Worst Websites of the Year
Daily Dose of Bad Design (Daily Sucker)
Current Examples of Bad Web Design Presented Daily (direct link)
Bad Web Design
Overview (direct link)
Current Examples of Bad Web Design Presented Daily (direct link)
Overview (direct link)
It's hard for me to believe, but it looks as if bad web design wasn't as bad in 2010 as it has been during the last 14 years. Plenty of bad websites still exist and since I have the cleverest readers out there, I have an almost never-ending supply of suggestions.
To paraphrase the great American philosopher Jerry Lee Lewis, there's still "A whole lotta sucking going on." I think Jerry Lee said that. I could be wrong.
In keeping with our theme of "On our 15th year of sucking," I've chosen the 15 worst contenders for 2010. These sites were featured as The Daily Sucker during January through early September 2010.
Obviously, the sites that follow aren't examples of great web design.
I could excuse the page if it were designed by an 11-year old. I should excuse it because it's for an art school but, because some irresponsible dickhead doesn't understand that flashing colors could cause seizures, I have to make it a candidate for worst website of 2010. Oh. The word “irresponsible,” in the phrase “irresponsible dickhead,” is an unnecessary modifier.
What in the hell was s/he thinking? Hopefully, outing them might cause the page to be changed. NOTE: They did change the site and it looks like the screenshot above.
Other comments #1: This explains it:
This website is the continuously evolving effort of many people from many disciplines within the Yale School of Art and its wider circles. It is a wiki, meaning that every graduate student, staff person, and faculty member of the School can change this website's content or add to it at any time.
You'd think an Ivy League university would understand how important this medium is and not have the official site for one of its schools be a sandbox in which kids play.
Other comments #2 Time travel IS possible—1995 is only a click away!
Other comments #3: I suppose that it is predictable that the site would look like a train wreck if there is no real content control. I, too, am amazed that a major university would allow their public image be so thoroughly abused.
Other comments #4: Art is never ugly. Ugly is never art. Think of how the parents footing the tuition will feel when the little darling's 'art' is brought to their attention! Lookit what I did today at school, mama!
Yale School of Art (current site)
Here's a link to a video showing original and current versions of the site. WARNING: Could cause seizures.
Here's a link to the same video. WARNING: Could cause seizures.
Yale School of Art (current site)
This may be the best example of head-up-your-ass web design I've ever seen. WTF?
Other comments #1: This must be what it's like to attend a private showing of the works of a never-before-seen artist. Just say "Brilliant, cutting edge, overwhelming," tap your fingers in the palm of your other hand lightly, sip your wine, and mouth "outstanding" on your way out as you pass the moron who's responsible for wasting your evening.
Other comments #2: I looked at this page in the Lynx browser and saw:
but there are no links.
Other comments #3: This tilting-image thing appears "prepackaged" because I've seen the same thing on other sites. (Compare http://www.needleprintsociety.com/dxownmultiscree...) The navigation is thoroughly exasperating and the tendency of the images to tilt at the slightest movement of the mouse definitely does not help.
Other comments #4: Yup, it's prepackaged: http://simpleviewer.net/tiltviewer/app/
Certainly one of the worst looking political websites I've seen. If it weren't for the fact that he claims to have 13 3/4 years worth of education, I would write off the typos as just a symptom of an Over-The-Top Website. The following screen shot not only shows the problem, but could also be used as the visual representation of irony:
The candidate's support of “School violents” remins me of the statements made by Saturday Night Live character Emily Litella.
Basil's YouTube videos are quite popular.
Many campaign promises are boring, but one of Basil's may be the least boring campaign pledge:
VOTE FOR ME AND IF I WIN I WILL IMMUNE YOU FROM ALL STATE CRIMES FOR THE REST OF YOU LIFE! (Except violating a citizen rights this would be a special punishment)
Shop in hell is more like it. My first reaction was “Where's the white space?”
Other comments: I would never in my life even dream of building such a visual train wreck, and cannot believe that anyone can actually find anything they came looking for. With that said, I have to admit that this site, in its total lack of sophistication, has a certain quirky charm, despite the sensory overload.
Submitter's comments: This is the website for a town's ambulance service—the people who are supposed to save your ass if you have a medical emergency—in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Not only is the design bad, but the content would make me move out of the area in fear of my life.
“Shortage of body bags?” WTF?
Vincent Flanders' comments: We all make grammar mistakes, but this is a little much:
Both Apparatus and patient care equipments is need. shortage on body bags also
We also have what appears to be loon ravings at the top of the page. WTF?
Other comments #1: The page is roughly 17,622 pixels wide in Internet Explorer. I will not say "It can't get any worse than this," because it always does. The chicken scratch was red in my window.
Other comments #2: Yeah, that top part definitely had me thinking "hacked." But that can't explain all of it… I just found myself staring numbly, wondering "Did whoever created this even LOOK at the result?"
Submitter's comments: It's been a while since I've seen Mystery Meat Navigation used on a website, so I thought I'd send you this site. Honestly, I don't see this much any more—see if you can find the navigation on this page. (Hint: it is next to the little graphic that says “Navigate,” and has an arrow pointing to it. Even then, it takes a moment to realize what the heck is going on.)
