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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 27-Mar-06


Monday 27-Mar-06

Bad website design

It never ceases to amaze how many klutzy website designs there are out there -- and you can tell a badly-designed site by the negative emotions you feel when navigating around it. Confusion, irritation, frustration and boredom are common experiences when you actually should be feeling interest, confidence and delight.

Here are three of my most unfavorite design styles:

  • The 'as many ads as possible' design, where the goal is solely to get you to click on ads and make the owner money. Now I've no objection to adverts and use them myself, but I do keep them to the edge of the screen, preserving the main area for solid information. I do get annoyed when I keep tripping over the darned things.
  • The 'read me if you can' site, where low contrast, fancy fonts, background variations and tiny text conspire to make it nigh on impossible to decipher what is there. The target readers for such sites seem to be medieval troglodytes who prefer dingy dungeons to the clear light of day.
  • The 'look what I can do' site is designed to impress you with the designer's technical prowess. A favorite tool seems to be Flash, which is used to whizz things about, causing delays and distracting the reader from the real content. When I meet an intro page and the dreaded 'loading' message, I either look for the 'skip' link or abandon things there and then.

Don't get me wrong: I do appreciate aesthetic designs -- I just hate it when things gets in the way of what I am seeking. It is a sound approach to use elegant design to help the visitor feel good when navigating your site, but content is king and the first rule of retaining readers is to always keep them happy.

But at least there is hope out there, often in the form of bright young designers like Simon Kitson, who blend technical competence with outstanding design talent, creating deceptively simple and elegantly functional destinations. True art lies in the placement of a single line, selection of a pleasing color balance and brief, supportive movement -- not obstructive greed nor dense chaos nor frantic animation.

Your comments

 Part of the blame lies in the newness of the art form. But there will always be badly designed "stuff," I'm afraid, because too often any designer can be caught up in designing for themselves, instead of for those who will actually use what they are designing.

For instance: no excuse for how VCR's were programmed for many years.

-- WereBear

 blah blah i couldn't care if a website was bad or good, i don't rea;;y pay attention to what is on the website lol sad but true. so all this err...mumbo about the website being bad if you feel emotions over it is really sad and you should re-think your lifef before waking up tomorrow...seriously lol no not really school sucks syie

-- kelly stevens

Dave replies:
Mmm. Looks like you're been thinking hard about this, Kelly.

Hmmmm Kelly, you are too harsh, it really does matter to some people and to tell off others just because you think your beliefs are correct doesn't mean they really are.

-- Doug Wilson

 Yeah, the "Look what I can Do" method is being used by various "web designers" these days if you want to call them that. I had the unfortunate experience as a client to have this happen to me. UNfortunately, like I say, these 2 idiots at couldn't DO anything. They'll take your money, do what they want and SCREW up your content, so that their work as they would call it, is represented, but YOURS is NOT. BEWARE the Web con artist too.

-- amounsen

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