S2E21 – Identifying Bad Designs

What is bad design, and how do you identify it?

Sometimes you will look at something, and think.. bah, that is a really bad design, the experience is totally off. And often you know this instinctively, but what if it is just a matter of your not being the one this was designed for, or you simply being in a bad mood.

Fear not, Hidden by Design is here to help you. We have questions you can ask about the design, and then you can use this as a parmeter for finding out if the design is good or not.

It is not nessecary for all designs to live up to all of these, but if a design fail most of these

The questions:

  1. Predictable (past and future)
    Is the design predictable, can the user predict what is going to happen, and does to user understand why things happened?
  2. Consistency (Both in experience and Aestetics)
    Is the experience consisten and does it work as you would expect something like this to work, and does it have a consistent look.
  3. Instant Feedback
    When using the object, does it tell you want is happening and is it given at all time what is happening? When you click a button, you have to be told that the button is clicked.
  4. Easy but Deep
    Is it easy to understand how to use the design, and does it offer different ways to combine and solve issues? This is mostly applicable with games, but to be honest, in my opinion, this is something all designs should have.
  5. Autonomy
    This is very much about the user being in control. I often ask myself, does the user controls the situation, or does the situation controls the user. In most cases we want the user to be free to control the situation. A good design should enable the user to do thing and set them free.
  6. Does it solve my problem
    Often, a design or tool “almost” solves the problem, or is not really doing the thing that it is supposed to do.. its the “You had one job” situations, where the design does not do what you need it to do. You would be surprised how many designs does not live up to this one.

Bonus: In this Episode, both Martin and me falls prey to a very famous Bias, which bias is this?

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