The goal of UX design is to improve the customer journey through superior design. This involves the design, usability, and functionality of the overall app or website.
These ten UX design fails listed below prove that even top companies can sometimes drop the ball.
1: Failed Checkboxes
One of the fundamental elements of UX design is to make sure you have chosen the right tools for the right job. Then you use the proper control elements to get your desired effect.
Why it’s bad UX: The problem with this example is that they used check boxes as the control element. Even though it is doubtful that many people would order 15 hard boiled eggs, a drop down menu for the quantity would have been more appropriate than a long list of check boxes. They used the wrong tool for the wrong job.
Key Takeaway: A checkbox should be used only to choose between options. Quantities should be placed in another box with either a drop down menu or a plus and minus button to increase or decrease the number.
In the example below, you see the use of a drop-down value menu, which would provide a much cleaner design.
2: Lack of a Country Code
If you happen to live in a country where your phone number doesn’t have precisely ten digits, then you’d have to put in a fake number to use this airline service.
Why it’s bad UX: In a day and age where businesses thrive on accurate data, a UX design fail that forces some users to put in a fake number is a real head-scratcher. This UX failure comes directly from Canada’s Flair Airlines.
The key takeaway: Make sure that you don’t limit fields to local conventions. Or else you will end up forcing people to put in the wrong information, leading to even more problems.
3: Language Barriers
It’s relatively common for businesses to have their websites made available in several different languages. This example makes it difficult for users to change the language since it’s hidden from their view.
Why it’s bad UX: The site from the image shown below made the mistake of placing their language box at the bottom of the screen, forcing users to scroll down to find it. If a visitor doesn’t see the language box immediately, they are likely going to click on the back button.
The key takeaway: Placement of specific items must be considered with UX design. Essential things should always be placed at the top of the page. This example is probably losing a lot of visitors due to this problem that could easily be fixed.
4: Backward Checkboxes
This UX design fail is baffling in its use of check boxes. Instead of having customers click a checkbox to add or remove specific ingredients, this website below makes the baffling decision to default with all optional ingredients selected and then forces the customer to remove items they don’t want.
Why it’s bad UX: This is the exact opposite of what people are used to, so it forces them to stop and think about what they are supposed to do. People are used to either checking optional ingredients or choosing them from a drop down menu.
The key takeaway: There is an old business adage that states if “you confuse them, you lose them.” Making a menu default with all optional ingredients checked is a recipe for disaster.
5: Poor Color Choice
Businesses have been using flashy colors for user interfaces because they make these forms stand out. But the text still needs to be readable. This is an issue that we are seeing in the example below. While the design itself looks clear and crisp, the font is difficult to read.
Why it’s bad UX: While the green color used in this theme is good, it’s tough to read the white text on this background. Even the grey text on a white background is tricky.
The key takeaway: Businesses must emphasize usability. If a user must strain to read text in an interface, then you are probably going to lose their attention. When choosing the color of a particular theme or other interface, pay close attention to how the important information is communicated. Is it easy to read?
6: Choosing Visuals Over Function
We all love interactive websites that are pleasing to the eyes. But the essential feature of a UX design is functionality. A UX Design must be fully functional and easy to use for it to be worth its weight.
Why it’s bad UX: The site shown below seemed to forget about functionality in their design, choosing flashy interfaces over interaction. Visitors can look at 50 super beautiful travel locations, but the catch is that they must hold down the mouse for several seconds before moving on.
The key takeaway: Forcing users to hold down the button in order to navigate is going to drive people away. They don’t have the time to spend waiting seconds to see the next image. Eventually, their patience is going to wear.
7: Cluttered Displays
Cluttered displays are one of the many flaws that continue to weigh Apple’s iTunes design down. It might be tempting to clutter the homepage of an app or website with information, but this will only overwhelm the visitor. They experience information overload, which is just as bad as having a lack of information.
Why it’s bad UX: The design shown below will cause users to experience cognitive overload. To make matters worse, their loading speeds will slow down. Both are going to tug at an already low level of patience and cause users to struggle. They will have a tougher time navigating through the clutter.
The key takeaway: When it comes to interface organization, menus are one of the most excellent tools at our disposal. Using the example here, a menu could be used to organize albums rather than tossing them all onto the landing page in a non-coherent order. Or even listing the recent 2 or 3 albums opened would be a helpful compromise
8: Netflix’s Hover Play Feature
Netflix added a feature back in 2015 that was set in a way that when users hovered over a video for several seconds, a trailer would play. At first glance, this might not seem like a bad design choice. But once we see it in action, the problems start to become clear.
Why it’s bad UX: The problem is that the user must hover over the details of the movie or show to quickly view the details. This created a paradox. People who hovered over to read details were met with a loud, sudden trailer or a montage that broke their focus of the description. It’s a surprising oversight by a company focused on customer satisfaction.
The key takeaway: There are several options that Netflix could have used to make this a more enjoyable experience. Maybe set it up so that the user would have to hover over the thumbnail rather than the description to view a trailer. The point here is that when designing an interface, make sure that you are not accidently creating elements that distract a user from important information.
Click here to see the Hover Play feature.
9: Google’s Early Blunders
We must go back to 2005 and 2009 to look at this example, but it’s an epic failure by a company that seems to get so much right. Let’s look at what went wrong.
Why it’s bad UX: Google Wave came just four years after the Google X failure. It tried to create a brand new system but it ended up being too much of a mixture between email, instant messenger, and wiki. The problem was that it didn’t do any of those things better than other solutions on the market.
The key takeaway: The concept was terrific and opened the doors to a lot of new programs that we continue to use today. But not even the fantastic idea of collaboration could salvage Google Wave from its bad design. When trying to streamline specific features that have already become popular, it’s essential that they at least be on par. Otherwise, people are not going to use them.
10: Notification of Deleted Messages
WhatsApp became a hit because of its amazing UX design, but there is one feature that sticks out like a sore thumb. We all know that sometimes we might draft a message for one person but accidentally send it to another. So, users deserve the option to delete the message. Makes sense, right?
Why it’s bad UX: The problem with WhatsApp is that it shows the recipient that you deleted the message! In the end, this looks way more suspicious than if you had just sent the message. It’s a poor design decision.
The key takeaway: Either the system should notify the sender that the recipient can see that they deleted the message before they actually delete it, or they should avoid sending a notification in the first place. A simple notification message given to the person deleting the message could have saved this interface design.
The user experience needs to be at the forefront of your mind as you work on UX design. Superior UX design is one of the ways that small businesses are pulling customers away from larger, more traditional businesses. My final piece of advice is to make sure you are placing usability above style. While eye-catching apps and websites are still important, we live in a minimalist world where consumers place usability over aesthetics.
Want to learn more?
Want to get an industry-recognized Course Certificate in UX Design, Design Thinking, UI Design, or another related design topic? Online UX courses from the Interaction Design Foundation can provide you with industry-relevant skills to advance your UX career. For example, Design Thinking, Become a UX Designer from Scratch, Conducting Usability Testing or User Research – Methods and Best Practices are some of the most popular courses. Good luck on your learning journey!