The 20 Worst Websites of 2014

The 20 Worst Webites of 2014

This year there's less emphasis on using Over-The-Top websites—mostly because I've separated them into their own document The 12 Worst Over-The-Top Websites of 2014—and started discussing mobile mistakes. This shouldn't be a surprise as the world is seeing a quantifiable move from the desktop to mobile.

Each entry will have an explanation of why it's such a winner, the associated commentary and, of course, a link to the website.

1. CRITICAL PATH | Dynamic Interview Archive

The Number 1 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I think I've found a great candidate for your site with it's Mystery Meat Navigation. It looks like it could be arty, but as it's about the video game industry it probably should be better designed. See what you think.

Vincent Flanders' comments: What purpose does this site serve? As recent article The Core Model: Designing Inside Out for Better Results stated, "In short, websites must be designed from the inside out, with primary focus on the core tasks its users need to accomplish." Or as I've said, "The #1 Biggest Mistake in Web Design is Believing People Care About You And Your Website." This site is one, big circle jerk.

They've made minor adjustments to the site. Originally, the navigation on the home page was even more convoluted. It appeared you had to click on the big letters, but that didn't work. You had to click on the small text to go the the subpage(s). Once you went there you discovered a bunch of unidentified boxes with unidentified people. Even when you moused over a box you still couldn't read the text. I'm not a gamer, so it's difficult for me to comprehend if the gaming community thought this was stupid (for the love of all that is sacred and holy, I hope so) or it's something they're bloviating about (please, God, no).

While they made some changes to the home page like making the big text clickable, but the foundation still sucks. Massively.

CRITICAL PATH | Dynamic Interview Archive

The Honorary Worst Website of 2014 - Paul Graham

The honorary worst website of 2014

Vincent Flanders' comments: The reason this site is honorary is simple. This owner of this site invests money in startups. Basically, he's giving money away today in the hopes of a bigger payout tomorrow.

When you have money to "give away" people will crawl through the sewer and tell you your website is the most wonderful website in the world. Proof? Here's my horrifically sucky version of the Gates Foundation website. Guess what? Nobody cares what it looks like as long as the visitors can get at the money.

If the site wasn't about getting at Mr. Graham's money and it were a "real" website where you are trying to get customers or provide services, it would suck. Old school style.

Paul Graham

2. HIM Clothing

The Number 2 Worst Website of 2014

Submitters' comments: This site for some reason adopts the confusing scrolling and awful HTML5 seen in you worst of 2013′s website 1927 Events. The photos are great quality but the site navigation is nothing short of abysmal.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I just love the fact that there's no logo. On my MacBook Pro, all I see is blank, white screen. On a desktop portrait monitor, the navigation ends up at the bottom of the screen. Navigation should be at the top of the page or on the right- or left-side of the screen. There's plenty of room for the navigation and you won't mess up our pensive Pretty Boy Floyd's hair. This is the 2014 stereotypical website.

Run their URL at and you'll see how long the page takes to load (6.5 seconds for the first byte and 36 seconds to achieve "Document Complete" status

HIM Clothing

3. University of Advancing Technology

The Daily Sucker - an example of bad web design

Submitter's comments: I would like to submit a local university. For a technology and design school, it's terrible.

If you open it up with most IE browsers you can barely navigate it. Once in the website you're brought to another website that, on occasion, doesn't look like the one you started with. These are remnants of our old site they have yet to change. Just click on Admissions > How to Apply from the main site for an example.

Not only is the home page terrible to navigate (floaty degrees above the head are hard to see), but once inside you can barely find the information or forms you need. Then there are multiple pages with outdated information or just different information from other pages.

Vincent Flanders' comments: The best thing I can say about the website is it doesn't use Flash, but that's like saying “Vincent, for a fat boy you don't sweat much.” I agree, of course, with our submitter; this site is pretty horrendous. But I want to talk about what's under the hood—a festering pile of crap that's screwing up the visitor's experience. When I ran the Web Design Degree page through, I got the waterfall from hell. It took almost 4 seconds for the page to start loading. (If the page isn't cached, here's a screenshot) Oh, it's also 21Mb!!!! The home page, I believe, is ~30Mb. That's right 30Mb. It gets better. I ran the Web Design Degree through Google's PageSpeed Insights program and the page scored 7/100 on mobile devices and 12/100 on the desktop when I originally measured the site. Now (01-08-15), it's 34/100 on mobile and 44/100 on the desktop. Good, but hardly good enough.

BTW, I hate the name. “Advancing” Technology? WTF? You don't need “Advancing” because it's implied. What it implies is there must be a University of Retreating Technology and that's why there's a need for a University of Advancing Technology—or UAT, as in “Where U AT?” (Forgive me.)

It's a pretty messed up site. Reminds me of my site except they have squandered a lot of design talent.

University of Advancing Technology

4. Center for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies Greek Pottery Collection

The Number 4 Worst Website of 2014

Vincent Flanders' comments: Back in October 2014, I said that we have our #1 Contender for Worst Website of 2014. Well, it ended up as #4.

It pains me deeply because I majored in Classics at Wabash College. I realize these may be flash cards (properly: Flash flash cards), but they are always in the same position. Not a great learning technique.

Some of the issues are:

  • Mystery Meat Navigation
  • Flash – doesn't work on mobile.

Center for Interdisciplinary Artefact Studies Greek Pottery Collection

5. Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

The Number 5 Worst Website of 2014

Vincent Flanders' comments: There has been a lot of positive press around the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine's (IAWM) grabbing of its 4 billionth web page. Well, it should be negative press. The Wayback Machine does a crappy job of grabbing pages. It's a freaking joke. I know you don't believe it, but I'm restraining my condemnation of this sh*t-hole website.

Here's The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association's home page back in May 2012 per the Wayback Machine. What a sucky job. There are graphics that didn't get captured. Oh. Here's the Wayback Machine's first capture of the website from June 1, 1997. Sucks. IAWM claims the problem is with the site's using robots.txt file to exclude graphics. I don't know if this is true. If it is, then why are you grabbing the pages? They're worthless without images.

Actually, I hate to hesitate to call these people liars, but I went to a recent Daily Sucker (MGBD Parts and Services) and looked for their robots.txt file and didn't find one. It could be hidden (and it's also a WordPress-based site) so maybe they're telling the truth. However, Google doesn't like graphics and text to be hidden by robots.txt and I can't imagine any website would hide pictures on purpose (I can't see anybody hotlinking because they want the images on their website). If you go to the IAWM 2014 MGBD capture page, you'll see some pictures came through and others didn't.

I don't know what is causing the problems, but whatever is going on really makes the site useless.

Here's a helpful hint. If you don't want your site archived by IAWM, there's a page that explains what to do.

Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

6. Alfred Sung Eyewear

The Number 6 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I just had the interesting experience of trying to find a pair of glasses on the Alfred Sung website. I lasted about three mouse clicks into the site and then was too puzzled to continue, so I thought I'd send the site to you instead. Here is yet another example of not only confusing Mystery Meat Navigation, but also a useless, pointless, unnecessarily annoying Flash menu system. Really? You needed Flash for this?

All I wanted was to complete a simple task: look at their catalogue of frames to see if I could find a replacement for the pair of Alfred Sung glasses that I used to own and loved and happened to accidentally destroy last week. I have a general idea of the design I want (in fact, I even had a model number on the old frames that I was hoping I could look up). I expected I could go to their site and say, “Hey, show me all the women's half-frames you've got and I'll probably give you some money.” As a bonus, I was hoping they might even tell me what retailers in my geographic region carried their frames. The site didn't really allow me to do any of that.

I have no idea what all those little square buttons on the main site are for and why they are just showing me random pictures of models instead of telling me something useful, and I can't really be bothered to click on them all to find out. After a moment or two I realized there's a tiny little, not-well contrasted link on the bottom right saying “Collections”. Call me crazy, but if you're selling eyeglasses your clientele probably doesn't see very well and you might want to make your text easier to find and read. So I clicked on “Collections” and got… something? I think this is a perfume ad on a eyewear website? I thought I was going to get some eyeglasses collection?

According to that ad, I must be in love with Alfred Sung… well maybe, but I'm definitely not in love with their site.

Other comments #1: The web designer, marketing manager, and Flash developer should all be dragged outside and flogged. It's been a while since a sucker has made me feel that way. Flash, MMN, lack of words, multiple different products that all resolve to index.php

Vincent Flanders' comments: The Mystery Meat Navigation on Sung's home page is really, really awful. As the submitter stated, Flash is used on the home page and my Firefox browser is set up to not display Flash, so there's nothing.

As the submitter correctly noted, the site isn't useful. It's really just a badly built advert.

Alfred Sung Eyewear


7. id-inspire

The Number 7 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: While I was researching training providers in the northeast of Scotland, I was recommended to check out a company called ID Inspire.  A quick Google search brought up the above website. After clicking the link on Google and it trying to open an application(?!), I decided to enter the URL manually.

