“You cannot not communicate. Every behaviour is a kind of communication. Because behaviour does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behaviour), it is not possible not to communicate.”—Paul Watzlawick’s First Axiom of Communication
This is the first rule of UX. Everything a designer does affects the user experience. From the purposeful addition of a design element to the negligent omission of crucial messaging, every decision is molding the future of the people we design for.
As such, one of the primary goals of any good designer is communicating the intended message…the one that leads to a positive user experience. The copy-writing, the color of your text, the alignment of form labels, using all-caps or going lowercase on those navigation links—even the absence of a design pattern—are all part of this communication.
Knowing this, we can ask (and hopefully answer) the question, “Does this element support or contradict what I am trying to communicate to the user?” And by asking this you will find yourself refining and improving the little things; the things that often go unsaid or unnoticed, that ultimately make up the user’s experience.