What We Clicked: The Mistakes We Committed

The readers who clicked on the checkboxes in the article Checklist 1: 156 Mortal Sins That Will Send Your Site to Web Design Hell were tracked by a CrazyEgg heat map (no identification was gathered other than total number of clicks.

The results are sorted in descending order by group. It's interesting to see what mistakes companies make on their websites.

First Impression / Big Picture

630 Our site tries to tell you how wonderful we are as a company, but not how we're going to solve your problems.
617 We've designed our site to meet our organization's needs (more sales/contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors. (Video)

We say "Welcome to..." on our home page. The only exception to this is if you have a really cool graphic—something like the graphic below—then it's OK to use a "Welcome to" statement.

This is the only cool Welcome To message allowed

275 It takes longer than four seconds for the "Man from Mars" to understand what our site is about.
244 The man from Mars cannot quickly find the focal point of the home page.
222 Our site doesn't make us look like credible professionals. People will not do business with you if you look like you're not professional. Remember: Professional Website = Trust.
177 Our home page — or any page — takes more than four seconds to load.
177 We never conduct user (usability) testing.
174 We don't analyze our log files.
171 We don't know which design items are not necessary.
162 Quickly scanning the page doesn't tell our visitors much about its purpose.
159 We have not eliminated unnecessary design items.
157 The man from Mars cannot quickly find the focal point of the current page. Where in the heck is the focal point at this site? (AmazingThings.org)
129 I don't know if our site looks the same in the major browsers.
128 Our pages have too much / too little white space. Another example of too much white space.

123 We don 't put design elements where our visitors expect them.
113 Our site doesn't make visitors feel they can trust us.
113 We don't identify PDF files with an icon. (Video)
103 Our site breaks when visited with the Javascript turned off. (People turn Javascript off for security reasons.)
95 Our site's design was "borrowed" from another site.
93 The important content does not fit in the first screen.
90 Our site uses a splash page (unless it's a liquor, porn, gambling, adult, tobacco, or a multi-lingual / multinational site). (Video)
81 Our site's navigation is Flash-based.
78 Our site is Flash-based (and this is what our site looks like to people without Flash.)
74 Our site uses pop-up windows.
71 Our site's TITLE tag is something like "New Document", "Index" and not the name of our company or other search-engine friendly terms.
71 Our site doesn't look the same in different browsers.
68 Our site is based on a template that's bloated with ugly code, is difficult to maintain, and is, quite frankly, broken.
63 Our site has a sound file automatically play in the background when a web page loads, but we're not a record label or musician
61 Our site doesn't provide clear instructions on how to perform tasks like ordering, filling out forms, etc.
58 Our site makes visitors register before they can enter. No, this isn't a site from 1999. It's a site from July 2011. Here's a screenshot in case they change things.
52 Our site prominently displays what hardware and software was used to create the site.


Our site disables a visitors right-click mouse button because we're crazy enough to think we have content worth stealing and that our visitors are too stupid to figure out how to bypass our code.

Here's a site that disables the right-click function. (as of 05/25/11)

If you want to be an a**hole, here's Javascript code that disables the right-click, the ability to select text, dragging content, closing the window, etc.

44 Our site uses two or more Splash Pages. For example, here's Splash Page #1, here's Splash Page #2 and here at last is the home page.
40 Our site forces visitors to install weird plugins.
40 Our site has "Download latest browser" text or buttons.
8 Our site breaks because of back-end coding errors.

Text and Links

124 Our site mixes text colors on the page.
118 Visited links don't change color.
100 Our site mixes and matches text sizes on the page. (Video)
93 We use justified text.
88 We have too much/too little text on a page.
64 Visitors can't read our text because it's too small.
63 Our site uses centered text on more than just headlines.
49 Our site uses scrolling, blinking, fading, or moving text.
46 Our site has too many links.
41 Our links are not informative.
35 Our site uses underlined text. (Only links should be underlined.)
35 Our site has lots of complex URLs.
34 Our site has too many links in one area.
34 Our site has lots of dead links.
32 Our links are not clearly labeled.
31 Our site has lots of dead links and/or no 404 pages.
30 AccessColor says there isn't enough contrast between our stylesheet and our page.
29 Our site's text requires people to have special (unusual) fonts on their computers to correctly view our text.
29 Our site has links consisting of 10-20 words.
26 The color contrast analyzer says there isn't enough contrast between text/links and the background.
26 We use browser-specific tags like <MARQUEE>.
26 We use font faces that are not appropriate for our audience — like Comic Sans on a senior citizen site.
22 Our site has sideways text.
17 Our site has text in the status bar — moving Javascript text.

