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Leaving the happy path or how to find UX edge cases? 🕵️‍♀️ | Grab a Coffee ☕️ #21

Grab a Coffee ☕️
We all want to see only the beautiful things. Vanlife 🚐 is a good example of this. How tempting the nicely extended vans decorated with macramé curtains always look on Instagram. 😅
The reality, however, is often different, which I was able to experience for myself last winter. Engadin in Switzerland, -18°C. After 6 hours of driving, we arrived and just noticed that somewhere in our van (not self-developed) water leaks. Where? No idea. Repair? No chance. So we canceled the trip. At -18°C with a leak in the pipe and therefore without heating - no way.
This is exactly what happens again and again in design. Basically, we have a clear goal in mind for the users when designing (the perfect camping trip). But what if they take an unexpected turn on the way to the ultimate goal?
So today we’re going to leave the happy path and look for the edge cases in the design.

🗺 Happy path vs. edge cases?
Happy Path
Every action we design has a Happy Path. This is the path that the user should follow. It is the path that leads the user from the beginning through different steps to the actual and desired goal.
Edge cases
However, as users tend to be, they don’t always do this. Sometimes they take a wrong turn. Maybe unintentionally, which can be an opportunity for improvement, or because they want to. In the latter case, we have to decide whether we want to prevent the user’s behavior or perhaps even encourage it.
Read more about the happy path and edge cases here.
🕵️‍♀️ How to find edge cases?
The best way to find edge cases is to look at the happy path in detail.
To find edge cases, you can ask yourself the following questions, for example:
  • What screens and content are needed?
  • Does the user have to make inputs?
  • Are validations running in the backend?
🚧 How to handle most common edge cases?
Form validation
For certain actions, we require specific mandatory information. If a user does not fill in required fields or fills them in incorrectly, it is important that the error message is formulated precisely.
Zudem sollte die Fehlermeldung gut sichtbar sein, z. B. direkt beim betroffenen Eingabefeld.
How to Write & Design User-Friendly Error Messages
Blank pages or feeds
Depending on the app, users create content themselves or can see content or enumerations in a feed or list.
However, there are states in which there is no content there. Perhaps the user has not yet created content, has not completely filled out his profile, or has deleted content.
For these cases there should always be a design solution. Either it is pointed out why there is no content at this place. It could also be animating, for example, to ask the user to create their first post so that content appears here.
Designing Empty States in Complex Applications: 3 Guidelines
(Not) perfect copy
When we create designs, we often start from the optimal content. The names are usually short (Jane Doe 😅), the cities as well (Zurich, Berlin or Oslo) and the lead text always fits exactly to the design of the card.
IRL, however, it usually looks different. Language is complicated and if an app is available in multiple languages, it is important to test the interface with these languages as well.
Designing for different languages can lead to problems in copy length.
Designing for different languages can lead to problems in copy length.
But be careful in all places where users can enter text themselves. To avoid errors, a character limit, hiding text that’s too long or clever line breaks can be solutions for this. It always depends on the corresponding use case.
Thanks for reading so far!
If you’re still reading, you went down my foreseen happy path and I must have done something right and hopefully I have achieved my goal: sharing with others to grow together 🚀 (and drinking good coffee).
If you would like to support my work and with that help other people to find their way into UX/UI industry, you can support my mission by buying me a coffee here. ☕️
Need more insights? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram and please share the Grab a Coffee ☕️ newsletter with your friends, colleagues and all other people who could be interested.
See you next week with new topics and an amazingly good cup of coffee. ☕️
Marina 👋
Need a mentor? Reach out! 🚀
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Marina @marina_kdot

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Ch. de la Plâtrière 3 | 1981 Vex |Switzerland 🇨🇭