Worst Website Navigation of 2011

Worst Website Navigation of 2011

Encyclopedia.com defines web navigation as "The process of moving from one web page to another on the same web site or another Web site using hyperlinks."

It's a very simple, yet totally accurate definition. On the other hand, the sites listed on this page use navigation schemes that are anything but simple, are often inaccurate and are often mystifying.

1. SH Marketing

SH Marketing uses Mystery Meat Navigation

Vincent Flanders' comments: Holy Mother of God. I've been on the web since early 1995 and if there's one thing I've learned it's that just when you think you've seen the stupidest website on the internet, something comes along that's much worse.

Of course, today's sucker is Flash-based, but I suspect that if Jonathan Gay saw what his creation hath wrought on this website, he'd poke his eyes out in embarrassment.

My favorite page is System for Success. Just go there, you'll understand why.

Other comments #1: There's too much design for design's sake alone. Everything to do with a web site—including design—needs to be in service of one thing, and one thing only: Transferring cash from visitor pockets to corporate pockets. It's not to pleasure the designer. It's not to pleasure the corporate client. It's to transfer dollars. (Or euros, yen, etc.) Anything else is ego gratification. And today's web site, with the whack-a-mole interface, is a perfect example.

Other comments #2: The way the circles seek to elude my mouse is an excellent metaphor for how the company seeks to elude business.

Other comments #3: Buyers for large corporations do not necessarily have whizzbang high speed computers because most companies don't replace computers until absolutely necessary. Flash discourages buyers who do not have unlimited time and super duper computers. Beautiful flashy websites just waste the serious buyers time. The buyer already knows what he wants and it isn't a slow site like this one.

SH Marketing

2. Davide Cernuschi

The second worst web site to navigate in 2011

Just because you’re a great photographer doesn’t mean you have a license to use Mystery Meat Navigation—or any other stupid design technique. Yes, I know you’re an artiste, but c’mon. This is pretentious crap.

Oh, and why is the URL “theosbrinkagency.com?”

Other comments #1: Mystery Meat navigation that isn't consistent gets another -10 points in my book. First, you have to figure out that the central bar has actual links between the BLACK vertical lines but not between the GRAY vertical lines. Then, almost all the links cause a teeny tiny photo to appear when you hover over them except for the last two on the right: "biography" and "contact." Those are blank. Not only is this mysterious, it's annoying. ("Is this thing WORKING?")

Other comments #2: This thing looks like a loading bar. I sat there waiting for about a minute for something to happen before realizing that was it...

I refreshed it a couple times because I thought it didn't finish loading. I was wrong. It's supposed to look like nothing is there; just the guy's name and some gray lines.

Plus, my status bar never stopped reading 'Waiting for theosbrinkagency.com' which only served to further reinforce the loading bar impression.

Although, not to encourage Flashturbation, but if the thing started into a cyclic slide show of what you get with the mouseovers, it might offer a bit of a hint as to how to proceed.

Other comments #3: If the man from Mars saw this site, he would conclude that earthlings are brainless idiots and then would destroy the Earth with his Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

Davide Cernuschi

3. Kieran-Timberlake

This website is the third worst to navigate in 2011. It sucks

Vincent Flanders’ comments: This is an architect quoted in the article about Steve Jobs that I mentioned in the previous Daily Sucker. The site uses Mystery Meat Navigation that fades in and out. Think about it. How stupid is this? Do you want your road signs to fade in and out? If you don’t want to waste your time visiting the site, here’s a screenshot.

Other comments #1: A friend of mine who's something of an architecture groupie constantly complains about architectural firms' websites. His chief beef is that they rarely bother to give full information on their projects. You would expect to see plans, elevations, and photographs from various angles, but they don't often bother. How they expect to attract new business through their Highly Sucky websites I do not know. 

Architects also have a tendency, when they *do* show plans and elevations, to use low resolution graphics that you can't make out satisfactorily. 

Maybe architecture schools focus too much on style and kewlth and not enough on nitty gritty, just like art schools? This seems to be an occupational hazard: the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright was notorious for designing bad roofs that didn't keep the rain out.

Other comments #2: Rather like many prescription drugs, Flash is not evil in itself, but is often put to evil use. Unfortunately, here we have another business and/or web designer who does not understand the proper time and place for Flash.


4. Mike Rowe Works

The website for Mike Rouse sucks

Submitter's comments: This site is based on the work and experience of Mike Rowe and his Dirty Jobs program. Great idea to help America work for America, but the designers of the site are clearly stuck in 1995 and are fans of MS Bob.

