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A**hole Design Is The Subreddit We Need Now

Finally, a cathartic place to shame the terrible UX and industrial design all around us.

A**hole Design Is The Subreddit We Need Now
[Source Image: Suljo/iStock]

I can’t stop laughing at the design work featured on the young subreddit known as r/assholedesign–or imagining the conversations that must have happened between their designers.

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The site is a place where you can find “a very thorough list of exactly what NOT to do” as a designer, as the moderators explain. But it isn’t just funny–it calls out some of the worst dark patterns (“a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things”), which can have serious implications for people and society. In fact, UX designer Flavio Lamenz recently proposed renaming dark patterns “asshole design” in a post about the subreddit.

[Screenshot: r/assholedesign]
Since its creation three years ago, the subreddit has amassed more than 350,000 subscribers, suggesting that there’s plenty of bad design to be called out these days. In addition to abysmal user experiences, the site features plenty of evil architecture and industrial design, and even bad packaging. In general, it’s a place to shame “things in general people do to make their products even worse.”

It’s important not to confuse r/assholedesign with the hilarious
r/crappydesign
. Crappy design is dedicated to objects, advertising, and signage created by people lacking taste or skill. Asshole design, on the other hand, is about products that feel like they were created with malicious intent. Some of this work truly seems to be the work of a diabolical designer who wants to make people’s lives a little more miserable.

For instance, this gross misstep for privacy and security is still happening:

Number imprint on envelope to fool you into thinking it’s a replacement credit/debit card but it’s just a loan with NO card whatsoever in the letter! from assholedesign

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This one is a classic dark pattern:

Airbnb app: When signing up for an account, the “Next” button is just above the “opt in” button for marketing emails. Clicking “Next” selects both. from assholedesign

Whatever the reasoning behind these designs, what is clear is that we’re surrounded by horrible design, and we needed a place to laugh at it.

About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.

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