Christian Robertson

Things that drive
[our visual designers]

Recently our visual design team filled a white board with things related to interface design that drive us nuts. By no means is this an exhaustive list (and yes, I did filter the list before and after posting it).

DVD Menus - Stop it with the low budget animation and let me watch the movie. Also, would it kill them to include the whole song before the thing repeats?

Telephone UIs - the non-mobile kind

TV Remotes - Seriously, how many buttons do you need? A computer keyboard doesn’t have as many buttons as some of these things

Projector UIs

TV Menus

User testing politics - Not the testing, just the politics

Grey - Sometimes we’re sick of it. Sometimes we use it for everything.

Syncing - Every time you push the button you think, ‘which version did I just destroy?’

Using Illustrator for bitmaps

Photoshop’s layers panel - Great for editing photo layers, terrible for drawing UIs. Do I really have to name every single element I place on the screen just to be able to select it?

AcrobatWhy does it take 10 minutes to open a document?

Papyrus - The font, but also the paper if used in an interface context

Designing the same thing over and over

Too many panels - Screens looking boring? Draw a box around each UI element!

Zara’s Facebook friends


Complexity - Yep, that’s right, we like things simple. Shocking.

Soft keys - on anything

5-way keys

Feature bloat


Outlined type - See wallpapers

Trying to do too much with icons - Sometimes a word is worth a thousand pictures

Non-heuristic approach - I’m not sure what we meant here, but I’m sure it made us hopping mad



HDCP - Seriously, my TV doesn’t work 30% of the time when I power it up, even after I upgraded the firmware with a USB key. Unacceptable! It’s a TV! But it works just fine with torrents, hypothetically.

Acrylic buttons

Blue - Everyone L-O-V-E-S it in testing, though

Color coding - If you have more than two categories, you end up rainbow brite every time, and who can really keep it to two categories

Annunciator Bars - 46 pixels tall on a 220 pixel screen? Come on.

Analog clocks on digital UIs

Rounded corners - Except on things that could injure you: glassware, for example

Poorly rasterized text - Good type + lousy rasterizer = bad type

Got more? Of course you do. What are the interface design memes, mistakes, dogmas or examples of UX laziness that drive you nuts?

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