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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Why interaction design is important

So the false missile alert in Hawaii over the weekend is a perfect example of why design matters, at every level.

As Jason Kottke notes:

In Mailchimp… you are asked to manually type in the word “DELETE” as a confirmation for deleting a template (an action a tiny bit less consequential than sending out a ballistic missile launch alert).

That menu is a really dangerous bit of interface design and adding an “oopsie, we didn’t mean it button” doesn’t help. The employee made a mistake but it’s not his fault and he shouldn’t be fired for it. The interface is the problem and whoever caused that to happen — the designer, the software vendor, the heads of the agency, the lawmakers who haven’t made sufficient funds available for a proper design process to occur — should face the consequences. More importantly, the necessary changes should be made to fix the problem in a way that’s holistic, resilient, long-lasting, and helps operators make good decisions rather than encouraging mistakes.

A sleepy employee did not cause this alert. It happened because whomever paid for, designed, and approved this interface didn’t give design a moment’s thought. The creators of this system are complicit in its complete failure.