Worst Websites of 2013 Contenders: January through June
These sites run the gamut from just a few tragic mistakes to the worst kind of Over-The-Top websites you see featured in The Daily Sucker.
My personal favorites are the WTF?—What The Heck?—sites that make you shake your head and ask the question, "Did anybody look at this site before it went live?" The answer to that question is usually, "Doesn't look like it."
Several sites went straight from this list to the Worst 25 of 2013. They are:
MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Reforms.net, Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association, Sunday Morning, Spectrum Powderworks, Create What Matters Most, Chef in a Box, High Noon Holsters, Bolen Report, Pulcinella Restaurant, and Meta-Tech
April 24th, 2013 1:01 am by Vincent Flanders
Other comments #1: How totally screwed up can a site get?
Vincent Flanders' comments #1: How in the heck did this website NOT make the final list of 25? Oh, they fixed it (sort of).
Submitter's comments: I found this true gem, which works fine when Flash is blocked Unfortunately you don't get a choice.
The website otherwise not only seems to be completely Flash-based, but also features a huge intro video (without any content), Mystery Meat Navigation (animated with flying items, no less) and, according to my tests, it does not work in Firefox, does not work in Opera and does not work in Safari. In these browsers you only get an image preloader, and then a not-changing more-or-less empty Flash site.
The only browser to show the whole animation site on my computer without errors was Google Chrome, but I suppose IE should work.
Vincent Flanders' comments #2: You're right. It's a gem of an example of bad web design because there is very little right with it. We have Flash Used Badly. Very. Badly. We also have Mystery Meat Navigation (MMN) in its worst form. (OK, this page has the worst MMN).
Yes, there's a link to a sitemap at the bottom of the home page. Guess what? It's hard to read because there's not enough contrast—the text color is #A7A9AC.
I'm guessing the submitter is using a Mac because the site is viewable—which doesn't mean usable—on my Windows machine using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, IE7 and IE10. The folks administering the site apparently don't have a clue about DNS or redirection. If you leave off the “www” and just type enritec.com, the site won't load—which may not be a bad thing.
Other comments #2: I got lucky and clicked on a tile that said "Centrifuges and cascades are our core business" or words to that effect (I couldn't copy from Flash of course). This website is for an industrial/lab equipment manufacturer? And all I get is a choice to watch videos about their products? FAIL, FAIL, FAIL.
Other comments #3: Uranium enrichment is the goal of these centrifuges and cascades. I would think that the market for such items is extremely small and is restricted by both governmental regulation and international agreement. Thererfore, why does this website even exist, other than as some sort of dog and pony show?
Other comments #4: Corresponding colors do not good navigation make. Remember, many people are color blind, or simply won't notice that connection. I know I certainly didn't.
I took a second look at the site using only the dial in the bottom left. Even ignoring the stupid MMN tiles, the dial is a slow and clunky way to navigate the site, which is designed to look good first and to work well second. When you click something, you still have to wait for an animation. Because the dial rotates whatever you click to the top, you can't learn its navigation in a spatial sense—something won't necessarily be in the same place it was last time you looked for it.
If anything, the presence of both the dial AND a large jumble of tiles is worse than just the dial or just the tiles would be. Too many forms of navigation to the same content can be overwhelming, and can confuse users into thinking there's more than there is and make them spend extra time trying to find it.
7. Chilango Restaurants
June 19th, 2013 5:05 am by Vincent Flanders
It doesn't surprise me that the quality of the food is in inverse proportion to the quality of the website. That's very common with restaurant sites.
Submitter's comments: I'm just back from a trip to San Francisco, which is Coolness Central. But as we both know, suckiness is too strong a force to stop, even there!
We had heard about a particular restaurant and went online to find out hours and such. My wife said, “Come look at this, something's very wrong!” So I looked at the site and I was thrilled to watch 30 zillion images slowly loading per page. Hilarious!
I soon realized that we had the epitome of a right-brain website with no left-brain function whatsoever! It is pretty looking, which fits this type of site. It's all HTML tables, duh, of course! As far as I can tell, it's made with Photoshop slices, which Photoshop then cuts up the main image and barfs out HTML that includes every separate layer of Photoshop.
A mystery remains, because you could just use maybe 1 or 2 giant images per page–what they're doing is totally the hard way. My thought is that maybe the client called and said, “Whaaaa! My precious site is loading too slow!!!” So the designer somehow broke it up into a million pieces and now you have an extremely crude “parallel loading scheme.”
Final bonus: on the menu page, zero SEO because it's all images! Hooray! It's simply unbelievable and I hope you “enjoy” it as much as I did!
