Have you ever come across a website that’s so horrible, so impossible to navigate, so ugly, that you shudder at just the memory? (If you’ve completely blocked out the experience, I understand.) No doubt there were red and yellow flashing banners, mixed fonts, buttons everywhere, and too many animated gifs. Oh my! You probably hit the “back” button before the page could even load.
Well, there’s plenty of ugly websites out there. You have to be careful. You never know when one’s going to pop up. We wrote about Ling’s Cars in an earlier post. That site has to be seen to be believed, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Recently, I came across the world’s worst website ever. That’s actually the domain name. theworldsworstwebsiteever.com.
It’s intentionally ugly, which puts it in a realm of its own. I’m not sure if it lives up to its name or not; there are some pretty ugly sites out there. But then again, it promises that Version 2 will be even uglier. Oh dear!
One of the cool things about this site is that it was built by designers who know better. They even made a list of all the bad design desisions they made on the site. For example:
- Header graphic is pixelated and over-optimized.
- Transparency in header graphic is overdone.
- Multiple font colors used in “ever”
- Animated stars (all animated gifs are generally a bad idea)
- Under construction graphics should never be used
- The notice “Under Construction” should almost never be used, especially on the homepage
- “<–” and other text-based markers/graphics are a faux pas in design
- This page, filenamed “new_page_1.htm” indicates poor file naming and organization
- “Main Menu” shouldn’t exist; if people don’t know what a main menu is, they shouldn’t be on the web
- Teenie-bopper spellings such as “kewl” should never be used on any professional website
What can we learn from ugly websites?
Well, one of the key components of a ugly website is clutter and lack of consistency. Clutter often happens slowly over time and it can be exacerbated by using inconsistent fonts or colors. As a rule of thumb try not to use more than 5 to 7 colors on your site and stick to just 1 or 2 fonts.
Clutter happens before you even realize it. (You should see my room. I have no idea how it got that way.) One of the ways to avoid too much clutter is to keep your homepage as clean as possible. There’s no reason you need to put all your content on your homepage. Create pages and sub-pages for your stuff and you’ll end up with a much cleaner site. Whenever you have an urge to add something new, ask yourself if it really needs to be on the front page. If it does, simply swap it out with something else. Just make sure that your homepage is clean and simple and has a good call-to-action. That is, unless you want to compete with theworldsworstwebsiteever.com. In which case, best of luck!
What web design choices drive you batty? Let us know in the comments below.