Every now and then I come across UX related questions after seeing different UX strategy of different brands/companies.

So, is it ethical in UX StackExchange to directly put reference of them and start having discussion about whether that particular UX strategy is good or bad.

Ex. Putting points about XYZ company Pricing template and placement of terms and conditions and call to action etc.

The concern I am having is - if somehow the referenced UX gets bashed for bad UX then it might malign the reputation of the referenced company.

4 Answers 4


It's perfectly ethical to comment on the public design and / or behaviour of a company. If company XYZ has poor UX, then they should be called out on it, and it should hurt their reputation. In the same way that if restaurant ABC had terrible food, they should also be called out on it.

The only place that ethics would come into play would be if someone was giving dishonest feedback on company ABC for some ulterior motive - and I have yet to see anything like that on this site.

  • thanks @JohnGB for clearing the doubt.
    – exexzian
    Jun 23, 2015 at 9:16
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    Um, no. Comment on the pros and cons of UX features, sure, but going out of your way to "hurt their reputation" out of some sort of elitist spite is just puerile. I expected better. Jun 28, 2015 at 2:32
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Who said anything about spite? Would it be spiteful for StackOverflow to comment that say Oracle has worse performance than PostgreSQL? If they have (and I'm not saying they do) worse performance, shouldn't people know? If so, that is the essence of hurting their reputation.
    – JohnGB Mod
    Jun 28, 2015 at 5:52
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    @JohnGB: If it did so with a desire to hurt their reputation, yes. Let's spread facts, not fear. Jun 28, 2015 at 10:42
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit If you do a poor job for a client, and that client gives you a bad review, they are hurting your reputation. However, you deserve that to happen for doing a poor job. In the same way, if a company provides a poor service and you blog about it, or post on this site about it, their reputation may be hurt. Once again, it would be justified. If find the general attitude that nobody should ever hurt the reputation of a company by telling the truth quite disturbing. As long as it's the truth, it should be allowed. Period.
    – JohnGB Mod
    Jun 28, 2015 at 12:11
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    @John: I don't think you're understanding me. Oh well. Jun 29, 2015 at 8:29
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    @JohnGB: good UX / bad UX depends on the goal of the user: Tinder pretty much s.cks if you want to use it to order pizza - you have to right-swipe everyone, and chat with them asking for a pizza, hoping someone will send some; on the other hand, Domino Pizza's website is pretty lame for a dating app: if you happen to fall in love with the delivery girl, and you realize it just after the door closed (roommate had this), it's pretty hard to have the same delivery girl come back to give her number.(It took him 3 weeks of pizza-diet..)
    – Aadaam
    Jun 30, 2015 at 20:45

Here are a few cases where moderators would need to remove a post using company branding:

1. Advertising or promoting a brand without any specific UX question

  • What do you think of my new company logo?
  • Is this website I made good UX?

2. Bashing one brand while promoting your own

  • Moderators that visit the forum regularly can tell the difference between an honest UX question versus someone seeking revenge on a brand they hate or promoting their brand.

3. Overusing one brand when a generic example will do

  • I haven't seen this as an issue but I suspect that if someone started putting their company logo on every answer a moderator might ask them to stop.

This is a great question and a good reason why any online community of this size needs moderators to keep content clean, valid, ethical and honest. Thanks for asking!

  • You have put very valid points... And agree these points should be taken into consideration before posting question...
    – exexzian
    Jun 23, 2015 at 15:35

I don't think there's an ethical problem with using named companies as examples. As @JohnGB says - if they have bad UX or good UX then that fact should be shared.

I also agree with @DaveAlger regarding being vigilant for people taking advantage of the situation to promote themselves while bashing a competitor.

The problem that I see, when using a named company or branded example is that these example WILL change over time (for better or worse) and cannot, therefore be relied on as a reference for the point the contributor is trying to make. The only way to crystalise an example like that is to be clear about the issue and add illustrations... in which case you're talking about the issue and not the brand so why involve the brand?

Or I could just be completely wrong!

  • 1
    yeah totally agreed upon these example WILL change over time (for better or worse). and yup @DaveAlger and @JohnGB answers helped in understanding the reason well
    – exexzian
    Jun 30, 2015 at 10:20
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    This is why we suggest people include screenshots instead of just links to other sites. A screenshot will never change, but the website may.
    – JonW Mod
    Jun 30, 2015 at 10:22

Once upon a time, I made a post on here. It was about an interface that I used (and a lot of us use) and I thought wow this interface sucks! But then I thought wait, how would I do it better? Hey this interface is hard! I better ask some experts.

I got some good answers. Most of them echoed the same basic principle of adding extra clicks to save screen space and, most importantly, group logical thought. That was cool. But the coolest thing was when the author of that tool noticed the question and fixed the terrible prompt.

I'm author of WinSCP and I've found this "question" really inspiring. Thanks.

And two weeks later, he said,

WinSCP 5.2.1 beta with the improved overwrite confirmation prompt was released yesterday.

So if you ask me? Abso-freaking-lutely we can call out brand or companies as a reference. If they care about their brand, they will recognize "hey, we didn't do it perfect, and thanks for your feedback". If it never comes to their attention, no harm no foul. If they see it and decide they aren't going to fix it, hopefully they tell us why and enlighten us as to their UX decision making process (probably involving budgets and cost-benefit analyses...)

  • *that post truly inspired me and the quality answers that had are awesome... and answer from WinSCP author hahaha.. lucky he:):) and glad he took your ques very well and made better changes.
    – exexzian
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:48
  • In all honesty, it highlighted how powerful stack exchange can be!
    – corsiKa
    Jul 6, 2015 at 20:33

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