The best (well, maybe worst) 5 usability failures ever

Last Modified: Feb 26th, 2021 - Category: UX
The best (well, maybe worst) 5 usability failures ever

This is a subjective (and somehow funny) top 5 list of the worst and most embarrassing usability failures

The list does not include small businesses or manufacturers, only failures that caused millions of dollars of losses. We hope you find comfort if something goes wrong after reading this…

1) Samsung Note 7: Usability on Fire

Galaxy 7 : Usability is burning down the house

Leading company, cutting edge technology, a history of good decisions … what can fail? Well, for starters, let Apple demand us. And while we’re on that, that the newly launched phone turns on fire after 2 years of development. The company had to withdraw all the devices from the market and announced losses of 3,100 million dollars in… 6 months! Usability on fire!

2) Segway: We’re going down, Mr. President

An usability and UX department nightmare: President Bush falling from his Segway

Another case of claimed success despite previous criticism. With a great marketing and support campaign from the US government, the Segway promised to become the mobility revolution. Although its price of 5000 dollars was frankly discouraging, the expectation created was immense, which motivated investors to support the company with large amounts of money. Of course, the marketing campaign may wobble when the president of the United States goes to the ground using the product promoted as “totally safe.”

The bad press and the exorbitant price marked the end of the supposed revolution: far from the target of 100,000 annual units, only 30,000 were sold in a period of 7 years.

3) Microsoft KIN: “Usability is not our main concern”

Microsoft Kin Failure

A crazy idea: a smartphone that was intended to be used on social networks.  It did not support apps or games, it was slow and unstable and basically consisted of a device for chatting…. at a price similar to high-end smartphones. The madness was short, lasted only 48 days and withdrew from the market.

4) Google X: they were feeling a tad too lucky!

Although it probably did not generate large losses, this kind of User Experience nightmare has the title of the shortest ever lived for a mega-company and therefore deserves a seat of honour.

Short lived Google X in all its (one day) glory

In an attempt to copycat Apple (see the tribute at the bottom of the page), Google added icons and an information architecture to its search page that did not have the slightest logic. Usability concerns aside, it was a real UI mess as well!

24 hours after its launch, Google X no longer existed. RIP.

5) Macintosh TV: I admit it, I wanted one!

MacIntosh TV: it had usability and beauty but a bit pricey

In 1993, Macintosh launched its first TV attempt, the Macintosh TV. It had a price today equivalent to $3,000 and was trying to be a hybrid between a TV and a computer, not being one thing or the other. 4 months after its launch, in February 1994 it was discontinued and today it is sold as a collection piece.

Disclaimer: This content was translated to English from the original we wrote in Spanish, available in UXpañol

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