Graphics, Video, Audio

121 Logo is not on the top of every page and clicking it doesn't lead to the home page.
110 Our site uses divider bars.
108 Our logo does not look like it was professionally made.
107 No one has spent the time figuring out if our color scheme alienates our international users.
65 Our site uses images with shadows.
60 Our site uses graphics for text.
58 Each page on our site is one big imagemap.
57 Our site uses beveled images.
52 Our site uses gradient images.
49 Our site doesn't use color to convey meaning — red text signifies "this is important."
48 Our site uses large (file-size) graphics.
48 Our site uses animated GIFs.
48 Our graphics don't have ALT= attribute text filled in and doesn't use "" for graphics that are empty.
42 Logo is not above the fold. (Yes, this does happen.)
41 Our site has an ugly color scheme (red and green, for example).
39 Our site uses cheap clip art instead of high-quality web graphics.
37 Our site doesn't physically reduce graphics using Photoshop (or other program). Instead, we take a 1200 x 800 pixel photo and manually changing the width and height attributes of the IMG tag to a smaller size.
35 Our site has multiple colored areas on the page.
31 Our site uses 3-D graphics.
30 Our logo is a bad scan of a business card.
30 Our site uses a background graphic that repeats itself on large-screen monitors.
29 Our site automatically loads movies instead of using YouTube's method of only showing movies when people click.
27 Our site has graphics that suffer from the "halo effect" — dithering that leaves an ugly halo around the image.
26 Our site uses a trailing cursor.
26 Our site uses animations gratuitously.
26 Our site has flashing graphics that might cause seizures.
26 Our site's graphics are confusing — they look like ads.
25 Our site uses graphics that detract from the page.
24 If your site has banner ads (especially near the top of the page), keep graphics away from them. People tend to ignore ads and they'll ignore your graphics.
24 Our site uses IE page transitions.
20 Our background graphic doesn't contrast well against the text, making it hard to read.
19 Our site uses "Under Construction" graphics.
19 Our site has blocks of ugly colors next to each other (red next to green).
18 Instead of calling it a shopping cart, we call it a basket or other silly term.
17 Our sites' symbols are not logical. Our shopping cart symbol doesn't look like a shopping cart.
16 Our site uses moving graphics — falling snowflakes, flying birds — stupidly rendered by DHTML.


85 We understand how our site's navigation works so everybody else probably understands how it works.
66 We created our site's navigational system to meet our needs, not our visitors' needs.
61 A site's navigation should tell you where you are, where you're going to go, and how to get back to the home page. Our site's navigation doesn't.
50 On our site, you may have to click four or more times to get to the information you want.
42 Our site uses Flash navigation.
40 Instead of being predictable, our site's navigation is inconsistent.
38 The "Man from Mars" could not quickly understand our site's navigation.
38 Our site doesn't have shortcuts on the main page to the popular content.
37 Our site's navigation is not in the top screen.
35 We use stupid terms like "stuff" for our navigational links or "Beginning" for "Home."
33 Our site's content is not divided into logical categories and subcategories.
32 The names of the categories and subcategories are not clear and mutually exclusive on our site.
29 Our site uses JavaScript for navigation and it doesn't degrade naturally for visitors who come with JavaScript turned off.
28 Although people don't want to learn a new navigational system, we've created our own anyway.
27 Instead of being predictable, our site's navigational placement is inconsistent from page to page.
23 Our links aren't clearly labeled and don't tell you where you'll end up.
22 We keep people from signing up for expensive conferences.
21 Some/all of our pages require visitors to scroll horizontally.
19 Our links aren't clearly labeled, don't tell you where you'll end up, and say "Click Here." (May not be suitable for work NSFW.)
17 We have a page or a popup explains how our navigation works.
17 Our site uses Java navigation.
16 Navigation graphics are not the same size and/or color.
15 Our site uses Mystery Meat Navigation.
14 Our site uses sideways navigation.


101 Our site doesn't have a privacy or legal statement page.
97 We don't know what content is popular.
74 We don't know what content is popular.
64 Our site has too few words on a line, making it frustrating to read.
57 Our site doesn't have Heroin Content.
51 Our pages are too long. We forget that people skim.
50 We don't identify non-HTML documents like PowerPoint or Excel.
50 Our site's content is not written for the web, but for print media (or other media) and we just transferred it to the web.
45 Our site has too many words on a line, making it hard to read.
44 Our content is not organized to meet our visitors' needs.
42 Our site has different looks on different pages or sections.
42 Our site has different looks on different pages or sections.
40 I don't know if our content is appropriate for our audience.
39 Our site has a mission statement or a link to a mission statement on the front page (non-profit's are exempt).
38 Our site has sections that are under construction and the public can access them.
36 The content is not engaging, or relevant, or accurate, or fair and impartial.
36 Our site's content came from Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, etc., documents and then converted to HTML.
31 Our content is not broken down into logical categories.
29 The content is not understandable by humans and is full of marketing-speak, or jargon, or unexplained acronyms.
26 Our site may contain sensitive information the public and/or competitors shouldn't see.
25 Our site uses content that our visitors don't need to know.
21 The content really isn't appropriate for our audience.
21 Our site's content is written at a higher or lower readability level than our visitors' knowledge level.
19 We haven't checked to see we've eliminated all "Lorem ipsum" text or other placeholder text and graphics from site — especially from document titles.
14 Some of our site's content — graphics and/or text — is considered offensive.
14 Some of our content — graphics and/or text is considered racially or politically incorrect.
13 Some of our content — graphics and/or text — is considered offensive to international audiences.