Why Does Your Site Suck?

Note: This material is old. Very old. The site still sucks, but in a more natural way.

I'm always puzzled — and a little bit scared by this question. After all, the domain is called "Web Pages That Suck" not "Web Pages That Don't Suck."

Actually, there was a version of the site back in 1998-1999 that was really nice (Michael Willis, my co-author created it), but I got rid of it because it looked too nice. Like I said, the site is called "Web Pages That Suck" and I like for the look of the site to suck in a mediocre rather than blazingly bad way because most web sites suck in a mediocre way.

I'd say at least 99.9% of the visitors to the site "get it," perhaps because they've read "Stupid Versions of the Home Page." Those folks who don't get it are interesting because they send email with statements like "your site is the worse site on the web" or "I've never seen an uglier site." Obviously, they don't get out on the Net much nor do they read the Daily Sucker. This site is obviously better than this Daily Sucker. I'd be more impressed if they said, "Your site was the most mediocre site on the web." That would show me they're critics and not dolts.

The other comment I get that's confuses me is "...since your site points out other people's foibles, your own site should be above reproach." Not really.

Besides what I've said above, there are several answers to the question "why does your site suck?"

The big picture answer is I want you to feel good about yourself. While I personally adore sites like CSS Zen Garden and other sites that use and promote beautiful design, most people don't realize their hidden agenda: they want you to feel bad about your design skills or the skills of your staff so you'll hire them to fix your site or buy their books. Everybody who visits WPTS leaves feeling better — they've seen sites that are suckier than their site and my design skills don't make you feel like you're a hack designer. Nobody has ever visited WPTS and said, "God, I wish I could design like that."

Technical answers: There are many reasons and some of them depend on which page you're viewing. The code for the pages is the same, but there are some differences based on who is hosting the page.

A. The "Original Sucky Pages"

I've kept the format from 1996-1998 for historical purposes. Don't email me that you hate frames. I hate them, too, but I have to use frames for this section. This is the way the site was back in 1996 (with the exception of a Splash page). It will never change

B. The rest of the site

  1. Google ads keep it from validating. Yup. It's a fact. Google won't let you change their code so it may not validate.
  2. Fixed CSS font sizes. Yep. It's a problem in IE. Get Firefox or Mozilla or Opera. Over-optimized images are another problem. Heck, there are so many bad things.
  3. Look at the URL. As I stated earlier, the site is about bad web design.
  4. I use the "target="_blank" attribute. XHTML doesn't like it, but this is, to me, such a small error.

People often ask, "I like your Flash home page. Why not use this page instead?"

Well, like so much of the design, I've tried to take a good design and screw it up just like real people do in real life. I bought a Flash template and modified it so you can see what you can do wrong. There's nothing wrong with Flash — in the right hands it's a wonderful tool. In my hands...