The Worst Websites of 2011:
Third Quarter Contenders
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're already into Q4 and I've just put up Q2's Worst Website Contenders. Adding the "How These Sites Relate to Your Website" section to Q2's entries took a great deal of extra time.
My wife: "You know that link you sent me? They want me to register."
Vincent Flanders' comments: That isn't helpful. "That link you sent me" tells me nothing. Fortunately, I went and asked her, "What link?" Turns out the link was for a new food site called Gojee.
Basically, you have to register before you can use the website. Yes, I know there are links, but they're not terribly informative. The "About Us" link tells you it's a food site that has a lot of writers, pretty pictures and if you tell them what food and food-related items you have in your cupboard, they'll come up with a recipe suggestion.
I thought the "register before you can get content" concept was dead. I even thought about removing it from Does Your Web Site Suck? Checklist #1. Good thing I didn't.
BTW, they've got some talented back-end people who are performing all sorts of web-page loading magic to keep this site so snappy. Gojee is also using Kissmetrics to help "Identify, understand, and improve the metrics that drive your online business." Good idea.
In case you they change the site (and with Kissmetrics they might do that if their tests tell them to change), so here's a screenshot of the Gojee home page. It's very tasty.
DAAAM International Vienna
Submitter's comments: My husband works for a scientific institution and couldn't believe it when he encountered this website. It's very hard to believe that this website is for an "intellectual" organization!
Scroll down to see what they added to the bottom of their site—"We apologize for any inconvenience."—I guess they want to apologize in advance for giving people seizures!
Vincent Flanders' comments: One of the things that bothers me about programmers—and other really smart folks—is they believe that because they're an expert in one area (programming, let's say) they are experts in all areas. I might tone it down a bit and say they believe they're expert in many other areas. I think that's what happened with today's Daily Sucker. They think they're web designers.
Frankly, I'm stunned. If you told me that an organization like this would have a site that uses animated images, 1990's background image, pictures with white backgrounds on top of the yellow background, scaled images on subpages, tables and a whole bunch of other web design mistakes, I wouldn't have believed you. The biggest of these "other mistakes" is the site doesn't look professional and people don't want to deal with you.
In some browsers, the graphics don't even show up (Firefox 5 , Safari and IE9), but do show up in Google Chrome.
This organization reminds me of another one that I saved as a YouTube video—The International Association of Glaucoma Societies. That site was a classic.
Web Performance Today
Vincent Flanders' comments: Back on July 4, I discussed a stupid web design feature I found on musician Robbie Robertson's website. Here's what I said:
Go to Robbie's images from the 1970's page. Take a look at the first photo entitled, "The Last Waltz." Click on the picture. What do you get? Well, not what you're expecting. If you're like me, you think you'll get a bigger version of the picture; otherwise, why is there a link? No. You get the same picture at the same size. What?
Today's sucker is a little bit worse. Web Performance Today ran a very interesting and important article: Fourth-party calls: What you don't know can hurt your site… and your visitors (make sure you read the article). In the middle of the page you'll see a 480- x 352-pixel graphic (here's a screenshot). If you click the picture to see the larger version, you get a slightly larger 667- x 486-pixel graphic that you really can't read.
If you're going to make an image bigger, make it big enough to read and understand.
This site made #1 on The Worst Website Navigation of 2011.
14 Websites We Don't Even… Plus 6 That Are New To Web Pages That Suck
Thes sites made #10 on Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011
Vincent Flanders' comments: The Huffington Post recently ran the article 14 Websites We Don't Even… Thanks to author Craig Malamut for referencing and linking to Web Pages That Suck. Eight of the 14 sites were originally featured on WPTS and Malamut knows how to pick the worst of my worst. In fact, he has a very good eye for very bad web design and his commentary has just the right amount of snarkiness. Kudos. The other six sites he selected are pretty freaking awful. I'm going to skip one site that seems like a personal site and honor him with submitting the other five as excellent candidates for Worst Website of 2011.
I Kiss You
Historian of the Future
George R. R. Martin
This site made #10 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
Jeff Rense Program
This site made #6 on Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011.
Site With the Worst Performance Score – Jack Laurie
Submitter's comments: Enjoy.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Personally, I prefer more commentary when submitters send in a site; however, I'll overlook the dearth of analysis because I've finally been shown a website that reaches zero on the Page Speed performance index. Briefly, Page Speed "evaluates the performance of web pages and get suggestions on how to improve them." Today's Daily Sucker needs a lot of improving.
If you look at the screenshot I took of the Page Speed score for the site's home page, you'll see it's 12 (out of 100). The major problem is the site improperly scales images. The site wastes almost 2Mb because they take an image that's 2738 x 1353 pixels and use HTML to fit in a 544 x 400 pixel space. The site uses the same technique on seven other images on the home page..
Interestingly, Page Speed Online gives the site a score of zero. That's right. Zero. Houston, we've hit bottom. There's probably an interesting story on the different scores, but it's too hard to find anyone at Google to speak with. Yslow, another performance test product from Yahoo!, gives the home page a score of B (84). Obviously, these two programs think certain performance issues are more important than others.
The site has a whole host of other problems. No logo. Centered text on the home page, but flush-left text on the Speaker page (possibly others), an animated globe (why?), underscored text that isn't a link, a lack of navigation and other issues.
<ADHD moment>IE 9 doesn't seem to handle named anchor text correctly. When you click the scales images link, you don't end up at the correct spot.</ADHD moment>.
Submitter's comments: Flash and music. What's not to like?
Vincent Flanders' comments: I love bad design because there's always a new way to screw up a website. Today's Daily Sucker has found a new way to screw up Flash. Seriously. It's a new way.
The home page takes forever to load. Of course it does because it's a 3.55Mb file. Here's the part I've never ever seen before: All that shows up on the screen is the message "Play Intro." Seriously. It would be fine if the choices were—you know what I'm going to say—"Play Intro" and "Skip Intro." Of course you knew the right way to handle the Splash page. Actually the right way to handle a Splash Page is not to have one. Think about it. You wouldn't have to load 3.55Mb that nobody really wants to see. I clicked the Skip Intro button as soon as I could find it and I'm sure everybody else does—unless they hit the back button or close the window and find a site that makes sense.
When I clicked the "Home" button I expected to be taken back to the Splash Page. No, there's actually content there. Most people will not click it for much the same reason. The button really should be called "Who We Are."
The "About Us" button should be called "What We Do." The content of the "Services" button seems to be short on contrast and very short on paragraph leading.
Bear Ridge Speedway
NOTE: Looks like it's been fixed.
Submitter's comments: It's a web page for a local race track and their web page design is among the worst I've ever seen.
First, you have to scroll left / right to see all the text on the screen. Secondly, the ridiculous use of colored text throughout the website makes it nearly impossible to figure out what's a link and what isn't. Third, the images used are ridiculously low resolution and include a ZOOM feature! Fourth, the ‘gallery' is impossible to navigate. The list goes on. This truly is terrible web design and a page that deserves a spot on Web Pages That Suck. Really bad.
Vincent Flanders' comments: You do have to scroll if your screen's resolution is 1024 x 768 pixels. My window is 1216 x 1896 pixels and I don't have to scroll. On the other hand, the way text is used is frustrating. Click on "News." I'd give you the URL, but I can't because the site was created in Flash. Like Freddie, Flash is dead on non-game-based websites.
It's extremely frustrating to view the Rules page. I can give you a link because it's an unmarked PDF. When you look at it, you'll be stunned. Instead of using a PDF, the document should have been an HTML document.
This site made #17 on The Worst Websites of 2011.
Pick Your Own
Submitter's comments: Comic Sans alone would be enough but the ugly colors and confusing menus and "cram everything on the home page" philosophy just offends me. Someone needs to be taught what a menu is
Vincent Flanders' comments: Comic Sans? People are still using this font? If you don't think this it's aesthetically wrong to use this font, check Google. The home page rated a 41 (one of the lowest scores I've seen) on Page Speed, which tells me that Page Speed is actually got some cojones.
The information they provide is quite helpful and, with just a little work, this site could be presentable.
Richards Brothers Seafood
Submitter's comments: Behold…
Vincent Flanders' comments: I'm almost speechless. The site sucks as much as my tennis skills (I've never played); however, I believe this site has the worst trailing cursor on the internet.
Staples tells me "That's Easy" when website is unavailable
Vincent Flanders' comments: I went to Staples and searched for "stickers."
This site made #8 on the The 20 Worst Websites of 2011.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Since this type of mistake is easily fixed, I've provided a video and a screenshot.
If you don't want to see the video, here's a screen capture showing the problem.
Global Economics in Perspective
This site made #8 on the Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011
Low Price Skates
This site made #18 on The 20 Worst Websites of 2011.
The Dee Buchanan Studio of Dance
Submitter's comments: I was looking at some local businesses sites earlier, and this one made me boggle.
It's like they went, "Oh, that top line of photos look great!" and just started throwing them around everywhere on top of each other like a vomit of dance photos and photos of low-contrast text. And then I checked the source code, and boggled more.
I know it's just a small-town dance school, but damn, even the town corn maze has a better page than that.
Vincent Flanders' comments: There are a lot of interesting problems.
- The home page TITLE tag is "Home."
