What is the best way to phrase a question which attempts to elicit reasons why a particular thing is well designed or poorly designed, from a UX perspective?

Is such a question within the remit of the Stack Exchange format?

Can we ask 'How is design X brilliant' or the reverse of course.

NB: I do not mean questions like 'What is wrong with / How can I improve my website link'

The reason I ask is because I think such questions could be extremely useful for building up the site as source of knowledge

  • Why do you think it would be 'extremely useful'? The only use I can think of for collecting this sort of thing is if it's a pattern library. And Stack Exchange isn't a pattern library, it's a Q&A site.
    – JonW Mod
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


You need to relate things to actual situations that you are in, not just idle curiosity or issues unrelated to your situation.

Take things back to the root of the issue. If we just answer a question that says 'Why did Acme design this widget to open when you wave at it?': The best you can hope to achieve is for someone who works at Acme to reply saying: 'well we did that because when we tested the likely users they associated waving with our widget because the widget itself has a wavey quality to it'. And that has no relationship to anything you're ever going to work on, nor anyone reading it either.

It's a common issue in UX - someone comes to you saying 'I want a widget that shimmers over here on the screen, it makes this movement and includes 4 different states' to which your response would be "OK that's fine, you've identified a solution to some problem - now what is the actual problem that solution is trying to solve?*".

Don't try to produce or understand Solutions without identifying the Problem itself.

The way to deal with these sort of curiosity questions isn't to ask why they produced that particular solution, the way to deal with it is to say 'I'm looking to find a way to address {this issue}. Acme have come up with a particular idea that might be useful, is that going to work for my situation, or is there a better way to solve it?'.

Stack Exchange sites need practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Idly hypothesizing about why X company did Y doesn't help anyone - At best it's trivial pub banter. Tell us the issue you need solving, provide some examples of places that you think might have solved it and then ask us if that's the best way to solve the issue, or if there are better alternatives based on your particular situation.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .