If a busy road narrows at an intersection, the traffic pile up exposes this flaw. It irks us when we see a fork next to the olives in a buffer, rather than a ladle. If a transparent door has “pull” written on one side, and “push” written on the other, it is a careless drain of cognitive ability.
Good design, on the other hand, is invisible. When we’ve used an app a couple of times to call a cab at 4 AM within 5 minutes, we assume that this would happen again and again.
It is human tendency to notice what sticks out and ignore whatever does not. But there is a great deal of work involved in designing something well. There is a lot to be thankful for.
What if we celebrated experiences without rough edges? When our train arrives on time, when our driving license is renewed in 10 minutes or when the supermarket stocks every item on our list, fresh and delicious.
Once we know about the asymmetry of our attention to bad design – to things that stick out, we can make conscious corrections.