- My monitor is 1200 pixels wide and you have to horizontally scroll to see everything because the page is cut off.
- The logo might be professionally made, but it's white. I can't really see it that well.
- They're not a non-profit so they shouldn't have a mission statement on the home page. The good news is the mission statement is at the bottom and it's hard to read because the text is white.
- They didn't look to see what the home page looks like in the Chrome browser. The page is broken, with some sections overlapping others. It's also broken in Firefox 5.
- Images have non-SEO-friendly names like image3461.jpg.
- They used some Microsoft Office program to generate the HTML.
Submitter's comments: I'm not sure what to make of this beast. It's so ugly I sort of want to
keep looking at it because sooner or later, maybe I'll "get it." At the
present moment, I don't.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I don't know if it's ugly. It seems misguided. My problems start at the very beginning—the company name and tagline. Atomic Data: Simple, Safe, Smart. When I read those words I think, "Nuclear, Complex, Explosive, Dangerous, Japan, Boom." Nobody outside the nuclear industry thinks "Simple, Safe, Smart" when they think "at0mic."
Instead of getting the feeling I'm looking at a data center and a cloud, I feel I'm looking at a nuclear reactor. That's not a good impression. The yellow motif consciously makes me think "emergency." Yellow is the wrong color for this site. Blue would work much better. Almost any color except yellow and red.
The home page Lightshow conveyor belt is very annoying. I should know. I've used them here and annoyed lots of people. Almost as many as my slow-sliding elevator menus <grin>. When I go to the TV page, I don't see anything relating to video. The conveyor belt goes too fast and it's too hard to stop where you want to stop.
On the other hand, I like the fact the PDFs are identified.
This site made #3 on The 20 Worst Websites of 2011.
Submitter's comments: I came across this, the website of famous British actress Lesley Joseph, and I have to say I think it's the worst, most pointless website I've ever seen.
Vincent Flanders' comments: It's really pretty amazing. A small text logo—on the right side, but directly across from a graphic that you think would contain a real logo. I assume the large empty space at the top is for a banner ad, but right now it's large and empty. It's also difficult to read her last name because it conflicts with the background.
My favorite part is her comments on the mid-right side:
Do not be fooled, this is the real Lesley Joseph official website. I am an English actress and am starring in The Vagina Monologues!
I wonder if the fake Lesley Joseph has a better-looking unofficial website.
Mike Rowe Works
This site made #4 on The Worst Website Navigation of 2011.
This site made #6 on The Worst Website Navigation of 2011.
Geral W. Sosbee vs FBI
This site made #3 on Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2011.
Obedient Sons & Daughters
Submitter's comments: A complete disaster in every sense of the word. What do you do when a potential client sends this to you as a reference? Puff puff pass until it looks good? (Didn't work by the way.) Swallow my pride to put food on the table? Hell no! Cost me less to pass up the job than to be in therapy for the next 3 years. I may still have nightmares of floating objects whirling by my face.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Only the fact that it's a site for a clothing line keeps me from pulling out whatever hair my grandson hasn't already pulled out of my head (it's cute when a 5-month old is doing the pulling). It's cute when fashion boys and girls create these type of "sites" (events? whatever). It's not cute if anyone out there has a real business—one that knows the difference between appearance and reality—and pulls this crap.
Interesting choice of a name for a business. I thought I was going to be sent to some religious cult.
This site made #6 on The 20 Worst Websites of 2011
Carousel Design Works
Submitter's comments: My husband is into mountain biking and bike-packing and has been shopping for bike bags lately. He loves the products made by Carousel Design Works…or he probably would if he could order them. I present you the product site that won't let you buy products.
This is a great example of sucking. At first glance it seems like this is a really nice site…but I dare you to try and buy something…seriously, you can't do it. What's the point of showing off your awesome products if no one can order them? All they have is a Flickr page with photos of the great things that you can't have. My husband finally found a PDF download of their "order form" and most of the items m are sold out and there's no info on how to actually place an order.
What a strange company website. Maybe one day we'll get to own one of their fantastic bags, if we can just find a dang "Buy Now" button somewhere on the site…even a phone number or other directions for ordering would be good, but you're not going to find that here.
Oh, and just to make it better the blog has one post that's been there since the site's inception. Way to go Carousel Design Works, you did a good job creating a whole bunch of nothing. I guess we'll buy our bags somewhere else.
Thanks for listening to my rant
Vincent Flanders' comments: It's not a rant if you're right. I tried to figure out how to buy something. I found how much items cost, but no link to buy. I spent about five minutes in my search—which is 4 minutes 40 seconds too long.
I don't understand what's going on. Maybe it's a northern California wine country thing.