‘Bad Design’ is Sometimes the Best Design

Bobby Goodlatte

Snapchat consistently ranks highly in the App store. I also hear designers consistently ridicule it for being ugly and unpolished.

I believe Snapchat benefits from its lack of polish. The roughness of the interface encourages sharing rougher (and lewder) moments of life. Your 5-second kegstand video belongs on Snapchat. It doesn’t belong in a pixel-perfect ‘just so’ interface.

An interface frames its content and dictates what’s appropriate. Over-polished UI adds a degree of self-consciousness to sharing. Blurry photos of people riding mechanical bulls don’t belong in art museums. But they might belong on the wall of a dive bar.

Beautiful and ‘well designed’ are not synonymous. Too many app designers are tasked only with making beautiful veneers. They’re really decorators, not designers. Building a great product requires consistency—between goals, product mechanics, interface, and aesthetics.

Aesthetics should serve an overall goal. In Snapchat’s case their lack of aesthetics may be reducing the friction to share.

Thanks to Robyn Morris

    Bobby Goodlatte

    Written by

    Product Designer and Photographer. Formerly Design @Facebook, Comp Sci @DukeU. Follow me on Twitter @rsg

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