UX can’t be defined by one set of "rules"

August 12, 2019

Even though UX is a very broad subject to write about, to find new ideas for my newsletter on a bi-weekly basis is sometimes hard. I don't want to sound like a broken record and after 300 posts - it's just hard to come across new ideas sometimes.

I've found a lot of the posts that get traction on Medium all seem to offer the golden recipe for how to make your UX 'right'. Just like for personal advice, they all seem to offer this perfect formula of 'if you do UX this way then you'll see great results and users will love your product'. They all claim to be the "Ultimate Guide to UX in 2019"...

Don't get me wrong, I do read some of these guides myself and find that they all seem to have one or two things that are worth reflecting over. Also, I know that especially junior designers or people just starting off with UX like to get these kinds of rules to follow. So what to do?

As you might know, I'm a big fan of learning about great user experiences not only from UX design, but from design, writing, and life in general. In Kaleigh Moore's newsletter the other week, I read this quote from Gary Provost:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.

Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.

And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.Gary Provost

For me, this highlights perfectly how to think about these golden UX guides. They're fine as long as you use them in moderation. If you adapt them to the product you're currently designing for. However, to think there is one set of rules to apply to any product and get a great user experience is nonsense. Total nonsense.

Just like the rule that a blog post should only be 700-800 words for good SEO, this post is only roughly 400. I'm breaking that rule simply because I have nothing more to say on this. You wouldn't want to read uninspired filler text for 300 more words, would you? I didn't think so. :)

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