Using your application should be a smooth sailing experience for users. Therefore, everything you do as a designer should revolve around blowing wind into your users’ figurative sales. But that’s easier said than done. With so many best practices available to UX designers, there are surprisingly many fatal usability problems in modern apps. So how exactly do we manage to set our products for failure?

It’s a common knowledge that apps that haven’t placed enough focus on usability end up being illogical, exhibit unexpected behaviors, and produce friction in user experience. It’s puzzling how we still struggle to get it right when we can test app prototypes very early in the design process to see how real users react to the initial design structure, flow, and features. This means we should be able to find problems and fix them before writing any code.

However, even the most experienced UX designers are sometimes guilty of looking only at “the big picture” of usability. And we need to consider the user experience in more detail and pay attention to the little things that can be annoying to the bone if not done right.

The following is a list of 5 deadly usability mistakes that a lot of app designers and developers still make. Avoid them and you’ll increase your app’s probability of success, ensuring that you provide consistent, smooth, and intuitive user experience.

Complicated signup forms

Complicated signup forms

There’s nothing that puts a death nail in an app’s coffin as fast as a complicated signup form. Application makers just can’t seem to get this one right. More often than not, they will ask for too much information and hesitate to remove everything that’s not absolutely necessary.
There’s a whole set of bad UX practices relating to forms. Even though their sole purpose is to capture data, there’s no excuse for making them difficult and confusing for the user.

Ever tried to fill out a long form on a smartphone? The experience is terrible! And especially if the form keeps removing the data if you forgot to enter something. How about a form with confusing field labels leaving users unsure about the information they need to enter?

If you don’t want to bleed users, stop making these types of forms!

Unclear Navigation

Want to kill your app fast? No faster way to achieve that than confusing your users with weird navigation patterns. Unclear navigation introduces friction and gives potential users another reason to abandon or uninstall your app. Your application can be packed with amazingly useful features, but if no one can find them they’ll make no difference to the overall user experience.

Navigation is key to mobile app usability as it ensures that users can seamlessly move through your app. It needs to be well-structured, intuitive and simple so you’re not wasting the user’s’ time. Things like drop-down menus are surely going to scare users away. So keep your navigation predictable and dependable to keep your users happy.

Too much visual clutter

This is an easy mistake to make, and we see it quite often - cluttered apps with excessive buttons, images or text eating up the entire screen real estate. Too much information on a condense space is difficult to make sense of and can cause users to abandon the app.

This is a typical “less is more” area so you need to audit your content and remove anything that isn’t absolutely required for your user to realize their goal. Also, make sure to unclutter the layout - whitespace is probably your best friend here, so use it!

There’s just too many features…

The core features in your app must be focused enough to provide value to intended users so they can achieve their goals quickly and easily.

Get rid of anything that may distract them from accomplishing their primary tasks. Instead of spreading your app thin across too many poorly defined processes, focus on making sure it does fewer things extremely well.

Push up notifications

Bombarding Users With Push Notifications

Yes, push notifications are a great way to connect with your users and drive app engagement. There’s just so many ways to use them - you can notify users about new features, ask for their feedback, offer promotions, and much more. So it’s easy to see why it’s so tempting to overuse them.

Be careful though, if you overwhelm your users with too many messages they will quickly get frustrated. Invest some time to identify the right triggers for push notifications, so that you avoid looking desperate and annoying to your users.


If you want your app to be successful, you need to make sure you’re helping your users accomplish their tasks intuitively and painlessly. The ultimate usability goal is that users enjoy using your product, and avoiding the fatal UX mistakes above will help get you on the right track.