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Oversoaped in Los Angeles #wtfUX

by Josh Tyson
1 min read
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A confusing real-life interface at Los Angeles International Airport leaves an interaction designer with too much soap on his hands.

Bad design decisions don’t just effect our experiences with digital products. There are plenty of poorly conceived products in the world of flesh and blood and brick and mortar waiting to derail your flow.

A sink in the men’s restroom at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently reminded Kane Albarron of this. The Interaction Design Lead at Fjord in New York City got more soap than he anticipated thanks to a confusing real-life interface.

“At first glance, it appears as if you have two options for dispensing water: by sensor or by push button, as indicated on the labels,” Albarron says. “What is actually happening here is that the push dispenses soap, and the sensor dispenses water. To further complicate things, soap pumps are also available above the sink.

LAX bathroom wtfUX

“I thought this was interesting, seeing as how someone actually spent time and money making little plaques that indicate the action instead of the contents. It was a real WTF moment for me when I went to rinse off my soap with more soap.”


Keep these coming. Send them to us via Twitter or Facebook using the hastag #wtfUX or email them to: [email protected] with “#wtfUX” in the subject line. Include as much context as you can, so we get a full understanding of what the f%*k went wrong.

post authorJosh Tyson

Josh Tyson, Josh Tyson is the co-author of the first bestselling book about conversational AI, Age of Invisible Machines. He is also the Director of Creative Content at OneReach.ai and co-host of both the Invisible Machines and N9K podcasts. His writing has appeared in numerous publications over the years, including Chicago Reader, Fast Company, FLAUNT, The New York Times, Observer, SLAP, Stop Smiling, Thrasher, and Westword. 


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