I was floored that I couldn't just click what appeared to be the “Lunch” or “Dinner” graphics at the top. The music, which plays when the home page loads, is also one of my biggest pet peeves.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Whenever someone says to you, ”There's nothing wrong with using Mystery Meat Navigation,” send them to this site. I hereby revoke my Mystery Meat exemption to band, art, personal, music, et al. sites until such a time as site owners and designers become responsible citizens. If people see something stupid, they want it. This must stop.
Other comments #1: The weird thing is, once you get beyond the front page it reverts to perfectly sensible navigation.
Other comments #2: Exactly. Why not use that navigation on the home page as well?
I'm also getting an error on the recipes page. In IE I get a generic error message, but in Firefox I get:
The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.
Other comments #3: This brings up one of my pet peeves: Forget the MMN, stupid use of Flash and the unattractive (in my opinion) color palette. How about performing a little QA testing on your site first, before you publish it?
Other comments #4: The splash page is done entirely in Flash, but the rest of the site is in plain HTML. This means you can't navigate to the menu on a smartphone, but you can read it if someone else sends you the link.
This is one of my pet peeves. When I'm out looking for a restaurant I don't want to find a computer that has the Flash plugin installed just to learn what the restaurant serves and how much the food costs. Provide an HTML alternative and I can read the menu from my phone.
Other comments #5: Music. I hate music on websites. Especially when it takes me 30 seconds to find the OFF button. I clicked "Recipes" and got the message "Content Encoding Error." Nice.
I'm so very, very tired of beautiful websites where I can't read the text.
Where's the Contrast? All clueless web designers should read Wikipedia's definition of contrast. (Another site gives a great visual demonstration of contrast.)
There's no excuse for this mess. If you won't take my word about the need for contrast, take Alistapart's. Between the two of us, you've got the alpha and omega of web design telling you to wo/man up and make your site readable. Oh, here's another well-respected site whose article, Fully Understanding Contrast in Design, is something you ReadTarded web designers should study.
Since I can't read the text and since I refuse to stick my face two inches from the monitor, I'm not sure what the site is about. This site reminds me of the lyrics to a song by the Bottle Rockets (one of my favorite bands):
I wonder if she's real.
I really couldn't say.
But I don't want to know
'cause she's so perfect far away.
Submitter's comments: Now this is nice! It has a beautiful horizontal navigation, which you can control by keyboard, too. It breaks my favorite hotkeys (Alt-left and Alt-right) to navigate backward and forward in my browser.
Just tried to click some post called “Rethink. Redefine. Redesign.” When you're at the utmost left or right position, which you cannot tell as there's no horizontal scrollbar visible, you automatically jump to the next/previous article. And, as you can see at the upper right corner, you can also press the letter ‘s.' No idea where that takes me, but at least it does something. You can even point with your mouse at the letter ‘s' and my browser says that I can click it. I do not dare, as no URL shows up on my status bar, so I don't know what happens.
Vincent Flanders' comments: This site conveniently classifies itself as “experimental,” which disqualifies it from being a contender for the list of Worst Websites of 2010—no matter how much the site sucks. And the site sucks much.
The site's content consists of articles. Articles are composed of words. Words need to be presented in a linear fashion and that means top-to-bottom—not horizontally, which requires scrolling (or, in this case, clicking). The navigation goes batshit crazy on the feature pages. This is an information site and people expect to see content presented conventionally. Remember: it's experimental; it sucks and it isn't Number 8 on the Worst Websites of 2010.
The page has contrast problems, as this screen capture by the Juicy Studio Contrast Analyzer demonstrates. Remember: it's experimental; it sucks and it isn't Number 8 on the Worst Websites of 2010.
We tried to think ahead and create a site that was a paradigm shift in interactivity and turn the traditional blog format on its head–or in this case, on its side.
Paradigm shift? Bullshit. If I want a paradigm shift, I'll stand in front of the San Andreas Fault and wait for the big one. (Yes, I've used "paradigm shift" twice on WPTS, but it's used sarcastically). Remember: it's experimental; it sucks and it isn't Number 8 on the list of Worst Websites of 2010.
WTF? WTF? WTF?
In the last 15 years, I've seen plenty of examples of stupid navigation. This may be the worst. This site's navigation scheme is to web navigation what pedophilia is to the Catholic Church.
Other comments #1: When I began to nod out I realized I just wasn't sophisticated enough to appreciate what a fine website it must be. I can't stop yawning. Must take a nap.
Other comments #2: Important safety tip—if you have to explain every aspect of your website to your audience, you have failed.
Other comments #3: This site would cause an uber-geek to wet his pants, but it will cause a clothing shopper to choose another website. In sticking with the Magritte theme ("This is not a popup,"—"Ceci n'est pas une pomme"), I'll say that "This is not a website."
Submitter's comments: Here you go:
Long Loading Page? Check.
Stupid Music? Check.
World's Most Annoying Navigation? Check.
Flash Overdose? Triple Check.
This website sucks!
