Notes for “Tragic Design — Why the World Needs Designers”

4 min readJan 24, 2022


Savvy UX Summit 2020

To remind yourself of what can happen when we don’t do great design.

So what happened when we make bad design decisions in the real world? Most of us think the worse than average is ugly.

You shouldn’t be afraid of innovating and trying new things that might turn out something called ugly. There’re other ways that bad design decisions can affect people. Design can actually be hostile.


You didn’t need instructions
No one really needs instructions

When the designers use affordance to interfere or restrict a way that a certain class of people may interact the objects, it is called hostile design.

Designs can control to get to use them are quite bad, and it is easy to see it lacks empathy to what’s people need. But it mirrors the reality. The designer is commissioned by clients. The original and external. And these clients have objectives that might or might not be aligned with the users’ interests. In this case, the role of the designers to advocate or represent the needs of the users.

Hostile maybe, in facts, it lacks of empathy. But that lack of empathy should never come from the designers.

Normally if you think it is bad design, but in the case of that patterns, this is not what’s happening. Actually, the designer uses its understanding of how human interacts and behaves to trigger them into something they would do normally.

If you are under the situation that you need to design something you are not agreed with, I would say, side by pushing back. And people generally expect you to push back because you have these expertise. However that doesn’t mean you need to compromise in the future. You can educate, try to follow up.

You should be ok with certain things and not ok with other things.