Horses — An Industry With Sucky Web Sites

Believe it or not, but I used to be a fairly good equestrian. For various reasons, I haven't been on a horse since…well, since before most of you were born.

Horses are beautiful, yet powerful creatures that deserve our respect. Web sites about horses tend to be ugly, weak creations that deserve a professional web designer to redesign them to match the best qualities of horses.

It always amazes me, but horse web sites are often classic examples of Mistake #6 from Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015"Have you ever seen another web site? Really? Doesn't look like it." I call this type of design the "I haven't taken my antipsychotics in a while school of web design."

Here are some of the worst horse sites that were featured as Daily Suckers.

Lightning barLightning Bar

Submitter comments: I just wanted to submit this web site that sucks. It's a horse web site and the background is made up of an animated GIF of lightning striking the ground

Vincent Flanders’ comments: I'm not sure if viewing this site would cause seizures, but if you're susceptible, I'd skip it. Actually, I think most people of sound mind and body would skip the site. What is it with sites dealing with horses? They're the reverse of architectural web sites. Horse sites use corny animations, multi-colored and multi-formatted text.

Normally, the blue links on the black background wouldn't be seen because of the lack of contrast. Since the link text is so large, you can read the links. I guess that's good.

 

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Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture

Check this one out. It's the hot mess they call a web site for the otherwise well-respected College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

There are hard-to-read links on top of distracting background photos. The hover-over style for link previewing doesn't succinctly preview. Notice the way that hovered-over links slowly disappear line-by-line. Also, the fact that you have to click specifically on the tiny word "more" to get the rest of the information. I dislike the way the links on the page move around once you do click "more." There is confusing terminology in the navigation menu, like "community" and "context," which reveal very little about the messy bevy of links that flash up when one of these choices is selected.

This, to me, is a classic example of what happens when an institution is trying to display their tech prowess and seem cutting-edge without considering the user.

Torchia

My word, that is horrible. HORRIBLE. I think it's the worst site I've seen here in the artsy category (as opposed to the 1995 category). Really, I'd rather sit through blink tags than this. When your architecture company site has system requirements rivaling commercial games, you've got a problem.

M E D I U M

What is it with architectural firms? It seems every other one is using Mystery Meat Navigation on their site. There's also very little contrast between text/links and the background.

Zaha-Hadid Architecture

Zaha Hadid won the "Nobel Prize" of architecture so I went to her web site. If her architecture is as bad as her web site, you'll never be able to get into — or out of — her buildings.

I thought the MOMA site was bad. This one is dark, forbidding, impossible to read (the text is too small), absolutely can't be navigated— you have to chase around with the mouse and hope that maybe you'll run over something that might tell you where to go... but then whatever you might have caused to appear on the screen disappears again! I sought out the beloved "skip intro" link only to watch it fade away before my very eyes.

University of Edinburgh Architecture Department

You need to click around the high graphics version to see the full measure of its stupidity. After you get past the pretentious and low-contrast splash page, click on "Programmes" for a real treat. A new menu partially obscures the old menu. You have to see it to believe it. Then click on the "Main Navigation" link. Amazing.

To paraphrase a great quote, "If programmers built software like web designers build architectural web sites, Bill Gates would have ended up a lawyer in his daddy's firm."

ushida findlay architects

I didn't even know what these folks did for a living until I belatedly looked at the TITLE tag. I should have known. My question is simple. In the buildings they design do you have to guess where the rooms are located?

Someone spent too much time in grad school reading nothing but Deleuze and Guattari, it seems. Very Post Structural and all including the lower case sentence beginnings. While it might make for a fun bit of performance art, if I were out looking for something it would just make me go away.

MIT Architecture

Pretty bad with the graphical links — some serious Mystery Meat Navigation combined with a load time for each graphic when you mouseover a link.

The sub-pages appear to be OK, except that the navigation fails the contrast test:

Foreground:#FFFFFF Background:#BABABA

Fail (The contrast ratio is: 1.91)

Text or diagrams and their background must have a luminosity contrast ratio of at least 5:1 for level 2 conformance to guideline 1.4, and text or diagrams and their background must have a luminosity contrast ratio of at least 10:1 for level 3 conformance to guideline 1.4.

Notice that they don't use MMN on the sub-pages. Hmm. This implies that either it's wrong to use MMN on the first page or their visitors are too stupid to have memorized the links on the front page to use them on the sub-pages.

Oh, here's an article about MIT and architecture you might find interesting. MIT sues Gehry for negligent design. Hmm. This story is almost too funny.

The Jerde Partnership

I wonder what you would say about this web site. Huge flash, on my 128kb DSL every link takes about 30 seconds to load.

Look at this page about the 1984 Olympics. If you have luck you'll see an Olympic tower almost completely covered with a table in the middle of the screen. I love Flash sites that aren't intelligent enough to know how to get rid of the "Click to activate this control" message.

It's another fricking architect's web site. To truly appreciate the Olympics page mentioned above, you have to scroll down the page.

This site isn't as bad as your average architect, which is like saying "For a fat boy, you don't sweat much."

David Coleman / Architecture

While they are "arty," Architects define themselves as 'Professionals,' and I view them more as members of a Guild.

I went to this site to learn more about the architect's residential designs, and was rewarded with what is basically a Flash-enabled business card and press release. Things I found that really bugged me, and made me wonder why I would ever want to have a house designed by anyone who thought this was good design include:

  1. There is no opting out of the Flash-intro-cum-splash-page for an HTML version. The site is all Flash, all the time, from what I can tell.
  2. The intro gives the viewer definitions of "light" "time", and "place" and ties them to abstract icons. When you get into the main page of the site, the viewer sees the icons and if the viewer moves the mouse over them, they gratuitously transform into the words they represent. That's it. The relevance of "light-time-place" is established on the right side of the flash movie with some 'duh' statement about how all are important to the architect.
  3. The navigation is about the clumsiest I've seen for so little depth and content. I can click or mouseover on any one of several navigation elements: Mystery Meat photos in a grid, tiny text boxes and left hand navigation menu (all flash). It goes almost nowhere you want to go (Don't hit the back button to get to the home page, it will send you to the intro again)....and it goes nowhere in every direction.
  4. Content: Resume? Check. Awards? Check. Product? Very little. The few projects shown are not very well represented. The photos aren't very descriptive and the accompanying text is stingy with details.

I guess when you're a "Top 100" architect, you have to have a web site--you just don't have to have a very good one.