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Don't fight the laws of UX

Jakob Nielsen is one of the world's foremost experts in UX research and design, and in this video, he describes his Law of Internet UX; not a set of rules to follow, but rather a fact of life that we need to acknowledge: "Jakob's Law of Internet User Experience says that users spend most of their time on other websites than your website".

It's actually quite a simple concept, but one that is all too often overlooked, especially when there's a strong desire be innovative combined with a heightened sense of pride around your product.

An easy mistake to make is forgetting that visiting your website only makes up a minuscule part of a user's day; not only are users influenced by other websites (or apps, or games, ... ), these outside influences are part of the user experience of your website (or app, or game, ...) as well which we need to consider.

Another easy mistake to make is trying to over-innovate and taking bold risks where they're not necessary. I can think of examples where I've had to push back on "drag-and-drop navigation" or "double burger menus". Being innovative doesn't mean "innovate everything"; having a cutting-edge menu, for example, is more likely to distract away from your truly cutting-edge product. Jakob Neilsen goes on to say that if your website does the same as most other websites, they'll know how to use it immediately and be able to focus on your content, your products and offerings.

That's not to say there isn't a place for pushing these boundaries or moving away from convention; just as long as you have a valid reason why you're pushing these beyond just innovating for the sake of innovation, bearing in mind your website isn't viewed or experienced in isolation.

So try not to fight the laws of nature. Keep the bigger picture in mind and innovate where it counts.

" when people get their cumulative experience of all of these other websites, that adds up to their understanding of how a website should work"

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