Worst Websites

What We Learn From The Worst of the Web

Worst WebsitesThere are some amazing websites on the internet. There are also some amazingly bad websites out there, and wow are they stinkers. I’m not talking the strange and bizarre sites like www.omfgdogs.com that are so bad they’re ironically good. I’m talking about corporate and small business sites that a team of web managers looked at and said “Yeah. Yeah, this is what we want.”

The good news is, there’s a lot to learn from the cringe-worthy results. For some reason, a lot of people (myself included) have trouble truly believing advice until I’ve seen the results myself. My guess is that a few of you are in the same boat.

So, let’s take a journey through some of the worst of the worst, and hopefully along the way we’ll discover a few things to make our own sites a little better.

First Impressions Are Everything

From the moment a user logs on to your website, you have somewhere between ten seconds and half a second to win their approval. That’s not much time, which is why a few of these sites below fall into the spectacularly ineffective category.

Argren.net is one example of a site that doesn’t make an amazing first impression. The first word that comes to mind after opening the home page is “chaos”. The second word is “headache”. The site doesn’t make it clear what they do, what they offer, or how a user should navigate. If anything, it looks like every pop-up ad from the early 2000’s is organizing for an all-out assault.

What’s the Deal With The GIFs?

Remember the movie The Room? Or the movie that told the story of The Room, The Disaster Artist? The Room is widely regarded as the worst movie ever made, and its website follows in its footsteps. TheRoomMovie.com boasts a home page that is long and confusing, waaaaay too many GIF animations, and a red on black font design that makes the whole page a chore to read. The subpages also open in new windows (like pop-up ads), which makes the page very difficult to navigate. But knowing the movie… it’s possible this was all on purpose.

Stay on Brand

Another problem some websites face is simply going off-brand, like this example from the Yale School of Art. The page is a wiki, which means that individual users contribute to content rather than one central manager, so that may be partly to blame for the layout. But when you are advertising a product attached to a name as well-established as the Yale brand, you might want to make sure the design conveys the same amount of… competency.

Intros Are Out

There was a time when the sign of a good website was a flash intro animation, splash screen, and menu music. Fortunately, that time only lasted about a year, and that year was 1998. Some websites are still sticking to those intro guns, though, like TruTech.net. I do dig the Tron vibe from the menu music, but any website that requires users to install plugins to view your content is going to lose viewers fast.

Learning From Their Examples

Designing and maintaining a website is tough, and design standards change quickly, so keeping up with what’s in and what’s out can feel like a full-time job. But it’s worth it. A bad website can do a lot more damage than no website at all, so if you’re putting your company on the web, make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

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