Design better products by knowing the signs of bad UX
After I got past the “how do I get this to compile” stage of software development and started to actually build real products, one of the most useful static references I encountered was Jeff Atwood’s list of code smells — a list of the little things that pop up on the surface of codebases often indicating broader architectural problems. Code smells are great because once you learn to recognize them, you can save a ton of time by quickly refactoring code before the faulty architecture becomes too entrenched and a massive effort is required to do anything about it.
As I became more experienced in product design and made lots of UX mistakes in the process, I came to realize that the same concept can be applied to designing interfaces. Some product and UI features should almost never be used in well-designed products. Seeing them, or implementing them, should be a warning that deeper problems exist in the product’s user experience. And by learning to recognize them, you will be able to build better products that are less costly to implement.
Here are the top three that I’ve come to appreciate for being common, immediately remediable, and non-obvious: