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)
NOTE: The final rankings for the year have been established. I've left the "losers" behind and removed commentary from the sites that "made the big time." The winners can be found at:
Original commentary: We have some big name organizations showing up—Pine Sol, State of Utah, Trader Joe's and Xerox. In fact, it's possible that Xerox will be the Worst Website of 2011 because their site is just awful.
It's really easy to look at a site on this list, laugh and say, "My site must be OK because it doesn't look like any of these sites."
Your site might not look exactly like these sites, but there are certain bad design techniques you might be sharing with our contenders that are serious mistakes—mistakes like the ones that show up on Web Design Checklist 1: 165 Mortal Sins and Web Design Checklist 2: 83 Potential Mortal Sins.
I've spent a great deal of time specifically identifying many of the areas where these sites go wrong. I'm sure I've missed plenty from my lists, but it's a start. I'm trying to teach you to fish.
This site made #15 on The Worst Websites of 2011
Vincent Flanders' comments: Just another poorly constructed restaurant site. I'm especially fond of the fact that the first menu item on the left is blocked. Not all the graphics are links. Some are and some aren't, which is very confusing.
Other comments: When I go into a bar/ restaurant and sit down I reach for the menu. The menu should list everything available for consumption. I probably don't give a whit about the proprietor because I've never met him. I prefer an eatery without a blast of loud noise from a jukebox. So where's the damned menu? Why do I have to dig for it among barely legible page links scattered around the screen?
Don't you just love it when a page has a banner almost half the size of the page that you have to scroll? Does a restaurant really need a mission statement? Geez, the damned music file is stuck. I'm sure you're thrilled to learn that the incandescent bulbs have been removed and replaced with mercury-laden, compact fluorescent bulbs. The allergies page does not open. The directions page uses the usual crappy maps instead of a Google Earth placemark. The menu is on a PDF, it's nearly unreadable and requires vertical scrolling - seven effing pages.
This site made #5 on The Worst Websites of 2011
Vincent Flanders' comments: Periodically, I'll take a look at an old Daily Sucker to see if it's been fixed. Often, they're fixed. Often, bad elements are just shuffled around like deck chairs on the Titanic. I originally featured Virginia Stucco almost 10 years ago when it had 17,159 visitors. Ten years later there have been 29,451 visitors. If you just saw 29,451 visitors , you wouldn't know if that number were good or bad. Actually, it's bad because it means a little over 3.5 people per day visited the site. On the other hand, if all 3.5 visitors purchased something, it might not be bad. As I often say, “It depends.”
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the 2001 and 2011 versions of the site. You can see that, for the most part, they rearranged deck chairs.
Other comments #1: Now why the HELL would someone want to make it hard to read their contact information? The phone number and address are *flashing* in Firefox.
Other comments #2: I really liked the legal disclaimer at the bottom of the home page:
This site and it's contents are the sole property of Virginia Stucco Co.© unless otherwise noted and are protected by domestic and international copyright laws.
First, learn what the difference is between it's and its. Second, exactly who might ever want to steal anything from this site, I'll never know.
Other comments #3: I just launched 5th generation of our website. Traffic and leads jumped (again). Imagine what these guys could do if they tried.
Vincent Flanders' comments: The State of Utah's new HackTML5-based web site is interesting. It's a marginal Daily Sucker, but it provides an opportunity for us to learn from websites that cost lots of money and are cutting edge. I call it HackTML5 instead of HTML5 because you have to use all sorts of hacks to make HTML5 work. Then again, almost any HTML is hacked to some extent (thank you, Microsoft Internet Exploder).
Vincent Flanders' comments continued: …in Google Chrome, I can't get the bottom menu to stay in place like I can with Firefox 4.
The material on the “Highlights” page scrolls too quickly. I read at a reasonable speed (I yam a kollege gradiate), but I can't keep up.
Clicking on “Highlights” or “in Utah” or “News” brings up a scrolling DIV. It's a nice concept, but it doesn't work that well on my iPad. Why does that matter, because they have a file called ipad.js that's supposed to make the site work on an iPad. It doesn't quite get it right. Here's what they say their site looks like on an iPad and here's what I get on my iPad. Notice the cut-off text at the bottom. It gets worse. When I clicked “in Utah,” this is my screen.
THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE iPAD VERSION is the iPad must be in landscape mode. Putting the iPad in portrait mode causes major problems because the site prevents scrolling (user-scalable=0). Here's what you get for the home page when in portrait mode.
When you click on “in Utah”or “News” and you have a large portrait monitor, you get a repeating background. That sucks. It sucks because when you click “Search” or “Highlights” you don't have the problem.
They'll fix this—probably by the time you read this—but the Education page blows up in Chrome and Firefox, but not IE9. Hmm.
On the plus side, what they've done with content is pretty amazing.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Once again, “Where's the focus?” Dan has so many ads and self-promotional things going on that it's difficult to see where to go. It doesn't help that the contrast sucks on the top horizontal navigation menu so you can't read the links.
I love ads. My old man was in television broadcasting from 1948-1990, so advertising makes me happy. Hell, I even appeared naked on a full-size billboard to promote an ISP where I was employed. But there are limits to advertising and self-promotion. Basically, when your advertising gets in the way of your content, then you've gone too far. Dan's gone too far. If you don't want to visit the site, here's a screen capture.
Other comments: I'll probably remember his name for a day or so.
Restrictions on presentable web page size has a way of eliminating windy and flowery writing.
One should keep in mind that websites grow and it's better to introduce discipline to a website at it's start than to have to go back and refit every old page to a new format.
There is no reason to have a Google search box within the page.
Locating the page links at the top of the page has a way of wringing out oversize useless banners.
Some day it may be useful to construct a book from the narrative on the website, real difficult to do from a 2 inch scroll in an I-Frame,
The first consideration is the speed by which a visitor can view every page of the site. Placing the page links identically at the top of every page makes that possible.
Letter size paper is 855 pixels wide measured in Landscape mode, which allows for printing 4 pages of a book. The most common size flatscreen at the moment is 17", which allows 76 pixel wide thumbnails in the margins. His videos and ads could be combined into one page.
This site made #14 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
This site made #5 on Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011.
Submitter's comments: Be sure to click through – if you can read the funky flashing font.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I'm going to skip the SplashPage and move right to the dreck. It's obvious to everyone but the site owner what's wrong. You can go to StumbleUpon and just about every website you'll find looks better than this one.
Other comments #1: Legible page navigation links placed identically on every page would do wonders.
Other comments #2: Not to mention the tremendous time savings it would be to NOT have to think up a completely new, unrelated to anything else, page structure and background image for each page....
Other comments #3: The image button Predators is spelled as 'Preditors.'
Submitter's comments: No words needed to describe this one.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I can think of a couple of words: big, Microsoft Office, white space, and eight TABLES. According to the Charles Proxy, the home page eats up 3.25Mb of bandwidth and WebPageTest says it takes over 20 seconds to load. It's ugly in a harmless way. On the plus side, the facilities look very, very professional. It's a shame the site doesn't.
Update: They've made some cosmetic changes. They've eliminated most of the pic turds on the home page. Here's a 3Mb screen capture of the way it used to look.
If your company is totally PC, then this site might be sorta-kinda not suitable for work because of photos of female gymnasts. Hell, how would I know what's politically correct? I've spent my whole life embracing the incorrect <grin>.
Other comments #1: Oddly, when I see this site, I see folks who think they can't find/afford a decent web designer. I am then reminded of an exchange between the characters in the movie "The Seven Samurai." Just replace "samurai" with "web designer"; you'll get the idea:
"But will samurai fight for us, just for food?"
"They´re awfuIIy proud! "
"Find hungry samurai!"
"Even bears come out of the forests, when they´re hungry "
There will always be someone who will build you a nice little site for next to nothing, if not free, if you will give them a little blurb on your site. Oshkosh isn't a huge place, but it's big enough to house a few hungry web designers.
Other comments #3: I prefer compact pages to scrolling and long-winded explanations. Compact non-scrolling page design introduces discipline into the website much like a remark box on many blogs, like Youtube. One learns quickly to trim the fat out of the narrative and use up the whitespace. Too bad they don't teach dance, it would be a lot less boring for the kids.
Submitter's comments: I didn't know these sites still existed…
Vincent Flanders' comments: You can always find sites like this at the sucky end of the street. Small text, lack of contrast, an image that's over 100K that's crammed down into a 95 x 86 JPG, a home page entitled “Untitled Document,” animated GIFs whose use make no sense, and plenty of other mistakes.
