The Hawaiian Missile Alert Fiasco: How One Confusing Interface Caused Mass Hysteria

8 min read
Headshot of Dean Schuster
Written By Dean Schuster
A computer screen with an alert on the screen that has two notifications. The uppermost notification reads, "Missile attack imminent." The notification below that one reads, "Missile attack imminent (drill)," with the word drill in smaller font.
Summary: How much does your user interface REALLY matter? Ask the Hawaiians who, for 38 terrifying minutes, thought they were under threat of nuclear annihilation.

Written By Dean Schuster

Headshot of Dean Schuster

Founder and Owner of truematter

Dean Schuster has been creating human-centered digital products since the beginning of the commercial web. He speaks and teaches user experience all over the world.


Graphic: @djosephmachado

About truematter

Our team has been doing the real work of user experience since the earliest days of the commercial web. We’re out to make your digital products a whole lot better.

We care deeply about every last element of your product, right down to the panic-preventing drop-downs.

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