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User Inyerface is a maddening tour of the worst web design mistakes

A broken website that broke me

Inyerface logo Image: Bagaar via Polygon

Great user interface design is invisible. But when bad designs pop up, it can complicate an otherwise simple process.

User Inyerface, a short web game created by Bagaar, is an example of what happens when every frustrating element of user interface design is jammed together. Buttons that should be clickable aren’t, drop-down menus are sorted incorrectly, and there’s even a devilish pop-up window that can shut down the entire site if you read its instructions wrong.

The result is maddening, and as someone who spends almost all of his days on the internet, it’s also brutally funny to me.

a screenshot of a website saying ‘Hi and welcome to User Inyerface, a challenging exploration of user interactions and design patterns. To play the game, simply fill in the form as fast and accurate as possible.’
I hate this already.

Just starting the game takes a few moments, because User Inyerface takes all the design patterns I’m used to and manipulates them to mess with me. Even the simple act of clicking a link to start the game is an exercise in frustration.

The only object I can interact with on the starting screen is a massive button that says, “NO.” Unsurprisingly, clicking it does nothing. The line under it is filled with a host of clever misdirections that would make any web designer cringe. How do I actually get to the next page? The actual answer, clicking on “HERE,” made me laugh with bitter frustration.

It only gets worse.

Pictures of several items that can be called “bows”
Bows, bows, bows.

After successfully passing the first screen, I’m met with more terrible interface design. Each new page I reach highlights something that can be confusing if not designed well enough. A great escalation of this concept is the game’s several CAPTCHAs I need to fill out.

The purpose of the CAPTCHA image recognition test is to confirm if a user is an actual human. Most of these tests involve identifying a specific type of object in several images. User Inyerface perverts this challenge by demonstrating how one simple word can complicate the whole function of the test. In my first CAPTCHA, I have to choose images with “bows” in them. But since English uses that word for several things — such as the type of tie one might wear, a weapon an archer uses, or a formal way of greeting someone — figuring out which images to choose turns into a nightmare.

While User Inyerface is just a simple marketing tool for a design agency, it doesn’t take away from how hilarious and effective it is. We rarely get to see how much effort goes into making every online interaction as smooth as possible. Clever designers use a host of patterns to encourage us to move through their websites and apps with ease. When done well, it’s totally seamless. But, as User Inyerface proves, one bump unravels the whole system.

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