You probably aren't doing enough user testing. Testing feels like a chore, one requiring too much effort and taking too much time. Worse yet, user testing is often seen as unnecessary at early stages of a project, something to be applied only to a nearly finished product as a means of adding polish.
User testing doesn't have to be this way. By testing at an early stage, we discover major problems before it's too late to fix them. With a quick and informal method, testing actually gets done.
As flat design has gained popularity, the old visual conventions it replaced have become a popular point of ridicule. Digital Stitched leather? Green felt? Of course that was bad design. But in our haste to adopt the new style of flat design, we are abandoning two important aspects of the old style: visual richness and metaphor.
One of the most profound experiences as a design educator has been seeing a few smart students continually struggle, despite having a great work ethic. They come into every class having put an exceptional amount of time and effort toward refining their projects into complete, detailed documents. Yet the work is mediocre - lots of polish on flawed concepts with poor design fundamentals.