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Mystery Meat Navigation: An Introduction

Note: Some people have asked, "Where are the sites?" Well, the menu above should aim you in the right direction. I've included part of Wikipedia's definition of the term, some short videos of sites who used to use MMN followed by the same links as above in a section called "More Examples of Mystery Meat Navigation."

The following video is the best example of Mystery Meat Navigation.


Definition and Discussion

Wikipedia's defilnition (partial):

Mystery meat navigation (also known as MMN) is a disparaging term coined in 1998 by author and web designer Vincent Flanders to describe a visually attractive but concurrently inefficient, confusing, or abstruse user interface, usually one that is Internet-based[1]. Such interfaces lack a user-centered design, emphasizing aesthetic appearancewhite space, and the concealment of relevant information over basic practicality and functionality.

The epithet "mystery meat" refers to the meat products often served in American public school cafeterias whose forms have been so thoroughly reprocessed that their exact types can no longer be identified by their appearances: like them, the methods of MMN are clear to the producer but baffling to the consumer. 

MMN is very seductive — it looks cool and it's used on sites that win design awards. Because there's no long strings of text, MMN makes the page look "cleaner" because there's more white space.

Why MMN is really bad. When you drive down the road, you don't see road signs that wait for you to get near them before they tell you what they say (mouse over this image for an example). Well, now that I think about it, Seattle has a lot of MMN; nevertheless, it's still a very bad concept.

You don't see Mystery Meat Navigation on exit signs

I hope that the above image demonstration makes it perfectly clear why MMN sucks more than a Kirby vacuum cleaner. It's stupid, stupid, stupid — and dangerous.

More Video Examples:


Using butts as navigation is not smart

Using human butts as navigation brings new meaning to Mystery Meat Navigation <grin>.

Toto (2:05)


mystery meat navigation

An early example of Mystery Meat Navigation from late 1999 or early 2000.

OXO (2:02)

Mathew Mahon

Mathew Mahon likes Mystery Meat

Stupid Mystery Meat Navigation. Oops. "Stupid" is an unnecessary modifier.

Mathew Mahon (1:18)

This is a very strange web siteCrumpler Bags

The #2 worst Mystery Meat Navigation site for 2006.


Crumpler Bags (1:15)

Mystery Meat Navigation at the Diners ClubDiners Club

The 10th worst web site of 2006,

Diners Club (0:42)

Mystery Meat Navigation at the University of CalgaryUniversity of Calgary

They fixed the site. This is what it used to look like.

University of Calgary (0:45)

More Examples of Mystery Meat Navigation

Because of length issues, I've had to break the article into multiple parts.

Recent Examples of Mystery Meat Navigation
Big Corporations or Classic Examples of Mystery Meat
Music, Movie and Art Mystery Meat
Web Designer Mystery Meat