THE FRONT PAGE FEATURES ANOTHER OVERUSED WEB DESIGN TECHNIQUE THAT COMES IN TWO VARIATIONS AND I USED VARIATION #1: "The Animated GIF on a Black Background." When the animation stops, you can either click on the image (mine's a textual image — it can be a graphical image) to go to the "real" home page or if you don't click, the <META> "refresh" command automatically takes the viewer to the next page. Variation #2 is the same, but it's just a regular image or imagemap, not an animated GIF.
I'M NOT SURE WHO ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS TECHNIQUE, (PROBABLY WIRED MAGAZINE — THEY'VE CREATED A LOT OF GREAT GRAPHIC TECHNIQUES) BUT, LIKE THE RAINBOW-COLORED DIVIDER, IT'S BECOME A CLICHE.
Speaking of clichés, pages with black backgrounds are a very, very popular cliché. Whenever I see a black background it's like the designer is lowering his voice and saying, "This is a cool page. I'm pretty cool, too." To be honest, I'd say maybe 5% of the sites with black backgrounds are actually cool and almost every one of those was designed by a professional graphics artist. If you're not a pro, black's not the way to go.
Once, not so long ago, it was OK for your web page's address to be a virtual path — http://www.xyz.net/~abc. Now, if you don't have your own domain, people don't feel your company is the kind of company they want to do business with. The same is true about the look of your web page. Once, it was OK to slap any old thing up there and be done with it. Now, people look at a poorly designed site and ask, "Do we want to do business with them?" Upside magazine phrased it best when it discussed the importance of marketing, "Word of mouth, frequency of press appearances, Web site quality and the frequency and quality of advertisements all serve to create the image of a 'real company.'"
The purpose of this web site is to help people design effective and aesthetically pleasing web pages. My methodology is somewhat different — I firmly believe that if a person is exposed to bad web page design they'll be less likely to use these techniques in the pages they create. Luckily, most people commit the same mistakes over and over and over and over — you get the point. By pointing out these mistakes, and being told that they are mistakes, you can avoid them when you design your web pages.
This web site is the result of my HTML seminars. I teach HTML coding and, because of my shy and retiring personality, the section I call "Web Pages That Suck" has always been the most popular part of the class. My students realize that I'm not poking fun at the authors of these bad pages. I hope that you and the people who designed these pages come away with the same understanding.
Since I'm using real live pages as examples it's entirely likely they will "improve" over time. In fact, my favorite example of a bad page (a county government agency) underwent a revision. Originally, I called it "The Page With 11 Errors." I think it's now "The Page With 4 Errors." Not quite as interesting — or as educational. Then I found another bad page, well, guess what? It got fixed.
That's why I need your help in finding examples that are outside the San Joaquin valley. If you've got suggestions, please let me know.
Now for the bad news. By necessity, these pages are frame based. If you don't have a browser that supports frames (Internet Explorer 3.0 and Netscape 2.0 [I think] are the most common ones), then you won't be able to view these pages.
Let's start with this amazingly bad page I call Pretentious Front Page.
Don't forget, if there's a topic I haven't covered or you know of another (worse) site than my examples, please let me know. Thanks for visiting.
Comments or suggestions for sucky web pages!
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(This text is from Web Pages That Suck)