Hey, How Do I Give You My Money? #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |01 Sep 15 |

September 1, 2015

Having watched the online shopping process evolve from the very beginning, it would seem that the “basics” elements were settled some time ago: search or browse, select, refine, purchase, and ship. The last two are sometimes combined in some variant of the “buy it now” button, but regardless of what precedes it, the ultimate goal of a shopping site (for both vendor and shopper) is to complete purchases.

With so much research perofmed and so many existing examples of successful shopping sites, how did manage to miss the mark so badly There I was, ready to hand them my money (a crucial and delicate moment in the shopping process) and it took me a good 15 seconds to find the “buy” button on this page.

Go ahead, take a moment (or 53) and locate the “buy” button.

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By Daniel Brown


An Error Number from Apple? #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |20 May 15 |

May 20, 2015

​For all of Apple’s efforts usability efforts, one department seems to have missed the company-wide memo sent out 30+ years ago. Under no circumstances should a user be presented with a message like this. If the system knows enough to display an error number, it can certainly cross-reference that into a human-consumable message. (FYI: I was attempting to rename a folder that was being copied.)

Apple error message

On top of all that, what could a negative number in an error message possibly imply? Shouldn’t a negative error indicate a good thing?


Image of worm in apple courtesy Shutterstock.

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By Daniel Brown


ATM Interfaces, Multiples of 20, and Too Many Buttons #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |29 May 15 |

May 29, 2015

According to this ATM machine, I must specify a withdrawal amount in increments of $20.

Even so, I am allowed to press the the 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 keys (for whatever reason) and must specify that I want “00” cents despite the inability of any ATM machine to dispense coins.

ATM UX fail

Machines that display presets of $20, $40, $60, $80, or $100 offer a single tap to achieve an effectively error-proof task. This machine requires unnecessary cognitive load and a gauntlet of error possibilities. Not to mention the Over-Zealous Capitalization In The Instruction Line.


Keep these coming. Send them to us via Twitter or Facebook using the hastag…read more
By Daniel Brown


Don’t Make it Hard for Users to Provide Feedback #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |03 Jun 15 |

June 3, 2015

While most users provide feedback “for the greater good,” it’s still wise to thank them and encourage them to continue doing so. At the very least, avoid doing things that discourage them from submitting feedback.

Bug reports, feature requests, and general feedback help to populate a company’s “to-do list”—a carefully-curated and painstakingly-prioritized roadmap that defines the features of the product. Each of those features has the potential to further empower existing users and attract new ones.

Within the last few months, I’ve provided feedback to a variety of companies, but two experiences stand out.

The first was with Evernote. I had an idea about how to improve Skitch that would save me from having to jump into Photoshop to get the effect I wanted. A day or two later, they sent me the following message:

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By Daniel Brown


The Trouble with Caps Lock #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |17 Jun 15 |

June 17, 2015

Despite all the battles fought between Mac OS and Windows for operating system supremacy over the years, for users it’s now largely a matter of personal preference (not to mention budget). There are areas where each excels and where each lags.

However, if there is one fall-down, fatal, unbelievably horrible aspect of Windows that would be easy to fix and would leave no one wanting the old way of working, this is it.


But wait, there’s another surprise in store.

Obviously, Windows has inherited many bad habits from its past since people tend to get annoyed when features are changed or removed, no matter how outdated and useless that feature might be. (Think “paint bucket tool”…read more
By Daniel Brown


The Trouble with Car Headlights #wtfUX?

Posted by Daniel Brown |16 Jul 15 |

July 16, 2015

Car designers have gotten smarter about being safer, from finding ways to avoid collisions in the first place (anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc.) to the structure of the car and the materials used to help protect the occupants. Yet, somewhere along the way, a fundamental element of safety got overlooked—it’ i’s (still) possible to operate a moving vehicle at night with its light off.

How is it possible in 2015 to put your car in gear with the engine running and your lights off at night? How is this an acceptable combination of parameters? My car won’t even let me put it in gear unless the brake pedal is pressed. However, once I’ve passed that test, I’m free to accelerate as quickly as I want into inky blackness. How did such a key aspect of safe driving get left to a (forgetful) human brain? When would “unseeing and invisible” be the preferred status of a moving vehicle?

Given the combination of plentiful street lighting and light from surrounding signage, it’s…read more
By Daniel Brown