Looking for colorful examples of bad *developer* design

21 Apr 2006 - 10:31am
8 years ago
9 replies
519 reads
russwilson
2005

In working with and presenting to many development groups,
I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
from the inside, versus the user's view. For example,
I've seen interfaces that mimicked the underlying database
structure without any regard for the goals, perspective,
or mindset of the actual user.

Does anyone have any colorful examples of such situations?
(you can probably guess that I'm planning to use these
to support my case for good design!)

Thanks!
Russ

------------------------------------
NetQoS, Inc.
Russell Wilson
Director of Product Design
russell.wilson at netqos.com
5001 Plaza On The Lake
Austin, TX 78746
tel: 512-334-3725
mobile: 512-422-4155
------------------------------------

Comments

21 Apr 2006 - 11:24am
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

A couple of examples from Go Daddy's WebSite Tonight app, a Web-based page
builder, are attached. These two shots illustrate what must be done to add
an image to a page you're creating.

I'm working to remedy the situtuation. :)

-r-

On 4/21/06, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view. For example,
> I've seen interfaces that mimicked the underlying database
> structure without any regard for the goals, perspective,
> or mindset of the actual user.
>
> Does anyone have any colorful examples of such situations?
> (you can probably guess that I'm planning to use these
> to support my case for good design!)
>
> Thanks!
> Russ
>
> ------------------------------------
> NetQoS, Inc.
> Russell Wilson
> Director of Product Design
> russell.wilson at netqos.com
> 5001 Plaza On The Lake
> Austin, TX 78746
> tel: 512-334-3725
> mobile: 512-422-4155
> ------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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21 Apr 2006 - 11:44am
Jeremy Wood
2006

Hmmm... sorry I can't be of more help, but here's a thought:

You may want to go to thumb through a copy of "GUI Bloopers":
( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1558605827/ )

This is a pretty popular book... I've seen it in several Borders
bookstores now.

It's not specifically dedicated to the problem you described (where the
data-structure-model contradicts the user's mental model), but it's
likely to include a couple of examples of that type of problem...

On Apr 21, 2006, at 8:31 AM, Wilson, Russell wrote:

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
>
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view. For example,
> I've seen interfaces that mimicked the underlying database
> structure without any regard for the goals, perspective,
> or mindset of the actual user.
>
> Does anyone have any colorful examples of such situations?
> (you can probably guess that I'm planning to use these
> to support my case for good design!)
>
> Thanks!
> Russ
>
> ------------------------------------
> NetQoS, Inc.
> Russell Wilson
> Director of Product Design
> russell.wilson at netqos.com
> 5001 Plaza On The Lake
> Austin, TX 78746
> tel: 512-334-3725
> mobile: 512-422-4155
> ------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

21 Apr 2006 - 11:51am
Barbara Ballard
2005

On 4/21/06, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view.

I've used this comic in my presentations; it always makes me laugh:
http://www.ok-cancel.com/comic/4.html

There are several developer jokes in the proposed screen, so it does
make for a good developer presentation.

Barbara Ballard

21 Apr 2006 - 12:02pm
Jessica Grann
2006

On 4/21/06, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view.

This is a highly entertaining site (very addictive) that show bad
design in all types of things. You might find an example here. There are
often error screens and software submissions.

http://www.thisisbroken.com/

21 Apr 2006 - 1:52pm
Håkan Reis
2006

Well, you can always use any user scenario from user using
ClearQuest/ClearCase. I always just stop and watch as it throws up 7-8
modal pop up dialog boxes on top of each other, move them around And try
them out on people. And thats when I try to simply create a new view. I
think I have a clip of one of the worst cases..

/ Håkan

--

Håkan Reis
MCAD
Dotway AB

Mob : +46 40 6023210
SMS : +46 768 510033
Blog: http://blog.reis.se

Wilson, Russell wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view. For example,
> I've seen interfaces that mimicked the underlying database
> structure without any regard for the goals, perspective,
> or mindset of the actual user.
>
> Does anyone have any colorful examples of such situations?
> (you can probably guess that I'm planning to use these
> to support my case for good design!)
>
> Thanks!
> Russ
>
> ------------------------------------
> NetQoS, Inc.
> Russell Wilson
> Director of Product Design
> russell.wilson at netqos.com
> 5001 Plaza On The Lake
> Austin, TX 78746
> tel: 512-334-3725
> mobile: 512-422-4155
> ------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>
>

21 Apr 2006 - 3:14pm
Jeremy Wood
2006

Here's a small (but darn annoying!) example:

http://homepage.mac.com/bricolage1/colors.jpeg
(this link will be good for a few days)

This is a color chooser. The developer insists this is a common layout
for color palettes. Code/math-wise, this dialog makes sense:

Each of the 4 tiles increases the red value as it moves to the right,
and increases the green value as it moves down... and then each of the
4 tiles has a different blue value.

