A bad web site will make your money disappearWorst Websites of 2009 Overview

The year 2009 was a great year for bad web design. There were so many examples I had to break them into six different categories.

We have three different categories for businesses, and one each for Over The Top websites, Non-Profit websites and Honorary Worst Websites of the Year (the sites changed their look during the year.)

These sites are bombsWorst Business Websites of 2009 (But You Can Learn Something From Them): These business websites have specific mistakes which, if fixed, might salvage them. Emphasis on the word "might." It's like me saying, "If I went on a diet, I would be thin."

If you learn from the sites' mistakes, you won't be letting a vacuum cleaner suck up your money. Notable examples include Xerox and the Republican Party.

These sites are bombsWorst Business Websites of 2009: When you go to this page, you'll see that it's called the "Ugliest / Worst Business Web Sites of 2009." These sites are the true Car Wrecks on the Information Highway—the types of sites that can only be fixed by nuking them and starting over. They are what some people would call "The Ugliest Web Sites of 2009."

These sites are bombsWorst Business Websites to Navigate in 2009: An important element of great web design is navigation. If your visitors can't figure out where they need to go, they'll go to another website. Notable examples include Hermès and Leo Burnett.

These sites are bombsWorst Websites of 2009 (Honorary): Some of the sites that would have made 2009's "Worst of" lists "fixed" their sites. Unfortunately, some of the ones that changed were really amazingly bad, which deprived me of bestowing them the honor they so richly deserve.

However, thanks to screen capture and video capture software, these sites can live on. Notable honorary examples include sites for the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and the Dell Adamo laptop.

These sites are bombsWorst Over The Top Websites of 2009: An "Over the Top" web site is a lot like 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. These sites suffer from delusions of adequacy. The sites presented are the worst of the worst.

These sites are bombsWorst Non-Profit Websites of 2009: When a a non-profit site sucks, the organization's clients get hurt—and they already are in a vulnerable state or they wouldn't be clients. You don't want your visitors to say, "Where do I click to save baby seals? Can't find it. Oh well, let 'em die."

At the very least, a poorly designed non-profit website tarnishes the luster of an organization. The sites presented have a lot of tarnished luster <grin>.

Notable examples include Harvard University, The Republican Party and TechSoup.

Contenders for Worst of 2009: Just Not Bad Enough

There were a lot of contenders for Worst Site. As you see above, there were a lot of winners and they came from the contenders gathered during the year.

These sites are bombsContenders for Worst Website of 2009: January - March #1-13 Only 1 site didn't make it to one of the Worst Website of the Year's loser circle.

These sites are bombsContenders for Worst Website of 2009: January - March #14-24 In this group, 5 out of 11 didn't make it to the Worst Website of the Year's loser circle.