Defensive design is the practice of planning for contingencies in the design stage of a project or undertaking. Essentially, it is the practice of anticipating all possible ways that an end-user could misuse a device, and designing the device so as to make such misuse impossible, or to minimize the negative consequences. For example, if it is important that a plug be inserted into a socket in a particular orientation, the socket and plug should be designed so that it is physically impossible to insert the plug incorrectly. Power sockets are often keyed in such a manner, to prevent the transposition of live and neutral.
- Many electrical connectors apply this principle by being asymmetric.