Dedicated to George Carlin’s routine titling and specifically “Free-floating hostility”.

It’s another day in the pixel mines and more things have annoyed me. Since that counts as actually writing and not hiding from my blogging duties, you get to enjoy some free-floating hostility.

Error messages with mixed messages

Let’s start with this beautiful example of a totally useless error message. The scenario: you have one item on auto-reorder. You view your auto-reorder, click the trash can to remove that one item, and down in the bottom right corner you see:

an error message reading "unprocessable entity" on a pink background with a blue checkmark next to it. “Unprocessable Entity”. Is this good? Is this bad? It has a checkmark next to it so it seems to be successful, but it’s on a pink background so that seems to be unsuccessful.

It certainly didn’t help me figure out what I actually needed to do. Instead of deleting the item in the auto-reorder to delete the auto-reorder, I had to delete the auto-reorder itself which automatically deleted all the items.

Go figure.

Say that again?

Advertisement. We see a woman's torso from just under the breasts to just above the knees. She's wearing sheer lavender biker short style underwear that is so stretchy she can stretch it multiple inches away from her waist in both directions. Captioned its like slipping on butter - a quote from Bobbie Thomas. Followed by the logo for the today show.Ah, English. The last time I slipped on butter was during a particularly stressful Thanksgiving and I got a “told you to wear shoes in the kitchen” from my father for my efforts.

People don’t wear butter — generally — your kink is not my kink and that’s ok — so it’s not a thing a woman would say she’s going to slip on. I’ll slip on a jacket, I’ll slip on something more comfortable if the mood is right, but if I slip on butter I’m going to hit the floor. That’s just how it works.

Ever spot a design and immediately know what the original problem was?

Page title: mouse electronic traps. Below the tabbed navigation we see two unchecked checkbox filters for electronic traps and trap refills, resulting in a total of 6 items. To filter, one must click a checkbox and then the HUGE BLACK BUTTON WITH A RED BORDER THAT YELLS APPLY.

I’m willing to bet that people struggled to figure out how to apply the filters on this page.  Dunno why, maybe it’s just the giant black and red APPLY button in the middle of the screen, screaming its head off. Just a hunch.

Unseen in the image, the page also featured sort controls. The default sort was “position”. I did not inquire further.


a dialog box. Google. This page can't load google maps correctly. Do you own this website? button labeled OK.Y’all already know I hate black links with no underline with a passion but this dialog box takes it to a hilarious result. Do you own this website? it asks. The only answer you can provide is OK. It’s like a really badly written open world RPG out here.

What happens if I pick two?

Screenshot of DoorDash options for a food. spice level choice - required - select at least one. options are not spicy, mild, medium spice, spicy, extra spicy, and super spicy.

Look, any time that I see checkboxes that actually do allow you to check multiple items I thank the universe that someone understands the difference between checkboxes and radio buttons. This is especially true on a DoorDash menu because I don’t expect the people making my food to be web experts just like (I hope) they don’t expect me to be able to cook.

But there is a time and place for radio buttons and I think choosing a spice level for my noodles is one of them. What happens if I choose Not Spicy and Extra Spicy? Do I get Medium Spice? And how long did the writer struggle over whether to call it Medium Spicy, Medium, or Medium Spice?

And finally…

This is a man who is vacuuming a rug that is on fire, and if you hang around long enough to see the whole thing you’ll discover he does actually make progress.

Man in business casual clothes and a jacket vacuums a green outdoor rug which is very on fire. over the course of the gif the flames mostly extinguish. then it loops. Welcome to web design, sir. You only get a hotel cube these days because we’re hybrid but at least you get free lunches when you come in.

Two points make a line

As I was watching the tow truck driver prep the flat bed to pick up my car today (it has been A Month), I thought to myself, “self, based on all the factories and such that I saw on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and Sesame Street and all, I really thought there’d be more levers activating hydraulics involved in my adult life.”

We all need more levers that go PSSSSSSSSHT BAM in our lives.

What we need less of are bad search results. I mean seriously, it’s been over a decade since John Ferrara wrote Strategies for Improving Enterprise Search, Search Behavior Patterns, and Applying Turing’s Ideas to Search for Boxes and Arrows,  and Testing Search for Relevancy and Precision for A List Apart.

And yet, when I search for “packing peanuts” on local retailer sites I get shit like this:

screenshot of the ace hardware search results showing that a search for packing peanuts results in bird seed, candy bars, peanuts, and similar unrelated topics.

Screenshot of dollar general search for packing peanuts resulting in peanuts, candy, crunch n munch and other types of food useless for packing.

I wouldn’t be so pissed except these are places that Google had assured me sold packing peanuts. So compounded fail on this one.

Look, I know information architecture isn’t popular anymore and everyone’s going to replace us IAs with LLMs but seriously, you do your customers a serious disservice if you aren’t at least checking if your search results are shit.

Anyway, it’s back to the accessibility requirements mines for me in less than 12 hours, so off to do something useful, like sleep. At least in my dreams shit is shorted correctly.

Getting back on the horse

Today’s pet peeve: when you walk into the bathroom and go to turn on the light but it’s on the other side of the door. Electricians! We always turn toward the toilet if we know where it is because that’s where we’re going. Put the light switch on the same side of the door as the toilet is!

Today’s web pet peeve: a site that has infinite scroll AND a footer. How the hell am I supposed to get to that footer when it’s constantly being pushed away from me?

Bonus pet peeve: when you’re a news website and you don’t tell us what state (or for that matter, country) your news is based out of. There are a heck of a lot of Springfields out there.

Today’s fun discovery: this youtube video of the iPhone default alarm as a piano ballad.

(note: there’s nothing but music so there are no captions.)

Let’s try this again in a week, huh?