It's World Usability Day - November 8, 2018


Today is World Usability Day. This year’s theme is “Design for Good or Evil.”

I imagine that most people who have tried to open a child’s toy have experienced the frustrated certainty that the package designer is probably a sadist. I know that can’t be the case, but when I’m 10 twist ties deep into unwrapping each individual joint of a doll so that I can separate it from the cardboard, I just don’t care. (Did you know that there’s an actual term for that frustration now? Wrap rage.)

I’ve been with UX Mastery for a couple of years now and I’ve started to see the world through a lens of whether or not something is designed well. Whenever I buy a new product, I find myself evaluating the packaging to see if someone did a good job with the design. But I see it in more mundane places, too. Even in my favorite coffee cup.

I’d like to know, when you look at the world, where do you see design? Do you only see it while you’re working, or do you notice it in odd places here and there? If you have pictures, that would be awesome! (I threw away the doll packaging or I’d show you that. It was a nightmare!)


Oh man, I hear you on the toy packaging design. One of the best things about my kids getting older is that we don’t have to put up with that anymore!

One of the most frustrating daily experiences that I go through is putting in my contact lenses. Most contacts spin around in your eye without effect but I have severe astigmatism which means that my contacts have to stay in my eye at a particular angle or I can’t see. So that I know which way they have to go in, there is a very tiny line printed at the bottom of each lens. That’s great in theory, but if I don’t have them in I CAN’T SEE THE BLOODY LINE! You can tell from my shouting how frustrated that makes me. :wink:

Love this post BTW.


The things you see when you’re aware of the potential for something better! Reading The Design of Everyday Things will do that to you.

Even my partner Clare gets involved. “Wow, that’s got really bad usability,” she’ll say, “Not very user-friendly at all.” And she’s a primary school teacher. :slight_smile:


It’s true that anything made by humans has been designed either poorly or well!

As @Lukcha mentioned above, after reading the Don Norman classic I see it everywhere now. But recently I’ve been getting rage at the parking pay/validation machines that you find in shopping centres.
Every one is unique in its anti-user tactics! It must be 1 in every 3 people cant figure it out, and the que’s at the boom gates are testament to this. After moving house recently, the multiple trips to the Ikea’s and K-Marts of the world have meant I am in frequent contact with these beasts!

I now see a lot of opportunity in the UX around and within those machines. Environmental contexts etc. Design can a be a beauty or a beast that’s for sure. Thanks for the thought provoking post @Piper_Wilson


I’m tired of usability being synonymous with ‘addictive’. I’m tired of design being used as an excuse to solve ‘problems’ that don’t exist and are made up by different departments as a way to monetize something more. Sorry for the vent, but i see nothing great about ‘hooking’ a user vs actually understanding a usability case / need they might have. There’s a fine line that I think we forget sometimes and dont speak up about.