I still have no idea if this is the company I am looking for, or what on earth this company actually does.  All I can say is ‘Mystery Meat Lorem Ipsum…"

Vincent Flanders' comments: It's back-to-school season here in the Pacific Northwest and in most parts of the world. Web design classes are in full swing and it's the time when a young designer's fancy turns to “How can I create a website that really, really sucks?” It doesn't bother me that there isn't an content other than Lorem Ipsum. What bothers me is the Mystery Meat Navigation. Why do you think your visitors want to guess how to get to your products / services / whatever you're selling?

The good news is there's “still time to change the road you're on.”

Other comments: Ah, Vincent, a little Led Zeppelin reference in the morning... I thought only weightier matters of philosophy and religion were truly incomprehensible; now I am beginning to wonder. Also, I cannot understand how someone would have recommended this site for anything but complete befuddlement. 

Still, in all fairness, it looks like someone is simply having a little fun with WordPress, and the recommendation of ID Inspire was an honest mistake


8. Business Insider on the iPad

The Number 8 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: Total waste of time. Never mind the click-bait aspect. The site owners are obviously only into the ad-grab not information as the name implies. So much is trying to load it regularly crashes. This is after waiting through ads that regularly lock up the screen. The result is you get to wait again. Read through half the page….crash. Wait, reload, crash. LOL!

This site says it is one of the top business-related websites as measured by traffic.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I belong to the camp that really likes Business Insider. Heck, I even share some of their stories on my Facebook page. In the past, there have been problems with their mobile app. They've fixed the biggest problem: tapping the back button caused the home page to reload instead of going back to where your story was located. There are a lot of articles whose connection to business is tenuous, at best, but I visit the site 2-3 times per day.

I don't doubt the crashing and locking up problems still occur on some devices. Not sure which. Why I made it a sucker is the repeating stories. This happens when you're finished reading an article and hit Back. It's sporadic so it's not completely reproducible when you want to show it. This screenshot (1.36Mb) shows three stories that were repeated on the home page.

Another problem? Videos that don't show up, leaving a gaping white space in the middle of the page. This is a common problem on mobile devices. The following screenshot was captured on an iPhone, but the principle is the same. (The next entry, The Wall Street Journal, gives a better example.)

Where's the video

Pretty incredible video.

Business Insider (on the iPad)

9. Wall Street Journal

The Number 9 Worst Website of 2014

Vincent Flanders' comments: What in the name of God is wrong with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)? I'm on my iPad reading a Facebook post by Jason Isbell where he mentions that the WSJ has his new video Super 8 Motel. Cool. I click the link and scroll down. There's no freaking video. Why? Because the WSJ is using Flash, which Steve Jobs killed off. You can't view Flash on iPhones or iPads. EVERYBODY but the WSJ knows this. You can search Google to find a billion (slight exaggeration) articles on how to serve both Flash and Apple video formats.

As I originally wrote, "This is the type of error that could be quickly fixed, so check soon." It was fixed, but I have the evidence.

Wall Street Journal

10. The Clove Club

The Number 10 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I've been reading your site occasionally the past years. It's always good for a laugh. This website that I encountered today contains Mystery Meat Navigation and ultra slow fade-ins and fade-outs. Very “fancy.” It makes me not want to eat there, even though it's supposed to be a really good restaurant!

Vincent Flanders' comments: The only good thing about the site is that it's NOT Flash-based. The centered, itsy-bitsy type should drive visitors crazy. What are they thinking?

The Clove Club

11. SpeedCrunch

The Number 11 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: This used to have more information on it. I'm pretty sure he just didn't find it necessary to have any after a while, but that doesn't help new users who want to know what the software is and does.

Vincent Flanders' comments: Semi-hemi-demi-coherent Mystery Meat Navigation. The top three items are easy to figure out, but the symbols on the bottom aren't. The RSS symbol on the bottom left actually takes you to what should be the home page. The image at the bottom right takes you to GitHub, the code repository.


12. Canada: A Creative Nation

The Number 12 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I stumbled upon something so unbelievably bad, well, I still can't believe it. It's the new site “Canada: A creative nation” made by the government of Canada.

