Thursday, November 01, 2007

Eeekkk...What A Wretched UI!!!

Hello, my friends! Long time, no see. That's because my new employer has me signed up for so many training courses, I can barely come up for air! :-D One thing I can unequivocally guarantee...if you work for IBM, you will never be bored...haha!

Anyway, my next couple of posts will be asking for your help. I really think (and hope) that you will be able to come through on this one. Here's the deal. I am working on a new project and am looking to gather examples of really bad user interface designs. Now, bad color choices and related types of problems are pretty prevalent in Notes applications (and I certainly welcome those), but what I'm really hoping to find are those things that go beyond the surface. Do you have an application that is just incredibly hard to use for one reason or another? Is there a particular interface element used in a way that completely goes against its intended purpose? Basically, if the UI is poor in any way, I'm interested in seeing it. The worse it is, the better for me! :-)

Here are the ground rules:

1. All information you send me will be kept completely confidential. I'll credit you as contributing to the project if you'd like, but things will be modified so that the original design won't necessarily be identifiable when I show it.

2. Make sure you delete any company data from the application. Send me a clean database copy and populate it with some fake data if you can (just enough so we can see the problem).

3. If you want, go ahead and clean out any identifying company logos, names, etc.. If you don't want to do this, that's fine...I'll make sure I do it in Photoshop when I create my screenshots.

4. Send all submissions to Please use the subject "Bad UI Design Submission".

Basically, this project will be something that can be shared with the community and will be for educational purposes. The intent is not to point out bad developers or anything of the kind. I'm sure *ALL* of us can find some applications that we'd rather hide in the closet than let anyone see today. However, I think they'll be some great benefits that come out of this, so I really welcome and respectfully request your submissions. That's all I can say about it for now, but I think it will be fun.

If you have any questions about this, please let me know, either in the comments here or via e-mail. Thanks in advance for your help!!! :-)

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By Blogger Rob Novak, at 8:51 PM  

Do IBM templates count?

By Blogger Nate, at 9:34 PM  

Dude, if you don't share the results with me, our 'sphere session is canceled! :-P

By Blogger Bruce, at 10:09 AM  


All templates are fair game :-)


He's mine for this one...

By Blogger Chris Blatnick, at 10:54 AM  

@Rob...LOL! :-D Absolutely, yes!

@Bruce...shhh...We don't want to jinx it. ;-)

By Blogger Bruce, at 12:05 PM  


What are you talking about? ;-)

By Anonymous Feri, at 4:47 PM  

sorry, can't share template, but I experienced few awfull designs.

1) frameset classic, developer wanted "show single category" view on right side. used form with embedded view. results?
forgot to use SaveOptions => database full of documents made with that form;
forgot to tweak "scroll" attribute of frame => you get two "schizo" vertical scrollbars;
ebedded view => weird functionality of actions, no fulltext search, no "click on column header to sort" columns,
no default focus, hit ESC twice to exit, no immediate key up/down scrolling...

2) fixed size forms: developer decided, that every form will be in fixed size table, which will fit to A4, portrait, when printed. what about printing landscape? what about printing A3? what about not printing, but viewing them on 1600x1200 monitor? stupid...

3) simple keywords via Picklist: field allows just a few rather static options. developer decided to use Picklist (that's much more cool). result? no default value. too many clicks.

By Anonymous Thilo Hamberger, at 6:21 AM  

My favorite in that category is a standard Notes feature: You can pre-fill a field with help information and once you enter that field it disappears. Nice idea, right? Well, IBM decided to use a mixed yellow-brown-green color that is hard to read and guess what? You cannot change it.

By Blogger Rob Novak, at 11:22 AM  

OK here it is - and no offense intended to whomever did it, but the RSS Feed Generator template is the worst one I've seen from IBM.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:20 AM  

I can't send a template, but I can give you several screenshots of some absolutely horrifying designs, if you'll take them. But they're so terrible I think you'd be wiser not to!

By Blogger Chris Blatnick, at 7:01 PM  

Yes! Screenshots are great too!


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