Tag Archives: Poor Design

Poor Design

Sliding Standards

I won’t say that “back in my day”, it was simply expected that you graduate from high school, but one got the sense that in generations prior, that’s how it was.  You were supposed to graduate from high school.

Now every school in my area takes out a full-page ad (some take out several pages of ads) trumpeting the unbelievable accomplishment of our high school students graduating from high school.

In fact, if you stripped all the words and context away, these ads almost look like photos of people who just won the lottery!

600 graduates

100 percent passing rate

I strongly disagree with this approach.  I refuse to participate in this cult of the high-school-graduation hysteria.  It looks and feels like sliding standards.  I’m skeptical that the world’s highest-performing countries do this.

And sadly, it will be hard for individual schools to stop doing this, as long as all the other schools continue doing it.  This form of peer pressure will tend to ensure this embarrassing trend continues going strong.

One wonders what’s next.  All-out celebrations for junior high graduates?  Custom theme music getting blared out for students each time they successfully go to the restroom?

To tell you the truth, I feel like the students here are pawns, at least partially, in an academia-led scheme to cult-ify high school graduation.  Very similar to how we used to always hear the mind-boggling sage wisdom about how 18-year-old basketball phenoms should play four years of college basketball.  While making $0 and risking a career-ending, millions-losing injury!  With the only upside being that they get a college education… that they could have actually received later after they secured hundreds of millions of dollars (with tens of those millions being guaranteed in their initial contract, before they even stepped foot on the court).

Poor Design

Petty Million Dollar Lawsuits

Right now there’s a nasty defect in ebay’s system.  When you look at an item’s listing, you are shown the item’s price and how much it will cost to ship.  If you agree to buy the item, ebay policy says you are then obligated to pay for it.

That’s where the problem arises.

You see, when you’re set to pay for it, the price goes up!  Yes, that’s right:

1.) You agree to buy the item at a certain price.

2.) ebay policy says you are now obligated to pay for the item.

3.) Woops, the price goes up!  Sorry, but please enter your credit card number!

Item A: The listing price.
Item A: The listing price.

Item A: The price after you agree to buy.
Item A: The price after you agree to buy.

In my estimation, based on various heuristics, this looks like a slam dunk for any law firm.   In this case, if a law firm filed a class action lawsuit against ebay, it would literally be the same thing as ebay writing that law firm a check for seven or eight figures.  ebay’s clearly guilty, they might be looking to cover this up as we speak, and they’ll surely want to settle the lawsuit.  The number of affected customers is probably high.  And most probably don’t even realize they’ve been overcharged, or, depending on your point of view, been a victim of a breach of contract.

The few times I’ve noticed it, this defect is not a result of the user choosing a different shipping option.  It sometimes exists when there is just one shipping option.  It can be for a few cents, or as much as $10.

Item B: The listing price.
Item B: The listing price.

Item B: The price after you agree to buy.
Item B: The price after you agree to buy.

Poor Design

Wrong Number

Julianne Moore on the verge of death from unknown toxins.  A still from Safe, a movie by Todd Haynes which was described by many critics as
Julianne Moore on the verge of death from unknown toxins.  A still from Safe, a movie by Todd Haynes which was described by many critics as “The Best Film of the Decade”.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=63NPIiCl3zo

Like something out of a dystopian alternate reality, dialing one digit incorrectly as you lie poisoned on the floor desperately trying to call the national poison hotline… will promptly connect you to elite professionals who actually cater to fantasies involving you poisoning yourself.

Well, that in itself would probably be poor design, and on many, many levels at that, but we live in the free world, thankfully, and so we’re going to focus on a very narrow aspect of this find.  To explain, let’s first observe that the number for the national poison hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

Page 286 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 286 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Now, before we reveal who owns 1-800-222-2222, it might be good to recap some previous action.  I have been reading a book titled First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced.  And recently I started Chapter 18.  It’s all about poisoning.  Page 289 really gets into it:

Page 289 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 289 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Now for the big reveal.  After Googling 1-800-222-2222, I found out that that number actually belongs to Caesar’s Entertainment, of Las Vegas fame.  Practically the very first thing I saw on their website?

www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences/#/2
www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences/#/2

OK, it may be poetic or humorous in a dark sense, but again the point of poor design lies somewhere else; truly, Caesar’s is free to run their business however they like, and we are free to slowly (or quickly) kill ourselves with alcohol.  What’s definitely poor design is this: Why didn’t the U.S. government just buy out and/or commandeer that number from Caesar’s?  I have no idea how that’s done or what the official term for it even is, but the government commandeers a lot of stuff; they take stuff like land and pay the owner fair value for it.  Plus, phone numbers are almost like a public utility.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the government already had a certain degree of control over them.

And so, who is going to remember that number for national poison hotline, as opposed to 1-800-222-2222?  Although the phone numbers differ by only one digit, the all-2s number is a million times easier to remember.  Having things that are easy to remember is important.  Having them be easy to remember for emergency situations is absolutely critical.

Well then, the clear runner-up image from the Caesar’s website:

www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences/#/4 A woman has been "kissed" by either the sun's, or a tanning bed's, extremely toxic and eventually lethal UV rays.   (A staggering 1 in 5 Americans will eventually contract skin cancer.   www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/myths-vs-facts)
www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences/#/4  A woman has been “kissed” by either the sun’s, or a tanning bed’s, extremely toxic and eventually lethal UV rays.  (A staggering 1 in 5 Americans will eventually contract skin cancer.  www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts/myths-vs-facts)

Page 150 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.
Page 150 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

Maybe what’s even more humorous, if you think about it, is how Las Vegas locals are given special discounts for all this stuff.

www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences
www.totalexperiences.com/TotalExperiences

Poor Design

Competing Classification Systems

I’ve been reading First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced.  Overall, the book has been pretty clear, but there have been a few exceptions. Page 95 (below) is one of them.

Page 95 of First Aid, CPR and AED Advanced, Sixth Edition.

This page messes with my mind.  To me, it’s just like that mildly annoying color-related brain teaser that tries to trick your brain – which apparently is well documented and called the Stroop Effect.

In this flowchart, when the designer(s) decided which of the two choices (‘Yes’ or ‘No’) should be green and which should be red, they adopted the very common classification system where ‘Yes’ is green and ‘No’ is red.  However, they overlooked the context of the diagram, and specifically, what ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ indicate.

In this diagram ‘Yes’ means the victim has a head injury or has significant breathing problems.  My mind wants that to be colored red because it conveys a huge negative.  This classification system ought to trump the more basic one.  It’s more aligned with how my mind works.  Maybe if you’re a real Yes/No-oriented person, you see it the other way.

http://www.archimedes-lab.org/Stroop_test.html
http://www.archimedes-lab.org/Stroop_test.html

Poor Design

World’s Most Dubious Security Measures @ PayPal

Surely there are businesses with security practices even more dubious than those at PayPal, but relative to a company’s size and capital, I’m not sure any come close when it comes to passwords.

Just do a search for paypal 20 character password.

world most dubious security measures

Now, if you’re thinking that you’ll just enable 2-step authentication to mitigate this risk, think again.  Look at how PayPal almost appears to be working against you!

world most dubious security measures II