P.S. We did have lunch there and the food was great! :-)
Vincent Flanders' comments: Initially, I thought I was looking at a Splash page with no links. I couldn't find any. I went out to the grocery store and when I came back I accidentally clicked what turned out to be the link to what was the “home” page. The link was the word “Enter” but its color blended with the background and I didn't see it.
From a cursory examination, it looks like every page is made out of images. Not helpful for SEO. The text on the menus was also very small and hard to read and needed leading between the menu items.
Another very suckily designed website.
January 30th, 2013 5:05 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: I haven't written to you in about a billion years, but I saw a new sub-site at Verizon today that made my eyes bleed. Enjoy becoming nauseous and jittery while viewing this!
Vincent Flanders' comments: The problems show up on a long portrait monitor. Your eye is drawn toward the numbered red squares. You instinctively mouse over them and the fly-out menus are ugly and the font is hideous. The body text is small and difficult to read because the color is #666—Satan's CSS
Verizon is being “cute” with their navigation. If you know how the navigation works, then it's easy to navigate.
Other comments #1: Oh Yeah, I just love to scroll a modern example of PDF file. The only features missing on this glorified roll of toilet paper are the serrations and the gray recycled paper color. Just throw it down on the porta-potty floor on your way out.
Other comments #2: As with Xerox (Worst Website of 2011), of course the site sucks—and for the reasons already mentioned. Again, as with Xerox, my objective here is to be adopted by the individual who convinced the decision makers at Verizon to pay (big money, no doubt) for this.
Other comments #3: There are other usability issues because services merged. If you attempt to log in incorrectly (say due to a brain fart leading to a forgotten password), the login form not-so-helpfully sends you to a new page to assist you in logging in with your correct domain by adding another field to reset on password failure.
9. British Film Industry's Explore Film Page
March 11th, 2013 1:01 am by Vincent Flanders
This one's a doozy and it comes from the British Film Institute (BFI), of all people:
The effect is both mesmerizing and infuriating, in a ratio of approximately 30-70%. Whilst probably not the most egregious example of the oeuvre extant, I put it to you that the sui generis nature of this specimen is worthy of mention on the august pages of your site, lest others are inspired by this to create their own version. The prospect of the proliferation of similar sites is too horrible to contemplate.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Pinterest + Mystery Meat Navigation = Supremely Bad Web Design. The Pinterest website made #6 on my Worst Websites of 2012: They Should Know Better list. I know Pinterest is popular, but popularity doesn't excuse bad web design. The article Why Pinterest-style infinite-scroll layouts are worthless for everyone except Pinterest explains the problems quite well. The bottom line? “The layout works for Pinterest purely because no one goes there looking for something particular, and because it's not crucial to Pinterest's success that the user see any one photo. ”
Unfortunately, visitors to this page are looking for information. While they want to explore film, they need a semblance of navigation to aim them in the right direction. There's no logic to the order and no way to know where they'll end up unless they mouse over a picture.
Other comments: What bugs me is that I can't see the image and the "caption" at the same time. Even if you're just roaming around, Pinterest style, that's important. I'm not familiar with all these movies, and it would be nice to be able to read the title of the PICTURE I AM SEEING. It sucks.
11. Chermac Energy Corporation
June 11th, 2013 11:11 pm by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: Sucky.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Yeah, it's pretty bad. My monitor has a screen that's 1200 pixels wide—and the text is still cut off. Splash pages, for the most part, are dead; however, this site thinks we all wet our pants just to see what's basically a logo. A big, fat logo and nothing else. Waste.
Click anywhere on the “home” page and you'll be taken to the “Our History” page. This site fails to realize people don't like to read that much text. (Yes, it's a problem here at WPTS, but at least I'm providing information about what not to do when creating a website.) The text on the left is also too close to the edge of the screen. A little CSS padding wouldn't hurt.
Here's the fun part. Once you're on a subpage (like “Our History”) and click the Home button, you're taken to the all-logo “Home” page where's there's no navigation except to click and go to the Our History page. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.
12. Electrifying Times
May 14th, 2013 3:03 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: I am shocked, shocked to find website suck here: moving banner with flashing and blinking links, animated Gifs, multicolored “new” signs, and longish front page in need of organization and a navigation scheme.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I'm confused. I thought electric cars are the future. If they're the future, the website should be “futuristic”—whatever the heck that means. It certainly isn't a flat, responsive website. It's about as sucky as it gets. OK. OK. It's not as bad as any of the sites listed in Worst Websites of 2012: Beyond The Pale. I was just trying to make a point.
Personally, I'm absolutely stunned by the logo. Oh, heck. I'm absolutely stunned by the whole site.
