Web Pages That Suck - learn good web design by looking at bad web design

 

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These websites still suffer from bad web design

Still Sucking After All These Years

15 Years — 15 Websites Stuck In Suck

When Web Pages That Suck first appeared in July 1996, bad web design was easier to spot. Web pages suffered from multiple ailments: animated images, splash pages, multicolored text, large graphics—design items that most often appear today in Over-The-Top Websites,

Many of the same mistakes are made today, but there are fewer of them on a page. Of course, we have "new" mistakes: e-commerce errors, lack of contrast, Mystery Meat Navigation, misusing JavaScript, etc.

Most of the websites I featured in The Daily Sucker and in other articles took the hint and changed their design. Most of the changes were positive, but there were sites that didn't improve and went from one sucky design to the next.

It should come as no surprise that the Vatican and Richard Simmons still suck. But, as I asked in my article Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015,"Have you ever seen another web site? Really? Doesn't look like it." How can these sites not change for the better? Didn't they notice that other websites looked better than their website? It's as if they told their designers, "Redesign our site, but keep the sucky parts."

Here are 15 websites that went from 1990's bad to 2010 bad. Since the original bad designs are gone, click on the graphic to see an inline YouTube video of the original site. There are also links to the specific YouTube pages, to larger versions I'm hosting at SmugMug and to the site's current home page so you can see them in their current glory.

1. Richard Simmons

Richard is one of the most consistent suckers on the web.

Here's a screen shot showing the AccessColor results.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version on SmugMug

Richard's current web site

2. The Vatican

Disclaimer: I was born and raised Catholic. As the poet Jim Carroll said, "I'm a Catholic Boy. Redeemed through pain and not through joy."

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Vatican's website hasn't changed that much in 15 years. After all, the Catholic Church hasn't changed that much in 2,000 years.

 

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug.
Here's a screen shot comparing the two sites.

The Vatican's current website

3. Bristol Hospital Wellness Center

Lots of sites experiment with Mystery Meat Navigation and then realize it's stupid. Bristol Hospital Wellness Center never figured it out.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Bristol Hospital Wellness Center's current website

4. GAM Robert Ceramic Tile

Unfreakingbelievably bad. it's a classic example of Mistake #6 from Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015"Have you ever seen another website? Really? Doesn't look like it."

How many years has it been? How many websites have they seen?

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

GAM Robert Ceramic Tile's current website

5. Brown University Grad School

For some reason Brown University keeps screwing up their website. I've cited them twice for their home page and their Graduate School's page was the worst of all.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Their current website has contrast problems, which make the text hard to read.

Both color difference and color brightness do not meet the recommended standard for 5.58% of the total text.

Either color difference or color brightness does not meet the recommended standard for 26.98% of the total the text. Here's a screenshot verifying the AccessColor results.

Brown University Grad School's current website

6. Wallpaper.net

A nice domain name for an ugly, ugly site. The site appeared in my second book, Son of Web Pages That Suck.

It's a little better than the original, but not by much.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Wallpaper.net's current website

7. Kishwaukee College Computer-Aided Design

Good News! They've finally "fixed" the page…for the most part. They're now using justified text, which will send their site to the upper levels of web design hell.

Why? Well, to sum up Ned Batchelder's excellent article:

Loose        lines    look         really               crummy.

The original version of the website had an audio introduction, sniper scope, and a 159Kb picture of a fern.

The HEIGHT= and WIDTH= attributes were changed to make the image—whose physical dimensions are 1280- x 960-pixels—fit in an area of 300-x 350-pixels. When I took the original image and reduced it down to the desired size, the physical file size shrunk to 51Kb—and that’s without any attempt to optimize the image.

In a later revision they kept the sniper scope but added a moving wizard. A moving wizard!! Finally someone got some sense drilled into their head and made it look acceptable.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Kishwaukee College Computer-Aided Design's current website

8. Sheffer Corporation

Electronic disco music doesn't belong on a site selling hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders. It belongs in a gay bar (it's a long story). Mystery Meat (Navigation) doesn't belong on a site selling hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders. It belongs in a gay bar.

The site really hasn't changed much through the years


The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Sheffer Corporation's current website

9. Tryavirgin.com

It's not as bad as it sounds, but the current version is as bad as the original. It's a real estate site.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Tryavirgin.com's current website


10. Alberto-Culver

You'd think a big company would have a better website. You're wrong.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Alberto Culver's current website

 

11. OC Foundation

The site has improved tremendously since it was first mentioned here at WPTS. The original site (shown at the left) was horrible because it was "unclear on the concept." Anyone with OCD would never get past the first page because they would look at all the movement and watch it repeat and repeat and repeat.

The home page of the current OC Foundation seems to be the only page that has problems and, of course, the problems are contrast problems.

As AccessColor reports:

Both color difference and color brightness do not meet the recommended standard for 0% of the total text.

Either color difference or color brightness does not meet the recommended standard for 29.16% of the total the text.

Text on background with images is for 2.81% of the total text. Here's a screenshot AccessColor

The YouTube video page.

OCD Foundation's current website

12. Memorex

Memorex's old site sucked because it was so minimal. It looked like it was just a 640x480-pixel splash page.

The new site looks nice, but it suffers from contrast issues. Here are the results from AccessColor:



Both color difference and color brightness do not meet the recommended standard for 16.67% of the total text.

A Fail message is displayed next to the HTML source line.

Either color difference or color brightness does not meet the recommended standard for 11.11% of the total the text.

Text on background with images is for 68.44% of the total text. Here's a screenshot showing details of AccessColor's results.

The YouTube video page
Another video version at SmugMug

Memorex's current website

13. Hope Arkansas, Police Dept.

Hope, Arkansas, is Bill Clinton's old home town. Seems somewhat ironic that this web site sucks.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Hope Police Department's current website

14. TeacherXpress

Not only did the site suck back in 2001, it's hardly changed in 2010.

The YouTube video page
Another video version at SmugMug

TeacherXpress' current website was suspended in 2011.

Here's the Archive.org version from Christmas 2010. I'll eventually have to remove the site from the list, but it's always been one of my favorites <sigh>.

15. Zippo

The original site sucked because the FlashSplash page tried to be too cute.

The current version sucks because of a lack of contrast between the text and the background. AccessColor reports that:



Both color difference and color brightness do not meet the recommended standard for 34.34% of the total text.

Either color difference or color brightness does not meet the recommended standard for 4.72% of the total the text. Here's a screen capture verifying the AccessColor results.

The YouTube video page.
Another video version at SmugMug

Zippo's current website