Usually, you would expect an official government web site to at least look professional. This one illustrates perfectly how, when you try to “be creative,” breaking all usability and web design principles is a great way to distinguish yourself… indeed, this is a unique site, one that all Canadians can be proud of. :-)

Try the French version as well as the English one, so you get to appreciate this wonderful site in both of our official languages. By the way, none of the links a the bottom of the page are working…. some link to ‘#”, some link to non existing pages… nice :-)

Vincent Flanders' comments: Oh boy. It's bad enough it takes forever to load, but then you get some good old skeuomorphic web design. Like we're idiots or something. Please take a look at the subpages and try to navigate in the rooms.

Google's PageSpeed doesn't like how the mobile version of the site performs, giving it a 39/100. I wonder when Google will start penalizing these types of Pages.

Other comments #1: It took about 45 seconds to load on my fiber optic connection - probably a fluke, but unacceptable if it were anything more than a mere 10% of that. The other thing that bothers me is that the site just looks rather childish and unprofessional. 

I didn't go any deeper into the site simply because of the problems right at the beginning.

Other comments #2: Slow here too, and the loading spinner is mesmerizing, might make me hypnotized. And found un-reduced images inside like a 1500px wide image that should be 350.

Canada: A Creative Nation

13. Mediatek

The Number 13 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: In order to install the USB wireless module that came bundled with the purchase of my home desktop, but not installed by the store, I needed the driver from the manufacturer. After rtfm'ing the motherboard manual and using Google to track down the company name and part number, I found the installer file and downloaded it. That was pretty easy to do. Their download section was reasonable to navigate.

Then I decided to check out their home page. My first thought was, it needed to be submitted to WPTS. After clicking the [Read More] buttons, the-sub pages look more reasonable to use. But scrolling down that home page gave me a less than positive first impression, especially after reading your Daily Suckers. It does look like the company makes good stuff, though. And the wireless works fine.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I realize parallax scrolling is all the rage today and FU, very much, Nike for making this technique popular. This page provides a good example of how the technique works and how to implement it. I mention it because it's implementation is much better than Mediatek's. The problem with parallax scrolling in Mediatek's case and with many other sites is the lack of contrast between the text and background. Visitors need to read the text. If they can't, why will they stay?

In the abstract to The Effects Of Parallax Scrolling On User Experience And Preference In Web Design the author states, “…advocates of the technique argue that it also improves the overall user experience.” After conducting tests the author states, “The finding revealed that although parallax scrolling enhanced certain aspects of the user experience, it did not necessarily improve the overall user experience.” Drop the technique.

NEW: What really sucks is the tablet graphic that is supposed to act as the "Go To Top" button. Guess what? The graphic is just reloads the whole page. Anchor tag anyone?

On the other hand, the website looks quite nice on my iPad Air.


14. Taco Mayo

The Number 14 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: OK, this is a bad, BAD idea. I love their food – but the fact that music plays when you visit their website, not so much.

Vincent Flanders' comments: Music? What Music? <grin> I have Flash disabled in my browser. When I used another browser I got to hear the music as the page loaded. Don't autoplay music on your website. Actually, don't have music on your site unless you're in the music business.

Taco Mayo makes an even worse mistake. If you go to a page like “Nutrition” and then click the home link, the music starts all over again.

Taco Mayo

15. BJC

The Number 1 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: After looking at this site, I don't feel like I would want to have orthopedic surgery at this facility. Personally I would suggest a clean minimalist design, and not use the animated the-dye thing going on in the header.
And for a tour of an operating room, I can't open this in Safari, this should work across all browsers.

Vincent Flanders' comments: Looks to me like the patient is suffering from early 2000-style web design. Hire two designers and call me in the morning. Actually, the home page I checked Last-Modified date for the home page and discovered it was November 12, 2009. The Home Page!!!!

Flash is used for the header and, of course as we all know, Flash doesn't show up on mobile. The virtual tours are a mess. They work on some systems and not others. Hey guys! There have been a lot of improvements in web design since 2009.

Other comments #1: Bring on the F-4's armed with napalm; there is no hope for this site. Get good designers/developers who can provide a modern, respectable concept, and rebuild from scratch.

Other comments #2: Chrome says "VLC plug-in needs your permission to run". Same message for Quicktime.


16. Cesar Chavez for Congress 2014

The Number 16 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I was watching the Colbert Report tonight and he had a segment on a two-time loser GOP candidate in Arizona who changed his name from Scott Fistler to Cesar Chavez. Oh. He also changed his party affiliation to Democrat in a heavily Hispanic district. Colbert made fun of him for the usual reasons, one of which was the wannabe Congressman had pictures on his website of all these pro-Chavez marchers carrying signs saying things like “Viva Chavez,” which implies some kind of endorsement for Fistler-Chavez. Turns out the signs weren't for him—or the real Cesar Chavez—but HUGO Chavez, the late socialist president of Venezuela.

