Let’s Talk About Bad Design

 by Shalin Jain  on   04 Jun 2012

Bad design is all around us. We interact with bad design everyday. Be it software, hardware or even glassware, there are more bad designs in the market than good ones. It doesn’t take much expertise for a designer to spot bad design, all it takes is some common sense.

Yesterday, I was on a Jet Airways flight from Chennai to Delhi and to my delight I was upgraded to business class. One of the perks of travelling business class besides a spacious seat is food. The food tastes better, it’s presented nicely and they are served in good looking crockery.

The guy sitting next to me worked for a company that deals with ISO and BSI standards. His job is to help companies achieve those standards. We got into smalltalk sharing info about what each of us do. Few minutes later, we were served our food and he pointed to me how bad the glassware design was. He said, “This glass could so easily slip out of anyone’s hands”.

The glass was fat and wide at the base and was really narrow towards the top. He added, “It should have been the other way around”. I felt the same way too, but at the same time thought he probably is right only on theory. So, I just nodded my head in agreement.

Twenty minutes later, a stewardess carried the glasses back to the cabin. They usually carry a tray to clear the cutlery, but not this time around. She wouldn’t have crossed even a row and the glass slipped from her hands. It made a loud thud in the otherwise quiet cabin. The passenger seated in front of me was an ex-chief minister and he woke up from his nap hearing the noise.

The stewardess was flustered and apologized profusely. The co-passenger and myself just looked at each other. Now, let’s talk about bad design.



  1. Well, I’ll probably be one of many to point this out – but wide in the bottom means lower center of gravity and hence better stability in turbulent flight conditions…

  2. No design is perfect. We can only aim for excellency. And this excellency can only be tested practically.

    Rajesh MG
    Senior Anayst
    .Net Technology.
    Working for Sword Global India

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