Other comments #1: How is one supposed to recover by visiting a site which reminds one of the experiences one is attempting to recover from?
Other comments #2: Wow, talk about good intentions gone horribly wrong. Somehow though, it seems that recovery, at least with respect to alcoholism, is not something to market with t-shirts and cartoon characters, right?
Start over; really. This site does your cause no justice whatsoever. Put more thought into your idea, and if you cannot afford to pay a competent designer, many designers would create a simple, tasteful site free of charge with a modest plug for his/her services.
Other comments #3: I never quite figured out what the site is about. I thought it was about rescue dogs as a dog is pictured. Maybe it's for computer file recovery.
There are probably more, but I've probably spent as much time critiquing this site as they probably spent putting it together.
Submitter's comments: The Great Wall is one of the only food choices we have in Maricopa – in my quest to find their menu online, I stumbled upon this glorious site!
I was greeted by this monstrosity of a website. Please be sure to have your sound on to enjoy one of the worst looping MIDIs in the history of MIDIs.
Don't forget to check out the Lunch SPECAILS.
P.S. Their house fried rice really IS delicious.
Vincent Flanders' comments: It's possible the site could induce seizures. Be careful.
I also am fond of COUPON'S (should be “Coupons”). On the “House Specials (spelled correctly) page, the prices are impossible to read. Actually, the prices on all the pages are difficult to read. Didn't anyone look at the site when it was completed?
As someone pointed out, they also have a "Junch" Buffet
This site made #13 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
Submitter's comments: The Products page at Trader Joe's tells us to “Please select your location and we'll show you all the new goodies available.” When you look at the page, you can't tell what you need to do to display the products.
You may want to see if you can figure out how to display the products before reading below.
It is quite counter intuitive as to what to do next because:
1) The page has a cutesy graphic that doesn't really tell you where to go.
2) Where you need to go is two frames up.
3) “Location” for a retail establishment is usually the one closest to you and not the state you happen to live in.
Vincent Flanders' comments: For those of you who learn best by seeing pictures, here's the Trader Joe's page in question, along with an explanation of the problem.
I can't understand how Trader Joe's could make such an amazingly bad mistake. This navigation is so illogical. I'm not going to look at arrows to try to figure out where to go. Put the navigation where it belongs.
This site made #12 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
Submitter's comments: Not a spinning Earth, just a spinning moon with a rising sun.
A reminder of how that term “Flashturbation” got its start. At least they knew they needed to enable us to skip that nonsense.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Well, actually they have a Skip Intro button, but it's at the bottom of my laptop screen and doesn't show up. There are a lot of serious mistakes made here that were documented in Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015.
1. Believing people care about you and your website. Some of the worst writing on the web is on this website.
Breakout Results, LLC is a highly qualified, proven, game-changing leadership team with an unrelenting passion for leading its client companies to a brighter future with higher standards of excellence, robust top-line growth–and superior bottom line performance.
This is crappy, cliche-filled writing and everybody except the authors of this site know it. Visitors to your site want their problems solved. This text is made for the company–not its customers. People don't give a left-handed flying farkle about you, your business, or your mother. They want their problems solved now.
This mission statement crap can be summarized as, “All babies must eat.”
2. A man from Mars can't figure out what your website is about in less than four seconds. I read a lot of the first page. I don't have a clue what these people do and how they can solve my problems.
4. Using design elements that get in the way of the sale. Flash fits the bill.
9. Site lacks Heroin Content. There is nothing on this website that will make me want to come a second time.
13. Misusing Flash. You should read the article, but the bottom line is there's nothing here that couldn't be done better with HTML and CSS.
Other comments #1: Psychobabble (excerpt from from Wikipedia):
…prose using jargon, buzzwords and highly esoteric language to give an impression of plausibility through mystification, misdirection, and obfuscation…
There is so much psychobabble on this site that if you trim away the meaningless drivel you are left with a group of largely blank pages.
Other comments #2: Wow. That sucks so much it's ridiculous. WHAT DOES THIS COMPANY DO?!?!?!
This site made #11 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
This site made #2 on The Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011.
This site made #9 on The Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011.
This site made #1 on The Worst Websites of 2011