GodHatesFags.com is the future of web design…
…and it looks like the future is going to suck.
Today, April 20 — which is Hitler's birthday — seems like a good time to talk about a disturbing trend in web design.
Once upon a time, you could easily identify sites that promoted fringe beliefs, hate-mongering, or plain, old crazy thinking.
Here at WPTS, I've categorized these types of sites as Over the Top. These sites even had their own "Worst of" category this year — Ugliest / Worst Over The Top Web Sites of 2009.
Identifying an Over the Top website is like identifying pornography — you know it when you see it. Over the Top sites generally deal with philosophy, religion, politics, end times, etc., but they're generally not mainstream. You take one look at Accept Jesus, Forever Forgiven! or Burlington Ufo and Paranormal Research and Education Center or Space Ark or George Hutchins for U.S. Congress and it's like a person wearing a horrible identification patch on their clothes signifying "It's going to get weird here."
Sites that promote hate mongering would also be included in my list of Over the Top websites, but I've always refrained from discussing them because I don't want to expose people to them. You can find them on your own, I don't want to be responsible.
I also find these sites morally repugnant, but I'm a believer in Free Speech — although it's times like these that try my beliefs. Speaking of beliefs, I firmly believe you become what you hate — and if I'm right, t's going to get interesting for some folks.
And that brings me to…
I started WPTS to make people aware of bad web design techniques and the easiest way is to show an example and tell them, "Hey, this sucks." I view myself as the guy at a party who comes up to you and whispers in your ear that your zipper is flying at half-mast. My wish is that all websites look good and are successful.
Most Over the Top web sites don't care about being singled out on WPTS and won't change. In fact, Havenworks (it's now dead but this is a version from Archive.org)is proud of the fact (scroll to the bottom of the home page if you can) its site sucks. It's always been comforting to me that Over the Top websites are so easy to identify.
Then, there's GodHatesFags.com. I won't provide a direct link. In fact, if you copy the name at the left, it won't work because the clowns at GHF don't understand DNS. On the other hand, here's a screenshot for discussion purposes.
The problem is simple
For a site that deals in hate (check out the URL), it doesn't look like an Over the Top website. In fact, when I first went to GHF, I was initially confused and my brain froze. THIS SITE DOESN'T SUCK!
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It uses Flash and when you mouse over the menu links at the top there's a sound. Still, if every site looked as good as GHF, the web would be a much prettier place.
I've never considered the possibility that sites like GHF would look so…normal. I'm not worried about the people who visit WPTS — obviously, you know crap when you see it — but what about KidsToday or people new to the Internet? There are no warning signs.
I'm afraid that more and more of these types of sites are going to disguise themselves within a cloak of good web design. The irony is overwhelming.
Earlier, I said I wished that all websites look good and are successful. More proof that you should be careful what you wish for.