I'm researching a solution for a UX design issue that has plagued me for a while: when an experience closely mirrors the underlying API/database structure/etc. rather than aligning with what the user is actually trying to accomplish.

Git is one example I've seen cited, with the user expected to multiple atomic commands to accomplish what is normally one logical operation in the development workflow.

I often fall into a trap where I might have a database structure with three major tables and inevitably I end up with a UI that has three major screens- and this may not represent the best way for a user to interact with the system. If this anti-pattern has a name I can more easily research it but would also appreciate any pointers to research or strategies on how to overcome this on my next project.

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure there's a common name for this pattern. Some ideas I have for names for this pattern are:

  • CRUD
  • Entity CRUD
  • Individual Entity CRUD
  • Result-Based Design

The idea behind the CRUD names are that the interface is designed to create/read/update/delete each individual entity.

I'm not sure it's an anti-pattern as much as it's a very simple pattern. It makes me think of hastily-assembled MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) where designers are focused more on what is being created than focusing on the experience of creating the things. This is why I like the term "Result-Based Design" the best so far.

Result-Based Design is when a system is designed with the result of the actions in mind and not necessarily with the experience of creating the results in mind.


I don't necessarily see this as an anti-pattern because there are many cases where you want the user interaction and interface to reflect the underlying datastructure.

In fact, one of the goals that UX designers often strive for is to make the internal and external representation of the information similar so that there is a consistent view of the information and content between users and internal staff. Of course, there are many instances where this does not provide the best user experience or where there are technical limitations preventing the underlying infrastructure or business process to be designed in a way that approximates the user's mental model.

One example I can give you is the design of developer portals where the content provided should be suited to a technical audience rather than simplified or redesigned in a way that doesn't mirror the underlying structure. There are other examples as well so the important thing is to do your research upfront and figure out what the actual problems that need to be solved.


This is not an answer to usage as it's only based on personal experience, not corroborated data. I'm a graphic designer. Many years ago an anti-design style emerged, with Google leading the way. This does not mean that Google and all its applications are not designed, but they are (or they were) in favor of "not being noticed". In an attempt by them to distance themselves from aesthetics over functionality, or, functionality prevailing over aesthetics. In interactivity, exactly the same thing happens but in reverse, although there are two possibilities.

First, the idea is to show as many commands as possible to make the user, by understanding two or three of them, feel like a professional on the subject. Something that, as you say, can be summed up in a button, it has four icons, a contextual menu, three alerts, and one warning. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing more than making the user believe that they are experts. I had the opportunity to work in a software development company making icons and interfaces, and the premise was: "make it simple but complicated" so that the most useless person feels they are gifted. Personally, I almost constantly see people who talk about what they are capable of doing with their computer, smartphone, smart tv, Apple Watch, Netflix, or even with their digital toilet without hardly understanding what its purpose is or what they are really doing. C - O - N - S - T - A - N - T - L - Y.

But, contrary to what I am saying, not all users are the same or have the same possibilities for interaction. Years ago I was a teacher in a two-month QuarkXPress course. An extremely difficult layout and text editing application for those who are not used to working with it, with different keyboard shortcuts, submenus, and commands. I had always seen it as a redundant application, with repeated, hidden, and tremendously absurd options. Until I had to give this course to which I refer. Suddenly everything made sense. The course was in a rehabilitation center for paraplegics, most of them due to traffic accidents. They used a spinning ball as a mouse. In fact, they used all the options that seemed redundant to me in the application, which, accustomed to a couple of keyboard shortcuts, I had to relearn them with their real name, meaning, location and action. Since then every time I visualize redundancy in an interface, I analyze it with two or three different eyes.

Well, my answer: – when an experience closely mirrors the underlying API/database structure/etc. rather than aligning with what the user is actually trying to accomplish –, think about all kinds of users.

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