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5 Types of Edge Case

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An edge case is a situation that rarely occurs but can occur. Despite their rarity, they are an important consideration in design as they often must be handled to achieve a reasonable level of quality. The following are common types of edge case.

Customer Needs

A function or feature that a customer needs. Firms may seek to minimize functionality to those things that are common needs amongst a target market. Alternatively, they may seek to add as many functions as possible by exploring edge cases with lead users.

Customer Preferences

The customer experience preferences of individuals. It is common for designs to allow users to customize things to their preferences. Edge cases can be handled with self-service tools or personalized service that completely bend to the customer.

Human Factors

Differing human abilities such as language or physical abilities. In the past, firms often designed for the mythical average person resulting in designs that excluded a large number of people. A better approach is to design to the edges to include as many people as possible.


Real world conditions such as the weather faced by an aircraft. In order for a design to be considered robust and stable it typically must handle all real world conditions that are reasonable possible.


The range of parameters that could be submitted to a technology as user input or through a technical interface such as an API. Secure and stable designs assume that input may be of a malicious nature.
Overview: Edge Case
A situation that rarely occurs but can occur.
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Accidental Complexity
Backward Invention
Choice Architecture
Complexity Hiding
Contextual Design
Design Abstraction
Design Philosophy
Edge Case
First Principles
Life Design
Design Driven Business
More Is Different
Divergent Thinking
Passive Design
Silent Design
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Ephemera Design
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Essential Complexity
Working Backwards
Feature Fatigue
Worse Is Better
Feedback Loop
Form Follows Function
Human Factors
Less is a Bore
Less is More
Low Technology
Management By Design
Modeless Design
Nudge Theory
Test And Learn
Value Sensitive Design
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