View Full Version : I need examples of really bad user interfaces...

01-23-2003, 01:12 PM
Preferably Web-based database user interfaces. You know, those catalogs that make it impossible to find what you're looking for. Or that one page that makes you sit through 10 animations before you can query and get the phone number of the location nearest you. You know you've seen 'em. List 'em here!

Caesar's Ghost
01-23-2003, 06:25 PM
webpagesthatsuck.com has a LOT of these. Personally I find the editorial comments by the guy who runs it to be annoying, but the sites hilarious.

01-23-2003, 06:50 PM
Do a search and look for a guy named Jacob Nielsen. He's sort of the web-page guru.

01-23-2003, 07:01 PM
One website that annoyed me just the other day was Jameco's ( an electronics parts supplier) website.


All I wanted was a transformer that could take 120 vac in and output 12 vac. However, their online shopping system just lists each individual item in the "transformer" category, without letting you sort by anything other than name or price. Plus the first thing that shows up in the "transformer" category is a fan. Also, to get to the transformer category, I had to hunt around a bit, since they're not listed in the main menu, but are listed under "power equipment'.

I eventually had to download their catalog in PDF format, which had a nice grid with which I was able to very quickly and easily found the part I needed. I have no idea why that's not on their website.

I did send email to their webmaster asking about this, but haven't gotten a response.

For some reason, every web front end to any problem reporting tool I've ever used was a completely ugly mishmash of database fields piled onto one monster confusing web page. I.E.:

Though bugzilla is actually cleaner than many of the "professional" ones I've been forced to use.

01-24-2003, 01:04 PM
There's also a site called the Interface Hall of Shame (I don't have the URL, dammit, but a google will probably bring it up). It's a collary to the Interface Hall of Fame, which should link to it, so if you can't find the first, use the second. It's also got commentary on what not to do, so if you're designing interfaces (or are just interested in them), it's a good resource.


01-24-2003, 01:25 PM
I just tried my bookmark for the Interface Hall of Shame... looks like it's gone. Drat.


El Zagna
01-24-2003, 01:50 PM
I was going to recommend the Interface Hall of Shame also, but it has been taken down. That's too bad. They had some excellent examples of bad interface, although they concentrated on operating systems and applications as opposed to web sites.

PowerBuilder, a tool for developing database applications, has always had a horrible interface. I could write pages on the horrific human factors built into it.

01-24-2003, 04:54 PM
The Interface Hall of Shame was put on by Isys Information Architects; I don't know why it's disappeared. For an example of the type of analysis they did you can look at what appears to be a copy of their QuickTime 4.0 Player critique (http://cvc.uab.es/shared/teach/a21291/apunts/dissenyInterficieUsuari/lecturesAdicionals/CriticaQuickTime4.htm). Links from that page return to the defunct link given above.

Searching Google for "Interface Hall of Shame" gave me, among other matches, pixelcentric's interface hall of shame (http://pixelcentric.net/x-shame/), which acknowledges Isys. There appear to be several pages of the original Hall mirrored at umlchina.com/GUI/*; you can find a list by searching Google (http://google.ca/search?q=interface+hall+of+shame+site%3Aumlchina.com&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search&meta=). I can't find a top-level index page that links to all of them, though. Let me know if you find a better mirror.

Another excellent resouce on the web for usability is Bruce Tognazzini (http://asktog.com). Donald Norman (http://jnd.org/) is also a recognized authority. However, I don't know how thoroughly they look at the web specifically.

Dare I ask why you're looking for web design counterexamples?

01-24-2003, 05:49 PM
If you'd asked a couple of months ago, I could have pointed you at a UK computer hardware retailer that had the worst online shop I have ever seen; it went like this:

Browse the Online Catalogue (sorry, there is no search function) and write down the product codes of the items you require, then go to this page and fill out the online order form, then click the button to email it to us.

(the 'online order form' was just a regular web form, no security or anything, but still wanted your credit card details).

They withdrew their online retailing about 6 weeks ago.

01-24-2003, 06:11 PM
Hopping in the internet wayback machine, I found a quick little archive of the Interface Hall of Shame.


try not to hammer it, the hamsters in the wayback machine are even more fragile than the ones here at the SDMB.

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