.

This blog post covers the top UI nightmares plaguing digital applications. From unresponsive buttons and inconsistent styling to poor alignment, broken links, and tricky navigation, we delve into these issues and offer practical fixes to elevate your user experience. To be among the top-rated apps for user experience, watch out for these common UI bugs.

1. Out of sight, Out of Mind: Hidden elements in UI can frustrate and confuse users.  From hidden buttons to invisible input fields, users can miss important information or functionality. For example, if buttons or links are hidden behind other elements or have transparent backgrounds, they become difficult or impossible to click. Did you know that 88% of users say they wouldn't return to the application after a bad user experience? This leads to a decrease in conversion rate or sales.

Solution: Regularly conduct UI audits and user testing to identify and fix hidden elements. Implement visibility checks during the design phase and ensure all interactive elements are easily accessible.

2. Missing Navigation: Users who struggle to navigate the UI may waste time searching for information, leading to a loss of interest in the application. For instance, removing the search bar from the home page to simplify the design can make it difficult for users to quickly find products or categories. Studies show that 70% of users rely on the search bar for quick navigation, and its absence can lead to a 30% increase in time spent searching for information. This can cause frustration and decreased engagement, with 45% of users likely to abandon the site. 

Solution: Ensure that essential navigation elements like search bars, menus, and breadcrumbs are always visible and functional. Use heatmaps and analytics to understand user navigation patterns and optimize the layout accordingly.

3. Out of Alignment: Misaligned elements may seem minor, but they can significantly impact user experience, ranging from decreased engagement to reduced satisfaction. Issues such as text overflow, button misalignments, textbox misalignment, improperly aligned images, and inconsistent spacing can lead to user confusion and disappointment. For example, in a news application, headlines displayed in a small box cause text overflow, making them unreadable.  This poor design led to users being less likely to return to the app and engage with its content.

Solution: Implement consistent design standards and use design tools that support alignment guidelines. Regularly review UI elements across different devices and screen sizes to ensure consistent alignment.

4. Click but No Action: Interactive elements such as buttons, links, and menus are essential components of any user interface. When these elements do not work as expected, users can become frustrated or abandon the application. For example, 60% of users report abandoning an app if the "login" button does not register a click even after entering the correct login credentials. Similarly, 45% of users may leave a site if the drop-down menu does not expand or function correctly. 

Solution: Conduct thorough testing of all interactive elements under various conditions. Implement error tracking and logging to quickly identify and fix issues with interactive elements.

5. Typos and Oops: Typos that cause words to be capitalised incorrectly can make text look unprofessional or difficult to read. Errors in grammar, such as missing commas or incorrect verb tense, can make text confusing or hard to understand. Some typos can lead to confusing or ambiguous meanings, such as "Save as draft" mistakenly written as "Save as daft" or "Form submission" written as "Form submersion." These errors not only confuse users but can also make the app seem unreliable.

Solution: Use automated spell-check and grammar-check tools during the content creation process. Implement a review process involving multiple team members to catch errors before they go live.

6. Asymmetric Styles: Asymmetric styles refer to a lack of balance in the user interface design, resulting in an unprofessional, unbalanced, or even disorienting appearance. For example, an interface that uses different fonts, colours, or sizes for similar elements can create a sense of asymmetry, making it difficult for users to navigate or understand the design. Similarly, unequal spacing or misalignment can cause a sense of imbalance or disorder. As a result, users may perceive the app as low quality and unreliable, leading to decreased loyalty and engagement.

Solution: Develop and adhere to a consistent design system that includes guidelines for fonts, colours, and spacing. Regularly review the UI for consistency and update design standards as needed.

7. Scrolling Issues: Jumpy or lagging scrolling can make it difficult for users to navigate or interact with the content on the screen, leading to a poor user experience. For example, if ads load while scrolling through an article, it can cause the page to freeze or jump erratically. 

Solution: Optimise the loading of content and ads to ensure smooth scrolling. Use performance monitoring tools to identify and fix issues causing lag or jumps during scrolling.

8. Pop-ups and Modals Issue: Poorly implemented interactive elements in pop-ups or modals can make the application difficult or impossible to use, leading to decreased user satisfaction and overall usability. For example, a pop-up appearing in the middle of the screen while reading an important article, asking to sign up for a newsletter, can be annoying if it is hard to close or disrupts the reading experience.  This can ultimately lead users to discontinue using the application.

Solution: Ensure that pop-ups and modals are easy to close and do not disrupt the user experience. Use them sparingly and ensure they add value to the user rather than causing frustration.

9. Accessibility Issue: Lack of keyboard navigation support or low contrast between text and background can cause major problems for users with disabilities or other limitations, potentially leading them to stop using the application. 

Solution: Adhere to accessibility standards such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Conduct regular accessibility audits and involve users with disabilities in testing to ensure your application meets their needs.

10. Animation and Transition Issue: Broken animations or transitions can hinder users' ability to navigate or interact with the application, diminishing overall usability and satisfaction. For instance, if filtering search results causes a flash or skip, it can lead to a decreased experience. 

Solution: Test animations and transitions thoroughly under different conditions. Use performance optimisation techniques to ensure smooth and responsive animations.

In conclusion, UI bugs can present significant challenges for both users and businesses. However, by prioritizing user-centred design principles, conducting thorough testing, and paying attention to detail, many of these issues can be prevented. Utilising quality tools and staying current on design trends can lead to a 40% reduction in UI bugs, while actively seeking feedback from users can result in a 25% increase in user satisfaction.

To further enhance UI quality assurance, implementing UI-specific test cases, and conducting baseline comparisons, are recommended practices. Additionally, maintaining a standardised checklist of common UI issues for testing purposes can lead to a 30% decrease in bug-related incidents. These strategies can help identify and address potential bugs early in the development process, ensuring the final product meets user expectations and fosters long-term user satisfaction and loyalty.

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