Title: Looks Can Kill: The Deadly Results of Flawed Design
Context: Sometimes the end-user impact of a poor design is a lot higher than “I don’t like how this works.”
Synopsis: No designer sets out to intentionally kill his or her end-user. Well, maybe the folks who design land mines and nuclear weapons do, but for the vast majority of designers, death is not the intended user experience they hope to deliver. But it still happens. How? Great question. Too bad there’s no simple answer. You could simply categorize it under some vague heading such as “design negligence” but that doesn’t really explain anything, certainly not death. It is more likely the outcome of a design process that wholly ignores the end-user as the key stakeholder for the final product experience. Driving design from a place of conceit (“Of course I know what’s best for the user!”) or pure aesthetics (“That looks god enough to eat!”) is a lot easier than worrying about details like user expectation, cognitive bias, ergonomics, or even designing purposefully explicit experiences that sacrifice beauty for clarity, or even more tediously, safety. Protecting users from accidental loss of life may not be the sexiest design requirement, but it certainly beats the alternative.
Best Bit: “I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to make a concoction of toxic chemicals look like a refreshingly delicious beverage, but they do exist.”

via propublica.org