Bad UI and Missile Alerts

Kottke: Bad Design in Action: the False Hawaiian Ballistic Missile Alert

The employee made a mistake but it’s not his fault and he shouldn’t be fired for it. The interface is the problem and whoever caused that to happen — the designer, the software vendor, the heads of the agency, the lawmakers who haven’t made sufficient funds available for a proper design process to occur — should face the consequences. More importantly, the necessary changes should be made to fix the problem in a way that’s holistic, resilient, long-lasting, and helps operators make good decisions rather than encouraging mistakes.

The false alarm is not a left v. right issue. It’s not about any particular administration. It might be reductive to say it’s solely a design issue, but bad design leads to errors. Leaving designers out of anything people will interact with is never a good idea.

Value good design.