The vast majority of poor design out there is attributable to incompetence, or at least to laziness and impatience (not the virtuous kind).

But there are whole classes of problems where people are intentionally honing anti-human design.

Las Vegas casinos create floor plans that are unintuitive, poorly marked, and covered in garish carpets that make magic-eye drawings look like a Kazimir Malevich masterwork. This is all to ensure that visitors have as hard a time as possible escaping from the allure of slot machines and blackjack tables.

In the technology world, the design of parked domains is specifically there to try to confuse users into thinking they’ve landed somewhere useful. Spam and Phishing sites employ techniques like pop-unders windows, extraneous warning and error messages, and confusing URLs to mislead and exploit users reliant on the common paradigms of the web.

If you are a professional engaged in anti-human design, I’m sure you’ve spent more time soul-searching than you care to admit.

For the rest of you, if you find yourself feeling confused and disoriented in the real world, or online, consider that maybe the problem isn’t with you, but with the designers who have intentionally crafted a world to deceive you. When in doubt, turn back. I’ve never found a required or particularly valuable path through life that has an anti-human required stops on it.