It makes mathematical sense... and with my mathematical-hat on, there's
no really elegant way to display 3-variable data in 2 dimensions. We
need a holographic 3D-cube, maybe. :)

But interface-wise:
1. It's unfamiliar. You have to comb through the palette to find
orange... it's very foreign.
2. It's ugly. How about a color wheel? Or arranging the colors in a
more aesthetically pleasing layout?
3. It's limited. My computer supports millions of colors. This
palette lets me pick 110. I can't double-click a color to get to a
more detailed dialog... I can't even type in a hex value if I knew what
I was aiming for.
4. It's a modal dialog. It's really hard in this problem to tweak the
color, then tweak the font, or the placement of text, then the color
again, etc. You'll have to open up a dialog every time you want to try
a change. (I forget if it gives live feedback or not... for sake of
story-telling you can say it doesn't to make your point.)

On the opposite far-extreme, and some of you may disagree with me, I
don't like Apple's color chooser widget. It's way overkill, and seems
to not quite remember my preferred way to view colors. I can see why
they did it (crayons, RGB sliders, color wheel, + a few others) to
cover all their possible bases... but that doesn't mean I like it. :)

- Jeremy

21 Apr 2006 - 3:46pm
Juan Lanus
2005

Russell,
This site has remains of what you ask for, not colorful but ...

First, it has a '98 vintage message:
"If your browser can't handle redirect, please click here"
if instead of a server you point to a subdomain.
The site location is
http://search.microsoft.com/search.aspx?mkt=en-US&setlang=en-US
but you can enter thru
http://microsoft.com/search
albeit with the message.

Once you have entered then you can see the magic. For example in
Search pages in + English + all languages
when you ask for pages in "all languages" you should get meraly
nothing. Hoy is a page written in all languages?
Shouldn't it be "any language"? Maybe this returns more results ...

The horizontal nav bar is interesting too:
Search Home | Advanced Search | Search Preferences | Search Help
What you mean "Search home"? Have you lost the keychain?
Maybe you'd prefer to search the help files, or maybe your preferences ...
Anyway, it contradicts the "Search Microsoft.com" title just above.

Should you select "Advanced Search" you would notice that maybe the
guy had a skinny budget, because he had to use the very same page for
"Search Help" and "Tips for improving your results" (which does NOT
include "go Google" ad Bad People suggested).

The "Change the Display Language / Choose a different language"
artifacts do not change the language but the location. Opening it for
to change to Spanish you notice that your choices are Argentina, Latin
America (which encloses Argentina, BTW), Spain and Mexico (already in
LA too).
If you are looking at the default English page and want to switch to a
different language, say: English, then there are a whopping 14
options! That's what I call language changing!

This highly elaborated web piece takes nearly 7000 bytes of bandwith
(instead of Google's silly 3200). It has nested tables up to five
levels, and it's made up of 290 lines id pretty-printed with Amaya,
which speaks of the burden the developer had to stand. Now I realize
it all!
Anyway, they managed to have only 9 errors, according to the mean w3
validator (only 32 if HTML3.2 assumed, there was no room for a
doctype).

Well, it's enough!
Maybe you can make them play "who finds more" in any randomly chosen MS page.
In an article published yesterday by Fortune, top MS executives are
surprised with Ray Ozzie because they noticed how Ray faces product
design starting from the user to the inside, while they are used to do
it from the technology to the outside.

Hmm, can I translate this posting into "all languages?"
--
Juan Lanus
TECNOSOL
Argentina

22 Apr 2006 - 5:52pm
Andrew Otwell
2004

But you get a standard color picker for *free* when developing Mac
OSX apps (Shift+Apple+C in Mail, for example). Why would anyone
bother writing their own? It's like writing your own cut-and-paste
functions or something.

> http://homepage.mac.com/bricolage1/colors.jpeg
> (this link will be good for a few days)
> This is a color chooser. The developer insists this is a common
> layout
> for color palettes. Code/math-wise, this dialog makes sense:

23 Apr 2006 - 1:09pm
Oleh Kovalchuke
2006

In the similar situation I have used actual examples from the work done in
the company I have worked for. Naturally, you'll have to be persuasive
(appeal to universal principles of design), yet exceedingly gentle.

--
Oleh Kovalchuke

Interaction design is design of time.
http://www.tangospring.com/IxDtopicWhatIsInteractionDesign.htm
Recently updated intervals in the scale of time perception: 0.1 sec, 1 sec,
1 min, 8 hours, 10 years

On 4/21/06, Wilson, Russell <Russell.Wilson at netqos.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]
>
>
> In working with and presenting to many development groups,
> I'm interested in showing "examples" of situations where
> a developer "designed" an interface based on their view
> from the inside, versus the user's view. For example,
> I've seen interfaces that mimicked the underlying database
> structure without any regard for the goals, perspective,
> or mindset of the actual user.
>
> Does anyone have any colorful examples of such situations?
> (you can probably guess that I'm planning to use these
> to support my case for good design!)
>
> Thanks!
> Russ
>
> ------------------------------------
> NetQoS, Inc.
> Russell Wilson
> Director of Product Design
> russell.wilson at netqos.com
> 5001 Plaza On The Lake
> Austin, TX 78746
> tel: 512-334-3725
> mobile: 512-422-4155
> ------------------------------------

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