This site's "navigation" is so counter-intuitive that I couldn't spend more than 10 seconds mousing over crap objects to figure out what did what.

Vincent Flanders' comments: Time Magazine called Microsoft Bob one of the 50 Worst Inventions of All Time. Well, at least one person found success with Microsoft Bob.

Yeah, what's with this layout? I'm thinking it's more 1997 than 1995. I've featured a few of these Bobs in the past: Billy Connolly, Brill Publications and the old BVS Performance Center for Banks come to mind—probably because they burned a hole in my brain. No, wait. That was the subdural hematoma. If my memory serves me well—and it doesn't always—this type of format seems to be popular with TV, movies and other artistic endeavors. It needs to stop being popular.

Other comments #1: Dear God…not another of these stupid things. This navigation metaphor was cool for about two months after it first appeared. For the many years since that time, it's just been a trite, cliched idea that needs to be put to rest.

Other comments #2: As for doing something, the site really isn't doing anything if folks don't have a clue on how to find information on the site. The pig on the pedestal is a good example. There is no clue that it leads to "Farming, Fishing, Food." You have to click on the pig to find out what it leads to. Most folks aren't going to click on random items to see if it is relevant.

Mike Rowe Works

5. Anthem Health

This site is the 5th worst to navigate in 2011

Submitter’s comments: My most recent encounter with crazy web layout/navigation comes courtesy of my health insurance plan.

After about my fourth login, I finally realized that the main navigation structure is composed of three columns (colors: puke green, blue, red) on the right side. The real beauty of this design is that the navigation columns leap from the right side of the screen to the left when clicked. And then they leap back when another column is clicked. I’ve never seen anything like this before. All the sliding columns are causing eye/mouse strain!

I believe this is one of the biggest health insurance companies in the country. How can the navigation of its web site be so convoluted?!

Vincent Flanders’ comments: Anthem Health is making me very sick. In addition to the bronchitis I’ve had for the last month, this site’s navigation is making me puke my guts out. If Christopher Columbus used navigation this bad, we’d still be living in Europe. This company isn’t like yesterday’s sucker, Unexplained Research; this is a big, supposedly serious company.

This site typifies a new plague on web design which I’m calling, for the moment, jQrap. jQrap is the crappy misuse of the jQuery Javascript library’s effects just for the sake of using the effects. Just like Flash gets misused by Flashturbators, jQuery is starting to be misused by clowns like me who aren’t programmers. Oh, yeah, there are a lot of bad programmers writing a lot of jQrappy plugins.

There are also a whole host of contrast issues, but they pale in comparison to the navigation.

Anthem Health

6. freizeitpark

The sixth worse website to navigate in 2011

Submitter’s comments: Despite having seen a lot of bad websites being an active reader of your website, I was shocked when I took a look at this website.

It is definitely a website with potential: Good domain name (-> SEO) and (to translate the German term “Freizeitpark Herne” to “amusement park herne”) well structured.

The flaws primarily concentrate on the site’s content, which is a perfect example for nearly all terms of bad web design you defined since 1996.

Moreover, redirects are not well set and there is duplicate content on familienparkherne.de.
To put it short: It sucks, because it is 100% Flash, 100% over-the-top, too saturated and “filled” (even if a child developed this site), the navigation is spread all over the site (MMN?), epileptics are endangered (check out the sub-sites) and despite being filled with a lot of content, it is hard to find any information about the park itself (You don’t even have to speak germ an to figure that out).

Vincent Flanders’ comments: It’s a very strange-looking site. Since I’m y0ur average American guy, I only speak English so I’m not sure what the site is about. In order to get a pass, it would have to be a website for kids. Young kids. Very young kids. Why are you letting your toddlers surf the Internet?

I clicked about half of the links and didn’t find any seizure material, so why press my luck?


7. Sabletine Fine Pastries (Honorary)

One of the worst websites of 2011

NOTE: This site has been fixed; however, the old site was so bad that it qualifies as our seventh place "winner." All comments are about the original site."

I like the pastries they offer and I'm still going to go in and check them out for a snack, but their website needs help.

First, the Mystery Meat Navigation is a problem.  I HATE having to click through a site to “see where I’m going to end up” because no one thought to label any of the links.

Their Contact page has everything BUT any way to contact them electronically/via email (which only makes an business with a web presence look Mickey Mouse and unprofessional).

