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Bad UX Makes Users Blame Themselves

We humans have never done well with uncertainty, may be that’s how we are meant to be. We want to quickly know the reason when things go wrong. Human blames quickly on themselves instead of blaming Bad UX. The problems are more complex when technology is involved. Our perception changes quickly. When something goes wrong with a user interface, the questions don’t always have easy answers.Bad UX

Designer’s job isn’t just to make digital products beautiful, but to make people feel good when they use them and when things go wrong. It is designer’s job to connect and empathize with the user and teach them the design language.



Who Should We Blame For Bad UX?

When something goes wrong and it comes to figuring out who is at fault for the problem and who should fix it, you might think it the answer is easy but in reality it isn’t. It is the interface designer’s job to fix it. Surprisingly, many users like me, tend to blame themselves.

Don Norman explains this concept of blaming in The Design Of Everyday Things. He has described that how susceptible we are to blames ourselves rather than designers and developers for interface failures. We hate uncertainty and we will do anything to escape it, even if it means lying to ourselves.

What’s happening in the user’s mind?

Our brains tend to trick on us to make the world easier and more pleasant to navigate.

Self-serving bias leads us to attribute negative outcomes to the outside world. This same bias makes us think that anything good that happens is a result of our personality. Failing the test means the test was too hard but if you ace the test, then surely it’s because we studied hard. This holds true in almost everything except for computers and applications.

In some cases, users show a tendency to attribute success to the computers and we take a blame on themselves for the failures.

It’s not you, it’s the designer:

Let us see why this self-blame still happens:

1. Computers are still ambiguous to some users: People have mental models about how computers work, but they aren’t necessarily true, but they’re good enough. If the users is confused by an error and if it doesn’t fit anywhere in his mental model, that’s stressful. They blame themselves rather than trying to comprehend how the application works and how they arrived there.

2. Aesthetic Usability effect: If it looks pretty, we must be able to use it and if we can’t, it’s our fault.

3. Task selection bias: When we tell the user to perform a particular task, they believe, they should be able to do it. If they can’t, they blame themselves.

4. Concept of Taught helplessness: When user fails in accomplishing a single technological task, they now feel they will fail at anything related to technology. The user feels easier to resort to “I am bad at technology”. It definitely removes the uncertainty and stress faster, but it also stops them from connecting with your products.

If we want to make great digital products, we should not allow users to blame themselves. Designers can’t work in isolation. Creating beautiful, usable and intuitive interfaces is now a collaborative process with end users at its core.

See Also


user delight

Achieving User Delight


User Centered Design


Usability, UX and the User

Understanding Users

Understanding Users

user experience

What is User Experience?

lab tests

Lab Usability Test

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