Mistakes I made starting out as a designer

Hello there, Designers. I’m going to go through some of the most common errors that Junior or Entry-level Designers create.


Courage Egbude

3 years ago | 4 min read

Hello there, Designers. I’m going to go through some of the most common errors that Junior or Entry-level Designers create.

Personally, I still consider myself a Junior level Designer but considering the mistakes I have made over the past few years and progress from those mistakes as well I believe that learning from these mistakes is a better choice than making them yourself.

These errors are founded on my own knowledge as well as information gathered from other Designers and tools.

Let's Dive In !!!

1. Putting Aesthetics over Usability

Craigslist redesign by Dorjan Vulaj
Craigslist redesign by Dorjan Vulaj

Starting as a designer it was way easy to just “Push Pixel” without considering the usability but considering what the public would think of such designs was basically designing for likes and pretty comments.

Don’t get me wrong Aesthetics are actually a major part of the design, but it’s usability first always. If you add too much self-righteous creativity but ignore the usability, then no matter how great the idea is, it will be abandoned by the user.

People ignore design that ignores people — Frank Chimero

2. Inconsistency in UI elements

This is a very common mistake a lot of beginners make and the basic cause of this is a lack of understanding of the fundamentals that guide designs, personally, I made this mistake a lot of times, and occasionally I still do.

Inconsistency in UI elements
Inconsistency in UI elements

Avoid using too many different styles to maintain a consistent and succinct design. Your users will get mixed messages as a result of this! The trick is to replicate patterns and elements wherever possible.

A cohesive design goes a long way toward building confidence and providing an enjoyable environment for your users. It will also help the users learn quicker.

To avoid inconsistency, keep an eye on the following elements:

  • Consistent use of color palette for elements like buttons, text, links, header, footer, hover states, etc.
  • Consistent font styles for titles, paragraphs, links, etc.
  • Use either rounded or squared corners for the shapes in your app: Icons, cards, buttons, etc.
  • Consistent line thickness: for icons, dividers, and any other lines you use.
  • Every element that deviates in any way must have a reason to do so.

3. Unaligned Elements

I’ll admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of designing in with grids, probably because I didn't fully understand them then, but after seeing the balance and beauty they brought to the design and finally understood the power of alignment.

Unaligned Elements
Unaligned Elements

Using a proper grid system in your design can help balance your interface, they won’t appear in the final designs. However, if you are just starting as a UI designer, I believe it is necessary to first learn the rules before you break them.

4. Not doing Research

Once again it is easy to “Push Pixels” and start designing interfaces without any prior knowledge but this would always come back to hunt you in the long run.

When working on a project it’s always great to carry out research that's basically the first step in any design process.

It’s really easy to neglect research and believe that everybody is like you, that’s a major misunderstanding that would result in poor thoughts, solutions, and preferences.

Research is the foundation of a project. It prevents us from designing for one user: ourselves. You can’t just sell sweets to people with diabetes. Know your audience, know your business, know your product’s back-side things. The more you know, the more accurate will be the outcome.

5. Not Responsive Design

Even though responsive design is a term everyone knows know, there are still websites that are not responsive in different screen sizes. Responsive design makes your website flexible across all of your users’ screen resolutions and devices and it is one of those mistakes you should not do.

Responsive vs Non-Responsive by Dorjan Vulaj
Responsive vs Non-Responsive by Dorjan Vulaj

6. UX is not screen only

I used to think UX is only inside the display, not even considering the users’ credentials (age, lifestyle, and preferences). I thought that UX begins when an individual starts using the website/app and ends when he/she closes it. I didn’t even consider emotions and expectations.

These misconceptions led to bad logic, functionality, and complicated flow.

Planning and Researching everything first helps to show every possible scenario, and prevent future mistakes that can cause bad design.

Work out every possible solution, whether it is bad for business or good, whether it is bad for the user or good. You’ll never know until discovered.

7. Bad Forms

Forms are an essential aspect of the user journey; they are used to log in, sign up, check out, and so forth. As a result, it is critical to have specific instructions both before and after sending the form.

Good vs Bad Forms by Dorjan Vulaj
Good vs Bad Forms by Dorjan Vulaj

The most common mistake designers make is creating a bad connection between Label Name and Form Input by not paying attention to spacing and grouping of elements, getting the users really confused.

Errors in Forms
Errors in Forms
  • Avoid only using color to indicate the error. Always give actionable feedback to ease the process for a correct entry.
  • If the form is too long, consider breaking it up into logical sections and show a progress bar to indicate what step the user is at.

To learn more about forms you can check out this article: Design Better forms

So now what?

The goal of designers is to produce intuitive and aesthetic interfaces. It must generate trust, which leads to more conversions. Keep any of these mistakes in mind as a checklist of stuff to avoid while designing, and you may find that you’ve mastered these design rules and don’t need that list in front of you anymore.

I really hope you find this guide useful and it helps you to create more polished designs. Happy designing!


Created by

Courage Egbude

Product Designer and Writer







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