There are many questions (including one of my own) that fall into the category of "Why did X company do Y?" Should these questions be removed for not being constructive? Examples: iOS multitasking closing is poorly designed? Why does MS Outlook Express store data in a hidden folder? Why are nested elements scrolled to the opposite direction? What reason could Nintendo have had for putting the A and B buttons the wrong way round? What is the reason for Concave round buttons in Elevators What is the reason behind the + sign/icons with buttons? What is the reasoning behind grayscale icons?

That's just a few of a MASSIVE population of such questions.

I think what needs to be determined is: Is UX only a place for people to ask questions about prospective/existing designs, or does UX also foster discussion about famous/classical design implementations/commonalities.

1 Answer 1


The questions that remain open are ones that are both useful to other people (i.e. situations that could present themselves in future projects) and can be answered using expert UX knowledge and don't rely on explicit localised information from the one specific UI designer, as is the case for several of those questions.

Your question about the iOS closing of multitasking apps provides no useful information to anyone because its not a common situation, it's just an apple 'quirk'. Plus the question comes across as if it's something that annoys you, and not one that you're genuinely in need of knowing the answer to.

Personally I don't like the 'why do X do Y/' questions for these reasons; they're very rarely of use to anyone. However I don't act on my own opinions only; other people vote to close questions or flag them for closure (which doesn't get seen by anyone other than moderators) so its those actions I act on when voting to close questions.

  • I disagree with your thoughts about these posts, that "they're very rarely of use to anyone". I think they can provide a guidance into how to design things (in some cases - but of course not all). I find it, for example, interesting to know why Google uses different colors on their buttons - which I can use when I design software - ux.stackexchange.com/questions/33309/…. Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 15:55
  • @HenrikEkblom that Google question is still open though, so it's not one of the disputed closed questions. I would also suggest that you shouldn't be making decision based on what Google (or any other company) do, but instead you should determine what provides the best UX in general. Don't start out looking at Google and figuring out how to incorporate that, start out with the problem itself defined and then look to how to solve that problem. Google approach might be one of the potential solutions, but so might many others.
    – JonW Mod
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 16:17
  • Yes, I agree that we shouldn't blindly follow other companies design choices. Although - in the cases where their design is based on general interaction design principles and backed up by research and data, those design principles, research and data becomes the interesting part of the answer - not the very design implementation itself. Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 8:56
  • I came here to beg for their closure but then saw this upon searching. I strongly feel these questions should almost always be removed as they tend to: 1) Dilute the site with questions that could only be truly answered by the designers themselves. 2) It creates a rationale where there may have been none, giving credibility to bad UX by brandname association. 3) Encourages a community which puts more weight on vagaries of opinion rather than the paucity of sourced or researched facts these questions elicit.
    – Forthright
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 15:40

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