You've said you hate all politicians, but this is just too much.

Vincent Flanders' comments: Too much for a politician? Hmm. That will be the day. For my foreign readers who may not be aware of the real Cesar Chavez, here's a Wikipedia link.

Because he was found out, the Fistler-Chavez home page has changed. Luckily, The Arizona Capital Times website has a background story, a screen shot of the old Fistler-Chavez home page in question and a video I couldn't get YouTube to load.

A website is supposed to be truthful. If it isn't…well, you know the answer to that. This site wasn't truthful. It isn't even informative. His Google+ “About” page doesn't really say anything. To say there's too much white space is an understatement (something I'm not known for) and he's got a damn globe for the background image.

Mr. Fistler-Chavez wants to have it both ways, but we have a saying here in America, “You can't have your cake and eat it (too).” Or should I say, “Usted no puede tener su pastel y comérselo también” (according to Google Translate <grin>).

Here's the newspaper's screenshot of the old site

Here's the current site for Cesar Chavez for Congress 2014

17. Order of Exorcists

The Number 17 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: For a site belonging to actual exorcists, the demons need to be driven out from their design!

1. Gratuitous usage of Flash.

2. Sound effects.

3. Bad layout, colors, and fonts.

4. Objects moving for no reason.

5. The “Demonic Investigation Kit” does not include your book!

Vincent Flanders' comments: What's really, really amusing is the mobile version of the website is, at least, usable. You can see a representation of the mobile website here. I would like to know the algorithm Wix used to turn the home page into the mobile version. It left out a lot of “content.” And by content I mean wildly colored text.

I included it here instead of The Worst

Order of Exorcists

18. TW Steel

The Number 18 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: TW Steel make fancy watches We have pointless Flash intros, a strange “See the world of Watches/See the world of TW steel” round link thing that follows the cursor around, and in the see the world of TW steel bit -some showy hidey Mystery Meat Navigation madness.

I didn't like it. Maybe you won't either.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I don't like it either, which is sad because I really like watches. KidsToday (and many AdultsToday) don't realize many watches were extremely expensive (except watches like Timex). When I graduated from high school last century my parents bought me “a decent watch” for $150. There were no digital watches. You had to wind them to keep them going. In today's dollars, the watch would cost $1,100. No wonder my old many lectured me about not losing the watch.

Ironically, the mobile version of TW Steel's website looks and works a lot better than the Flash-based desktop version.

The Store Locater is a total joke. For “Country” I put USA and for “City” I put Vancouver. I was given a big map and after looking at it I couldn't tell if there was a store in the area. I don't think there is one, but why doesn't it tell me that instead of giving me a map and having me try to see if there's a store in the area. This massively, massively sucks.

TW Steel

19. Thorn Ford Dental Laboratory

The Number 19 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: New dental laboratory website in my area. I think its horrible. What does websitethatsucks think?

Vincent Flanders' comments: I think you found The Daily Sucker for August 8, 2014.

One of the problem with white links on a black background is what color do you make the :hover Selector. Like most websites, Thorm Ford screws it up worse than most. They blur out the links. Mouse over the down arrow and you'll discover the sublinks are BLURRED OUT so you can't read them! On my 1200px-wide monitor, you have to horizontally scroll.

I don't remember ever seeing a mobile score of ZERO on Google's PageSpeed Insights results before today's gem. On this screenshot of the mobile version of their Services page, you can see how unreadable the page is.

Today (01-11-15), the mobile score zoomed up to 32. Whee.

Thorn Ford Dental Laboratory

20. Mortimer Lumber

The Number 20 Worst Website of 2014

Submitter's comments: I was looking for a saw for a weekend project when I stumbled on the website of a local lumber store. First thing that caught my attention was the animated background behind a couple images on the home page. The overall design looks like something from the '90s. The home page is nothing but a list of different product categories arranged in a table, with more lists of brands they carry for each category. I thought clicking on a brand name would show products they sell, but it just links to the manufacturer's website. When I finally noticed a link to actually shop it took me to another website that listed more product categories, which was even harder to read. Clicking a product category there reveals another page with a list of more product categories, and is even harder to read. I just bought the saw at a local branch of a large chain store.

Vincent Flanders' comments: I think that covers it. If visitors can't find what they need, they will leave.

Mortimer Lumber