What User Interface Fails Annoy You The Most?

What User Interface Fails Annoy You The Most?
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I spend a lot of time using various computers as well as an iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch. Given the modern computer interface has been in development for over 30 years you’d think developers and designers would be pretty good at avoiding useless screens and poorly designed controls. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’m going to mention a couple that I keep bumping into but I’d love to hear from you about your user interface fails.

Bad controls

The first one I have is with the Facebook app. If you open a link to a webpage, there’s a button at the top left of the screen that returns you to the main Facebook feed. But, if you’ve clicked a link in the article, a “Back” button is activated adjacent to the exit button.

What User Interface Fails Annoy You The Most?

Trouble is, the two buttons look very alike and it’s easy to press the exit button when all you meant to do was go back a page.

Usless screens

One of the core features on the Apple Watch is activity tracking. Rather than the usual step tracking we see with most trackers, Apple focuses on three measures; active calories, active time and standing time. Each is represented by a ring.

When you open the Activity page to look at your progress, there’s an option to swipe to a second page. But that page is useless. All it does is display a message telling you that if you want to start an activity that you need to launch the activity app.

What User Interface Fails Annoy You The Most?

How hard would it be for Apple to make that page functional? They could even open it to developers to add their own exercise apps. Or, just get rid of the page as it does nothing of value.

Only a little responsive

It’s 2018 people and it’s been about three years since mobile browsers became more widely used than desktops. While many websites have been redeveloped so that they work on almost any-sized display there are some exceptions – notably government agencies who can get away with being laggards as they aren’t in competitive environments.

But my real frustration comes from sites that are responsive but a few pages remain static and don’t scale correctly on my mobile devices. That suggests a lack of testing of all pages or some sort of coding issue where the right stylesheet isn’t being applied.

What are some of your pet interface hates. Is there an app you use that has an annoying quirk? Vent away in the comments.


  • The web interfaces for most routers and NAS boxes. Functional yes, but little effort to be intuitive or navigable.

    And the perennial failure by Android apps to take advantage of screen real-estate on tablets. Worst offenders are usually Google’s apps.

  • Apps or web-pages that don’t allow you to resize images by touch.

    Also Lifehacker articles that invite feedback and don’t enable comments (a few of those today).

  • “…and that’s it! Close!”
    “Not a problem – I’ll just run in the background”
    “No, I don’t want you any more. Close.”
    “Not even minimised! Just in the background. You won’t even notice the resources I’m using while I’m sending gods-know-what data over the internet.”
    “You’re still slowing things down and I don’t need any data sent. CLOSE!”
    “In the background already, chief! And I’ve just set myself to autostart as soon as you boot!”
    “Again – already in the background! Oops – now I’m getting data _in_ from the internet for no adequately explained reason. Don’t worry about it!”
    “You accidentally tried to force-quit me. Don’t worry – I’ve taken away your permissions to do something like that on your own computer!”

  • When you open the Activity page to look at your progress, there’s an option to swipe to a second page. But that page is useless.

    No it isn’t. It shows activity information for Apple Watch-owning friends who you’re sharing activity data with. It only shows the message you’re seeing if you’re not sharing with any friends.

    (Whether sharing your activity circle data with friends is a useful feature is a separate discussion … but if it’s making you sad, add me and we can feel good/bad about beating each other to exercise goals!)

  • Any search interface (ios or windows) where they bring up options as you type, you see what you want, and go to click/touch it but in between the search options changed and now you click something you don’t want. Annoying++

    • More generally, any dynamically-generated list/tree interface which moves the visible portion, instead of scrolling to keep that portion centred.

      For example, when I’m copying/moving files from the right pane of Windows Explorer by dragging and dropping onto a tree node in the left pane, Explorer may be locating other places that shuffle the nodes I can see down…just as I’m dropping my files.

  • Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac. So, you build an app to allow you to connect to Windows machines from a Mac, but then cannot make it smart enough to map at least Cut / Copy / Paste from the Mac combination.

  • Google Calendar. I enter my work shifts and want a repeating event every day for five days. I can’t change the default (30 days) or the “repeat weekly”, and that’s after I’ve had to select “special” for the repeat in the first place.
    Google is so good at learning preferences in other areas, this hard-wired form (which was less annoying before an “upgrade”) is a weekly annoyance.

  • Youtube app. [As provided on my ASUS NAS media center]

    You can have a 4K resolution TV, but the app insists on having less previews than available on a 1920 HD screen. “Everything is bigger so you can operate from a distance” is the claim.
    Then, like War Consigliere, you try to close the app – and you can’t. That little X in the top right corner of the screen has vanished. Someone has decided that a fundamental function (turning off) is the one function you can’t do with a mouse click. You have to attach a keyboard to your media player, purely to shut down the Youtube app.

  • Any app that has icons that move when you mouse over them. You move your mouse to an icon to click on it, but then it moves and so you end up clicking on the icon next to it! Overwatch, I’m looking at you >.>
    Also, the old OSX dock. Thankfully they’ve fixed it now, but I can’t believe people actually used that POS back in the day.

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