Pete Freitag Pete Freitag

Stupid, Evil, and Lazy Design

Updated on November 14, 2023
By Pete Freitag

Jack Schofield asked Jakob Nielson what is holding up progress on the web? Nielsen responded with three things:

Evil Design

"Google has made billions by putting the ads where people do want them, rather than where they don't want them."

That is an excellent point. Many startups today such as Technorati, and 43 Things, are doing things right by making their ads less obtrusive.

One may argue that the ads blend in too much, and they won't make money. The other side of the coin is that if you don't have annoying ads you will get more traffic, and the added traffic outweighs the perceived loss of clicks.

Stupid Design

"Stupid design is where companies are doing things that are known not to work...
One example is the Flash intro. "Almost everybody knows that doesn't work, but every so often, a new website comes along and makes that mistake. That's stupid."

I suppose there are a few cases where a flash intro is not all that bad. Perhaps a better example of stupid design, that you see far more often is poor color contrast. Forget usability, many sites have readability problems. Use a color contrast checker to find out if you have enough contrast.

color contrast tool

Lazy Design

"Lazy design is where people just don't bother," says Nielsen. "That's actually quite common."

Laziness often yields stupid design, but don't forget:

"Three great virtues of programming are laziness, impatience, and hubris"
-Larry Wall, Creator of Perl

design usability nielsen

Stupid, Evil, and Lazy Design was first published on July 05, 2005.

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