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.
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.
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:
This one is a classic dark pattern:
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.