Vincent Flanders' comments: Check. Another problem: the text is difficult to read. Checkmate.
Other comments #1: Encouraging folks who can drink milk to do so is a good idea. Milk is tasty and good for you; however, I thought I remembered another Flash-based, idiotic brainchild about milk like this one. This one is certainly no better.
Other comments #2: Couldn't get it to load at all. The Flash page ran OK (though annoyingly), and after that… nothing.
Other comments #3: Click the chicken and "help mother hen relax. Mother hen is tense and irritable. Solve the puzzle to unruffle her feathers and help reduce her symptoms of PMS." This site definitely has a peculiar smell.
For some reason (boredom?), I decided to look at the White House's home page. The top part of the page looks fine but, as I went down the page, the old bugaboo about contrast popped up. It's troublesome because the White House has a link at the bottom of the page that discusses accessibility. Ironically, the link is difficult to read because of the lack of contrast.
I ran the page through AccessColor and the report said:
Both color difference and color brightness do not meet the recommended standard for 2.88% of the total text.
Either color difference or color brightness does not meet the recommended standard for 20.77% of the total the text.
Text on background with images is for 47.93% of the total text. (Which makes it impossible for them to figure out the contrast levels.)
Here's a screen capture of the results for those who don't want to rerun the test.
Concerning site performance, I ran the home page through Zoompf and here were the results:
Performance issues with the home page of whitehouse.gov
You can actually figure out what the first site (Rod C. Davis) is about, but it does seem to be part of the over-the-top design cabal. However, I don't think the designer is yet up to speed on the full charter for the group. Naturally, pages share no common navigation or color scheme.
But wait, there's more! You also get a link to The Jerry Pippin Show. This one actually has a sort of consistent color and navigation scheme, so they must not be in the secret design cabal.
Vincent Flanders' comments: For those of you who are new to WPTS, I've lumped certain types of websites into a category I call Over-The-Top Websites.
The definition of an “Over the Top” website is just like the definition of pornography—you know it when you see it. Over-The-Top sites generally deal with philosophy, religion, politics, end times, etc., but they're generally not mainstream.
There's a certain similarity in the design techniques used. If you haven't taken your meds recently, they'll look “normal,” but to everyone else, they…well…they look like Burlington UFO and Paranormal Research and Education Center, or Accept Jesus, Forever Forgiven! (Warning! Could cause seizures), or Surviving Niburu, or Jesus Christ is the ONLY way, or ABBC Breeders.
There's a certain “style” to these sites. Pippin's site is on the high end of the suck spectrum and just looks amateurish. The Rod C. Davis site is a definite addition to the Over-The-Top websites list. The choice of background music surprised me. It's classical music. I was expecting to hear Golden Earing's Twilight Zone.
I’d expect to see web design like this from one of those creationist types of sites like Creation Museum, Taxidermy Hall of Fame of NC and Antique Tool Museum. It’s nice to know that evolutionists can be just as wacko in their web design.
Other comments #1: A new category of sucker: "Have you ever seen a blog? Ever?" Oh, and "Did you know you could buy your own domain name?"
Other comments #2: <META NAME="GENERATOR" CONTENT="Adobe PageMill 3.0 Mac">
Wow. I haven't seen a tag for PageMill in a long time. A wonderful tool in its day 10+ years ago—which is about the time it looks like this site was created.
I think they could use an update.
Other comments #3: It took 31 clicks to get to the bottom of the page. Might want to archive the older articles.
Plus there are more contrast issues than you can shake a mouse at.
Would not take much to clean it up, but it looks like it's more a personal site (by some professor whose background is not web development) than a professional site.
Submitter’s comments: I think it’s pronounced ‘suck.’
Vincent Flanders’ comments: You've got Mystery Meat Navigation where the meat changes—fortunately, the links stay the same—and a needless use of Flash plus, for some reason, they’re using the https protocol. I don’t understand.
What really sucks is that you have itty-bitty little thumbnails of the products. The problem is that you’re not sure what they represent until you click them. On the “Kids and Pets” page I clicked a picture of a dog. Turns out it’s a pillow. How is it possible for me to know that? You just wasted my time. Actually, the whole site is a giant waste of time.
Other comments #1: Not to mention that it takes around 10-15 seconds to load every time you clicked one of their links. I can imagine why the owner of this site is not getting as much sales as he/she hoped. It is because they used web design techniques that get in the way of the sale. Simple.
Other comments #2: This site could have easily been done in XHTML/CSS and drastically improved loading time. Here's a hint: if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load your products page(s), you just lost a sale.
Other comments #3: Honest to God, the very first thing I thought when I saw this site was "WTF??????" There are many things wrong with this site, as noted above, so I will pick on the first thing that comes to mind: What is this site about? One cannot tell what the site is about without clicking a link somewhere. I know that sounds like so little, but a little thoughtfulness in design, rather than an intense desire to be quirky-cute, would have been effort well spent.
Mutilating a famous saying: "I don't think, and I use Flash; therefore, I can be a successful web designer"
The disturbing degree to which the above statement appears to be commonly believed is enough to make one weep.