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: 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.

Article No. 1 428 | April 21, 2015
Article No. 1 364 | December 23, 2014
Article No. 1 426 | April 15, 2015


did not understand how did he ended up taking soap twice?

he would have most probably pushed the right button first to get first set of soap and now when he needed water, why would he again go to same tap? Or is it that even the tap with sensor dispensed soap?

He mentions there are soap dispensers above the sink, so he might have used that first, and then pushed the option on the right, which dispensed a second serving of soap. It would have been useful for them to include a shot of the entire scene, with a zoomed-in shot of the labels inset to the picture.