The Designers Are to Blame

  • A $2.8 billion Indian nuclear submarine was flooded and took ten months to repair after a sailor forgot to close a hatch, Indian media reports.
  • At a nuclear plant In Sweden a few years ago, a cleaner left a vacuum cleaner in a reactor area. It ignited during a reactor pressure test, causing disruptions estimated at $220 million.
    Who is to blame: The sailor? The cleaner?
    In this day and age we (should) know better than to blame humans for being human. As we say in our organization, it is human to forget. Design of products, interfaces, factories, armaments, packages, etc. obviously need to take this into account, not least when it comes to things that cost billions of dollars.
    Generally speaking, the trend is positive. UX-specialists and industrial designers are increasingly working to adapt machines to humans rather than adapting humans to machines. We, the Distracted, of course want to encourage this development. So, we have started issuing Certificates of Appreciation to organizations and individuals that focus on distracted-friendly design. There is no ranking or comparative evaluation. If we spot a worthy recipient, we can send them a certificate. We are happy to receive suggestions.
    They got a Certificate of Appreciation
    In January 2018, Semcon ( was awarded a certificate for developing Life Sticker, a radar system that fits in the side mirror of a car and alerts the driver when a cyclist is approaching. Many serious accidents occur when drivers forget to look out before opening their doors and this is a great way to keep cyclists safe without punishing drivers for being human, i.e. distracted. Hurray Semcon!

    Car door opens as bicycle approaches

    The radar sounds an alert when a bicycle is approacting.

    NB:  Link to international report on submarine.