Other comments #1: Oddly, there are one or two nifty (in a nutty, but somehow appealing way) ideas on this site. The problem is that the general design is just horrible. Please take a little time to rethink the overall design, and I am sure you can get a final product that is much better.
Other comments #2: Kill the animated 'new' icons and the site would be 50% better. Think how much energy would be saved by having static icons!
Other comments #3: I am impressed at the cheesecake on the site links. Earthrace deserves praise for using a well-proportioned model, instead of some anorexic fashionista. The boat in the background looks like it might be interesting if my attention were not being directed elsewhere.
Note: some of the cheesecake is NSFW.
13. Rick Jones Pianos
April 5th, 2013 1:01 am by Vincent Flanders
Other comments: Ugh, they use AdSense and now I'm getting ads for Rick Jones Pianos on YouTube and everywhere else I visit that uses AdSense.
Submitter's comments: Supposedly the largest piano retailer on the East Coast.
Vincent Flanders' comments: This comment confuses me. Why? The site sucks. Is the company successful because nobody sees their website, but the company has great word-of-mouth? Is the company successful because the website is so poorly designed, but it matches the expectations of their customers? Do they have great TV and other media campaigns? Would they be the biggest piano retailer in the world if they had a better looking website?
The tables, the borders, the centered text, the long home page, and images are resized in HTML or CSS (PageSpeed says that "Serving scaled images could save 3.1 Mb [98% reduction]" on the Testimonial Page).
It's 1995 ugly.
15. Gorwood Systems
April 10th, 2013 12:12 am by Vincent Flanders
This is one of the worst active website designs I've ever seen.
Submitter's comments: The home page takes up literally less than a quarter of my screen, and all 8 (yup, just 8) pages are the same ridiculous size. Oh, except for the one that has the completely mismatched tiled gradient background image that was clearly made to fit that teeny viewport.
I don't even remember having a screen small enough for that to make sense, especially by the time websites became a “thing.” Do yourself a favor and don't be tempted to look at the page source; it's guaranteed to make your brain start dribbling out of your
ears. And yes, they're still a functional company.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I don't believe the site is that “active.” As the photo below shows, the home page was last modified on March 24, 2005. It isn't an active site if it's been eight years without a redesign.
The header tells us the home page was last modified eight years ago and looks like it was designed back in the 640×480 days of the web.
This is another of those “I hope they don't depend on their website for business” websites. I suspect they don't need the web. Still, the site sucks.
17. Jes MaHarry
January 17th, 2013 12:12 am by Vincent Flanders
This has to be the single most annoying site I've ever come across.
Submitter's comments: The bizarre autoscrolling… the flashing graphics… the Mystery Meat Navigation with hidden nav elements popping out at random as you move the mouse around (all the while the page scrolls nauseatingly under it)… words fail me! Must be seen to be believed… but I recommend taking Dramamine first.
Vincent Flanders' comments: As I like to say, “Crap on fine China is still crap.” It's a beautiful website, but useless as far as navigation goes. It's no fun to try to read the text, either. I love the jewelry, but I certainly can't afford anything. The company is located in Ojai, California—the word “Ojai” is Indian for “expensive tourist trap.” Well, most of what I saw in Ojai is worth the money, but the town is a little too-too for my taste—just like this website.
Other comments #1: It's very fancy brochureware. Definitely another case of too much form and too little function. It doesn't matter if the site is actually useful OR usable, it just looks and feels so incredibly cool!
Other comments #2: You can't see the product and read its description at the same time. Nobody saw a problem with that?
February 25th, 2013 2:02 am by Vincent Flanders
It's another in a long line of Over the top Websites (OTT). Over the Top sites generally deal with philosophy, religion, politics, end times, etc., but they're generally not mainstream. Most often, they're the creations of liberal loons or raving right-wingers.
Submitter's comments: The only thing that helps(?) in figuring this one out is the header: “Free Energy. Gravity Control. Alternative Science.” The “about” page is only 20 screens, as opposed the home page's nearly 100. I think I'll follow the advice about three screens down: “…No Like? Just skip what you aren't interested in…” and skip the whole website.
Vincent Flanders' comments: What drives me crazy is there are plenty of over-the-top types who have nice looking websites. MemoryHole, by Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorist Professor James Tracy‘s website looks infinitely better than the run-of-the-mill OTT site featured on WebPagesThatSuck. An even better example of a good-looking OTT website is InfoWars, which is run by Alex Jones.
C'mon guys, you've got Internet connections in your bunkers. Use some of your comrades' design techniques and de-suck your websites.
Other comments: I get my morning chuckle on after perusing such a site. The design is pretty average for an OTT site; a little imagination and creativity would go a long way to at least make it more entertaining.
