Bad Design

Flipping pancakes: the value of competitor evaluation

A few days ago, a friend of mine told me a story about their first visit to IDEO. At one point in their tour they saw a dozen Design Researchers standing in a makeshift kitchen, each holding a different brand … Continue reading

A Titanic Design Blunder

If this is true, it has to be the most famous, most catastrophic UI design blunder ever: “The error on the ship’s maiden voyage between Southampton and New York in 1912 happened because at the time seagoing was undergoing enormous … Continue reading

Trains, Planes and Dead Time

The UK government is currently working on plans for a new rail line, called HS2, intended to connect London to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Glasgow. The overall cost for the lines and rolling stock is estimated at a staggering £20.5 … Continue reading naming and shaming sites that use black hat, anti-usability design patterns.

Have you ever wondered why there are many clearly defined Design Patterns for good design, and Anti-Patterns for mistakes, but in the field of UX we have no recognised terminology for evil design? And why has the SEO industry always … Continue reading

Dark Patterns: dirty tricks designers use to make people do stuff

Image credit: Paul McDonald Normally we think of bad design as consisting of laziness, mistakes, or school-boy errors. We refer to these sorts of design patterns as Antipatterns. However, there’s another kind of bad design pattern, one that’s been crafted … Continue reading

Amazon’s third party merchants, and the problem with erosion of trust

The problem with running an online marketplace is that it’s hard to police all your sellers. If too many of them provide low quality product descriptions, poorly curated metadata and pixelated photos, then your own brand will suffer. eBay has … Continue reading

Mobile Safari’s misleadingly greyed out “file upload” control

The way Mobile Safari handles <input type="file" /> is something that really winds me up: File upload isn’t possible from Mobile Safari. My beef today isn’t with this fact – it’s with the UI design. To show the ‘choose file’ … Continue reading

I wonder how much this UI mistake is costing Spotify?

So here I am listening to some music on Spotify. This is a great album. Maybe I’ll buy it – I wonder how much it costs? I’ll hit “buy album” to find out… “Sign in to purchase music”. Well that … Continue reading

Why today’s voicemail systems are worse than 1980s answering machines

It’s funny to think about how big a step back voicemail took when it moved from desktop answering machines to mobile phones. Image credit: Hold all my calls by Furryscaly Back in the 1980s, if you didn’t get to the … Continue reading

Email verification – is your call-to-action strong enough?

Email verification is often needed as a step in user registration. It plays the role of an identity check – to confirm that the person registering genuinely owns the email address given. If you run a site that uses email … Continue reading