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Adventures in Crappy User Experiences and Interfaces

/ 4 min read

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This will be an ongoing series of little posts that highlight the never ending stream if just spectacularly bad UI/UX that is everywhere I go.

InfoWord Article


I wrote an article for InfoWorld called The decline of the user interface

Things are just getting worse.

The McDonalds App


I’m not a believer that McDonalds food is crappy. It’s really not much different than what you’d prepare for yourself. It’s perfectly healthy if you stay away from the fries. So I eat there fairly frequently. I use the McDonalds app because you earn free food pretty quickly, and they always have a deal that saves money.

The app itself, however, is…not that great.

Here are some thoughts on it.

  • The thing you have to figure out on your own is that “In the Restaurant” really means “At the kiosk”. If you sit down at a table and want table service, you have to create a mobile order. “In the restaurant” isn’t at all what you want, even though I am, well, “in the restaurant”. This is really bad design.
  • Everytime I order, it asks me to confirm what McDonalds location I am at three times. Once is fine — but three times is too much. Hell, two times is too much.
  • For strange reasons, whenever a “Deal” involves a breakfast sandwich, the Sausage Egg McMuffin isn’t available. No explanation.
  • The app sends me an email after every order. I do not want this, and there is no way to turn it off.
  • If I order McNuggets, the app will ask me what sauce I want. I don’t want sauces so I choose “No Sauce”. But to light up the “Next” button so I can continue, I actually have to select a quantity of two “No Sauces”. Uhm, what?
  • After I order a sandwich, I always order a large Diet Coke. But the app always offers an add-on of a large high fructose corn syrup Coke. Every time.

You’d think a major corporation like McDonalds could hire a UI/UX person. Happy to serve as a consultant, McDonalds!



The Spotify application is spectacularly bad. I mean, I love Spotify and what it does, but the app is just horrible. In general, the UI is utterly inconsistent, hard to figure out, and highly inscrutable.

I will highlight three things.

  1. It is UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE that Spotify will allow “shuffle” to happen on an Audio book. In fact, if any playlist is set to shuffle, then your audiobook will be played on shuffle. This is beyond mindboggling. It is literally one line of code to fix this.

  2. Their shuffle algorithm for music is HORRIBLE. 100% of the humans on the planet expect that hitting shuffle will play every song in the playlist without repeating any of them. But it doesn’t do that. It plays a subset of the playlist only, and leaves out many songs before repeating others.

  3. Here is something that should be pathetically easy: Seeing how much audiobook time you have and when that time renews in Spotify. This is, however, incredibly hard.

How about I select “Audiobooks” somewhere — a menu item perhaps? — and then that stuff is just showed right there in a very obvious way.

Of course there there is a support article out there to show how to find this hidden information:

“You have to go to a support article to find out where data is displayed” ought to scream out to a product manager “Display that data in a manner that no one ever has to ask how to see it”.

This is amazingly bad.



I find it hard to believe how unfriendly the Kindle software is.

For instance, I don’t want to see books I’ve read unless I go looking for them. I want to see all of the books on my Kindle that I haven’t read. This cannot be done, as far as I can tell.

I’m happy to go through and mark books a finished/read, and to do that I as finish/read them, but there isn’t a way to do that at all.

I find that very strange.