What is UX design and why should you care? UX, or user experience, is the way people feel about and react to your website’s design and functionality. It’s more than just how your website looks; it’s how your users interact with the elements of the site. Good UX can bring users back again and again, or it can drive them away. That’s why it’s so important to get UX design right. Yet so many designers confuse or forget the best practices of UX. To help improve your site’s UX design, read on for six UX design myths you need to stop believing.

Myth #1: UX Design is Just Good Aesthetics

One of the first myths you need to stop believing is that UX design is just making “pretty” websites. Yes, many websites with good UX look great, but UX is about more than just the way the site looks. Think of UX design as a combination form plus function. A site should look great, but it also needs to be intuitive and easy to use.

Myth #2: UX is a Box You Check When Building Your Site

Great UX design requires continuous engagement with the site as you develop it, from wireframe through final QA testing. Usability testing is critical and should be done throughout the development of your site to help you assess how people are actually using and interacting with your site.

Myth #3: UX Design is Expensive

Don’t let the myth that UX design is expensive keep you from engaging in testing your site. First consider the costs of not doing usability testing: a site that users don’t like and generates zero traffic and thus zero revenue. A website that’s a complete dud is much more costly than conducting simple usability tests. You can go low-tech and use paper printouts of your site for testing, and you can get great feedback from as few as 5 people.

Myth #4: UX Design is Just ‘Accessibility’

Great websites are accessible for a variety of users with a variety of needs, but that isn’t where it stops. Accessibility is about removing barriers to your website that would impede someone from using it. But good UX design goes beyond that. It’s creating a site that’s easy to use, provides value to its users, and most importantly is desirable. You want your users enjoying themselves and leaving satisfied.

Myth #5: Graphics, Icons, and Stock Photos Make Great UX Design

Let’s be clear, people respond to photos, icons, and great graphics. Those elements are a major reason why smartphones exploded in popularity when Apple released the easy-to-use graphical user interface of iOS and iPhone. But don’t think you can just add these elements at random and hope for a better UX design. If your graphics, icons, and photos don’t add context or contain useful information your users are likely to ignore them. Worse, if they’re not optimized for the web, they can slow the loading time of your pages, which leads to user frustration and users abandoning your site. Make sure any icon, graphic, or photo you add makes sense and adds to the overall experience.

Great UX design is more than just colors and navigation menus. It also doesn’t need to be so complicated and expensive that you skip doing it all together. By keeping these myths in mind and really focusing on the UX design as you develop your site, you can offer a product that engages your customers and keeps them coming back.