This section of the library is devoted to my rants about badly designed software. Two goals motivate my efforts: first, to educate software designers about mistakes to be avoided; and second, to hold up bad designs to such ridicule that the perpetrators may be induced to clean up their messes. The former is a reasonable goal; the latter, I suspect, is unlikely ever to be achieved.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot seriously bad stuff out there. Stuff that could be vastly better, but for some reason the idiots who design it don’t think it’s important to have good user interface design. What’s so frustrating to me is that the basic concepts of good user interface design were nailed down twenty years ago. It’s not as if good UI design is some dark art known only to the elite. Nor can anybody defend themselves with the claim that good UI design isn’t important to sales; Apple’s domination of three separate markets – music players, smartphones, and tablets – clearly shows that people are willing to pay extra for well-designed software. But the idiots keep cranking out the junk. I expect that I could spend the rest of my life writing these essays, but I have so many other important things to do that I’ll have to limit myself to the most egregious examples of stinky software. Here then is my collection of rants:

Heavy Weather, software for the Lacrosse Technology weather stations

Network Solutions Internal FTP software

Anonymous PC DVD player software

Windows (no surprise here)

Microsoft Word


Sears Tiller


Software is Getting Worse

How Can You Screw up a Power Switch?!?!!?

Winix Model 300 HEPA Air Cleaner

Chrysler Town & Country