Characteristics of a Bad Product Design

Bad Design

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Like any other aspect, product design can be done in an effective manner. If product design is done well it has the potential to be liked by many consumers and often used by them.
Ideally, every product has a design, though no design is perfect and every product possesses some flaws, making it a bad design. Below we have mentioned a few characteristics of bad product design.

The Design is Not Self-Explanatory

Bad Design


This could be the worst of all the possibilities that could go wrong with a design. It’s a sheer responsibility of designers to make design self-explanatory, customers should be able to easily determine a product and how to use it. A long manual with instructions can be handy but the product itself should be intuitive enough.


Designers must be aware to add only necessary features to avoid the product’s primary use and user-friendliness. If a product fails to be self introductory then it can do more harm than good to your business.

The Design is Distracting

Captivating design is essential to hold the interest of customers, whereas trying too hard to catch the user’s eye can result in distracting design. A good design is the one that pleasantly impacts the customer subconsciously and doesn’t call out for unnecessary attention. However, a bad design can teach you several important design lessons.


In this context, you may wish to explore this resource: Things you can learn from a bad product design


It’s important, customers while using your product must not get confused or feel naive, it would be beneficial if they find familiar elements they can relate to.

Vague Functionality


When users look at your product, they must not think about “ How to use it”, “what would happen if they click this button”, or “When they are going to use a specific feature”, if that happens, you should know your product has some vague functionality.


If users won’t understand what a feature is meant for and how to use it, it’s too vague. Reason could be users don’t expect it to be at that specific place or you might have used the wrong icon or word.

The Design is Forgettable

How often people use badly designed products, clearly not very often. There could be various reasons for a product having a bad design like poor aesthetics, mediocre performance, or anything. Numerous products fall in same category of the forgettable trap.


Instead of being appealing and useful they are so bland and leave no psychological effects on the users. Human Psychology plays an important role in product design, if it doesn’t leave any psychological effects it tends to be ignored by users.

Short-lived Design

Apart from its aesthetics and usefulness of design, the lifespan of design also determines if its a good design or bad. A bad design with faults can become obsolete in no time. A good design can make customers use the products for years without any complaint. Companies must follow the right product design strategies to make it easy and useful for customers.


No design is perfect and it is generally an evolved process to design a product perfectly. In order to make a good design market research, user testing, prototyping, ergonomics should be pursued. All the aspects, be it physical or psychological must be taken into consideration by the designer to design a product that is loved by consumers.

Bad Aesthetics

Bad Design


Bad aesthetics generally refers to the odd combination of colors, fonts, icons, images, layout, or shapes used in the designing process. When designers perform best aesthetics practices it results in a pleasant design. Color combination, images, layout, etc must be in accordance with your target audience and the business domain you are in.

Bad User Interface

Bad Design


A dream come true like User interface is the one that is simple and easy to understand by the users.  The characteristics of a good user interface include:

  • Proper navigation
  • Readable text
  • Responsive design
  • Simple layout
  • Optimized forms

User Interface of your product must be intuitive and must have common elements that are easy to understand and use.

Bad Workflow (User Experience)

Bad Design


Workflow or user experience is the most important aspect of good design. Designers must make it sure that users perform their task with ease and the process doesn’t include detours extra steps. User experience is responsible for the overall success of any product, ignoring this factor can affect your business. Users shouldn’t get stuck in any step, it’s imperative to have a workflow that’s smooth and as intuitive as possible.


Well, now you have a pretty clear idea about what a bad design might look or work like. Make sure not to make these mistakes while designing a product as it can frustrate the customers, eventually hurting your business. While a bad design can affect your business drastically, a good product design can please users and can help to convert them into a loyal customer.


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