Did you note that their Catering Menu is from 2009–which either means that they don’t update things often, haven’t changed it in two years, or are careless and changed the menu but not the title of it/link to it? Either way, questionable.

Here's a video I made discussing how the site used to work.

Other comments #1: A very attractive site; I like the idea behind the look for the most part, but that is where the good times end.

What I do not like is the fact that the positioning of the page content changes from the home page to any of the following pages; this leaves me feeling disoriented. Also, I agree with the saying "White space is your friend," but there is so much white space that I often feel like something is missing.

Other comments #2: 1. A PDF is the most unsavory and unappetizing method of presenting edibles that I'm aware of. PDF files always remind me of poor quality, re-cycled hand towels from the floor of a porta-potty. I hope that mental picture stays with you; that's how disgusted I am with morons that use PDFs for food menus.

2. The picture is on the left but the description on the right—just opposite of what it should be as it prevents additional photos on the right.

3. A proper page navigation across the top of the page would enable the visitor to visit the total menu in ten seconds or less.

4. Font—is there an uglier font anywhere on the net?

5.These people couldn't possibly be interested in increasing business—look at their operating hours.

6. Have you noticed the amount of lead time they require for catering?

7. No space between the menu photo and the text boxes. If you went to this restaurant and they handed you a menu that required scrolling and was in graytone, would you stay?

Current site for Sabletine Fine Pastries

8. Chiptune

Chiptune is the 8th worst website to navigate in 2011

Submitter’s comments: Here’s a music repository with a monumentally counter intuitive UI. Watch and be amazed. At least it doesn’t use Flash

Vincent Flanders’ comments: Another WTF website. Just because you’re a site about retro game music or something, doesn’t mean you have to keep the motif in your design. Sites with the word “global” in them don’t (usually) use a globe on their site. The site also doesn't work in Google Chrome.

Other comments #1: Wow, talk about fugly...There is absolutely nothing on that home page that makes me want to click on anything even once.

Other comments #2: It's kind of neat, but there's a reason the old interfaces are old…

Other comments #3: The chiptune.com interface is one of the absolute best designs I've ever seen on the Internet. It's 100% relevant to the interests of that community and incredibly creative in achieving that goal.

Vincent Flanders' comments: First, there's no way this is one of the "absolute best designs." Search for [awesome websites] and while you'll find a lot of sucky design you'll find dozens better than this site. Second, you may be right about the relevancy to the community, but there are people who are going to read about chiptune from Seth Godin's link to Andy Baio's article. Seth's immensly popular and I guarantee you people who read Andy's article and then go to chiptune are going to scream "WTF?"


9. William Glenn & Son

William Glenn & Son is the 9th worst website to navigate in 2011

Submitter's comments: This is Scottish, yet crap.

I came across this turkey when seeking out a Scottish gift shop in San Francisco that I remembered visiting previously. I found the site for the store—unfortunately, first on my iPhone, which wouldn't render this Flash-only monstrosity.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I love the tiles-on-amphetamine look the page has. Uh...aren't liquor sites supposed to verify your age before you can see the content? Not that it works. It's a joke, but at least they should pay lip service.

Other comments #1: It is a pretty site in a dark, incomplete sort of way. However, what ruins this site for me is that carousel thingie. At the moment the page loads, the speed and direction of the carousel appears to depend on the location of my mouse from the center line of the central flash item, so if my mouse isn't within the bounds of the flash item and at or near on the center line, the carousel moves so quickly that one could easily feel nauseated. This is really poor design. 


In addition, but only marginally less irritating, the left-hand links probably shouldn't move when your mouse moves over them.

Other comments #2: Once you escape the Cyclone of Nausea (using the links on the left), the American/San Francisco site is not too bad and mercifully Flash-free.

Other comments #3: Good thing I did not drink any of their product before getting motion sickness chasing their menu around 

William Glenn & Son

10. Reticencias

Reticencias is the 10th worst website to navigate in 2011

Submitter’s comments: Well it seems that some art critics do not apply their talent and knowledge to their own websites. This one is a classic Mystery Meat Navigation case associated with multiple scrollbars and stuff. Oh my!

Vincent Flanders’ comments: I agree. Why not just set it up with four columns? The other thing that’s amusing is that when I told Google to translate the page, it said it did. No, it didn’t. There’s a function on the options drop-down where you can tell Google there’s a problem. That brings up a new problem. You can only tell Google they have the wrong language. You can’t tell them they didn’t translate the page.