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Is it "human error", or just "bad design"?

It's so often true that we've come to accept poor design as a given in our lives. We blame human error when things don't work right. 

Putri Gunawan | Tuesday 24 January 2023

Murphy's law states that “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Similarly, Steve Jobs once famously said, "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." This quote highlights the importance of functional and usable design, as opposed to just aesthetically pleasing design.


Unfortunately, it is often true that we accept poor design as a given in our lives, often blaming human error for issues rather than considering the design of the system itself.


In this article, we'll explore the ways bad design can cost you time, money, and frustration. We'll also discuss the principles of good design and how it can improve the usability, user experience and overall quality of a product.  



The Usability of the Product


Is it "human error", or just "bad design"?


We've all been there. You try to do something simple, like buy a coffee, but end up spending way too much time in line because the process is so convoluted. Or you can't seem to find the light switch in the dark and wind up stubbing your toe instead.


These are just a couple of examples of bad design. And it's not just an inconvenience: it can actually be dangerous. According to the World Health Organization, bad design costs lives. That's because when products and processes are poorly designed, people can easily make mistakes while using them.


It's not cheap to fix these problems, either. The cost of bad design has been estimated at around $US480 billion per year. That's a lot of money down the drain due to usability issues.



The Design of the Product


The design of your product is just as important as functionality. In fact, it's often the first thing people notice about a product. If it doesn't look good, or if it's difficult to use, people are less likely to buy it.


That's why it's so important to have a good design team on your side. They can help you create a product that not only looks great but is also easy to use. They can also help you with the branding and marketing of your product.


Remember, people are more likely to buy a product that looks good and is easy to use. So don't skimp on the design! It's one of the most important aspects of your product.



The User Experience of Product


Think about the last time you had a negative experience with a product. Maybe you couldn't figure out how to use it, or it didn't do what you expected it to do. Whatever the reason, that bad experience is likely to stick with you far longer than a good one.


And that's just human nature. We remember pain more vividly than pleasure. It's our brain's way of protecting us from potential harm in the future. So if you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.


Not only does bad design cause frustration and wasted time, it can also be damaging to your psyche. It can make you feel stupid or inept, and that's not a good feeling to carry around with you all day long.



How Design Can Influence the Usability, User Experience, and the Overall Quality of a Product


Your product might be the best on the market, but if it’s not designed well, users will have a hard time using it and will quickly become frustrated. And a frustrated user is not a happy user.


Good design doesn’t just make a product look good—it also makes it easy and enjoyable to use. And when users have a positive experience with your product, they’re more likely to recommend it to others and continue using it themselves.


On the other hand, bad design can have the opposite effect. If your product is difficult to use or doesn’t meet users’ needs, they’re likely to abandon it and never come back. Worse yet, they might tell others about their negative experience, which can damage your brand.


So, if you want your product to be successful, you need to make sure it’s designed well. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for failure.



Why Good Design Is Important


Think about all of the things you use on a daily basis that were designed by someone—your car, your phone, your computer. Even the clothes you’re wearing were designed by someone. And all of these things were designed with a purpose in mind.


The purpose of good design is to make things easier and more efficient for us. Good design is user-friendly, and it takes into account the way we interact with the world around us.


Bad design, on the other hand, is anything that gets in our way or makes our lives more difficult. Badly designed products are frustrating to use, and they can even be dangerous.


So next time you’re using something that doesn’t work the way you want it to, take a step back and ask yourself: is it me, or is it just bad design?



How Bad Design Can Cost You More in the Long Run


Many people think that good design is expensive. But what they don't realize is that bad design can actually end up costing you more in the long run.


Here's why: when something is poorly designed, it's often less user-friendly, which can lead to frustration and even accidents. And when things are harder to use, that usually means they're going to break more easily.


So not only will you have to replace things more often, but you'll also have to deal with the consequences of whatever goes wrong. A well-designed product, on the other hand, will be easier to use and last longer, saving you money in the long run.





The next time you find yourself bemoaning the cost of good design, remember the cost of bad design. In the long run, good design is always cheaper than bad design.