Plannedscape Postings


"Shitty Design"
What Snarky Photos Can Teach Us

Posted by Charlie Recksieck on 2023-06-29
I think it's a bad habit to celebrate awful things. I used to delight in watching the worst movies of all-time and listening to insane records. It's a young man's game - generally, I want to spend my time on great works of art.

That said, when it comes to celebrating bad design I really do think there's great value to it.

Real World Design

We focus more on web design here than the design of three-dimensional objects. And in a couple of previous blog posts, I've enjoyed pointing out some obviously bad web design.

However this week, I'm talking about real-world design. Even though I'm presenting web- and real-world-design as two different things - I think these principles below (from North Carolina State in the 1970s) also make a LOT of sense for web design as well.

1: Equitable Use
2: Flexibility in Use
3: Simple and Intuitive Use
4: Perceptible Information
5: Tolerance for Error
6: Low Physical Effort
7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

Reddit - Shitty Design

This is the fun part and the main point of this short blog post. I want to point you towards the "Shitty Design" sub-reddit on Reddit

Some will make you laugh. And some will astound you how they ever got past an early design or planning stage without some voice of reason pumping the brakes. Again, I do think when you observe some of these design snafus that it does get you thinking about "what IS good design"? I can't define that or help you with that. But ...

Donald Norman

My other point of this article is to make sure that you're aware of Donald Norman. If you have nothing against Wikipedia then I encourage you to go down the rabbit hole of Norman and design by visiting his seminal book’s Wikipedia page.

There he is described as a "cognitive scientist and usability engineer" which seems about right. His book "The Design Of Everyday Things" is mind-blowing for anybody who has even a little interest in learning more after reading up concepts of intuitive design a little.

I'm not going to write much further today - I hope to take you on a deep dive of Donald Norman in a future post and maybe I can even get to interview him for it (he and I live in the same town).


Whether it's schadenfreude or education that keeps you at Reddit "Shitty Design", enjoy!