19. Massengale's Biology Junction
February 19th, 2013 4:04 am by Vincent Flanders
School children all over America get sent to this terrible, terrible website. Just wait for the awful cursor tracker.
Vincent Flanders' comments: I have to ask myself, “Is this the kind of site school children expect to see?” Heck no. It's an insult to the intelligence of children everywhere. It's just another Over-the-top Website. To make matters worse, they have unmarked Microsoft Word Documents. Click a link and you start to download a document.
Other comments #1: I do hesitate to be too critical, because this person (Cheryl?) appears to really care about teaching biology, and like most teachers, likely has very limited resources for doing so. That being said, I just wish her passion for teaching were expressed in a more credible web presence.
Other comments #2: As a 'hobby' website, it is okay. And for kids, some of the cutesy stuff works. But when the first link is for 'AP Biology', you've got 17 year-olds using the site, not 7 year-olds. My 17 year-old would hit the back button pretty quick, thinking the site isn't for her.
Other comments #3: As a parent, I have often come across these types of websites when helping my child find research information or a project idea. Kids websites are often built and maintained by teachers who do not have the money or time to make good websites. They are frustrating as heck, and super ugly, but probably not going to change.
20. Sewing and Embroidery Warehouse
February 15th, 2013 12:12 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: In general, this website is an ugly 90's-style website, but the real kicker occurs here, where the coder forgot to close every header tag on the page.
Vincent Flanders' comments: What's most impressive is that somebody spent their valuable time trying to figure out what was wrong with the page. Seriously, this is one of the more screwed-up text pages I've seen, but it looks “fine” in Internet Explorer. If you're using Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Safari, then the text keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. This screenshot demonstrates what happens as you scroll down the page.
Other comments #1: Testing with multiple browsers is a vital part or web design that cannot be overlooked. Also, "you get what you pay for" was never more true:
META name="generator" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0"
With that said, no tool is a bad tool, FrontPage, Flash, whatever; the problem lies with one relying on the tool to make up for one's own ignorance of basic design and coding standards.
Other comments #2: FrontPage 5.0 isn't merely the always-problematic FrontPage; it's a seriously outdated version of FrontPage, released between 1998 and 2000 (versions 4-8 are tough to track more precisely, thanks to some stupid versioning decisions by Microsoft, but I can say with certainty this version is from that two-year span).
So is this page actually this old, or have they just used a ridiculously old tool to build their page? There are free tools today that can do a much better job than this without any effort.
22. Comcast Sucks
March 26th, 2013 4:04 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: The web page has a sound file that required me to download a plugin, which I promptly ignored. Page is excessively long, font is multi-sized, multi-colored and even scrolls. There is so much text on this page I didn't even bother reading most of it. Keep scrolling down to see several poorly Photoshopped images and a hit counter at the bottom of the page.
There are few text issues as annoying as large quantities of centered text. This site annoys me. I'm also annoyed by the probably-unlicensed-hence-copyright-infringing use of the Twisted Sister classic song “We're Not Gonna Take It.”
Also amusing are the pictures of “2 Anonymous Chicks” (how can they truly be anonymous when I can see their faces?) and the picture below the 2 anonymous chicks, which is just another proof of Godwin's Law.
Disclaimer: I think I used Comcast in the early 2000's. I don't remember having issues with them, but their offerings weren't as complex as they are today. Like everything, your mileage will vary.
24. Holy Family Monastery
March 18th, 2013 1:01 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: Apparently, the Catholic Church has become heretical since Vatican II—UFOs, and . . . oh, what's the use? Just pick a subject and they have something about how it has meant to ruin the Church. Not surprisingly, it is not run by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (more fondly remembered as the Inquisition). Here's another for the OTT file, but they really need to try harder if they want to get in the top ten.
Vincent Flanders' comments: Just when I thought it was safe to go back to church, this site comes along. On the other hand, it's nice to see some small part of the Catholic Church has a loon website—I mean Over-the-top Website. Maybe it's because I'm a lapsed, Jesuit-educated Catholic, but I don't know WTF this site is talking about. Not a clue. That doesn't really matter. What matters is the site's design sucks.
The links on the home page go on and on. There's no organization. My favorite page is “The Invalid New Mass,” which weighs in at more than 7Mb because large images are scaled down by HTML rather than being physically scaled down (a 1389×938-pixel image [612K] is forced to fit a 175×150 container). There are lots of other problems, but why bother? Crap is crap.
If the people who spent the time to build this “website” had focused their efforts on curing breast cancer, the Susan G. Komen foundation would be shuttered by now.
March 14th, 2013 2:02 am by Vincent Flanders
Submitter's comments: <meta name=”GENERATOR” content=”Microsoft FrontPage 6.0″>
Do I have to say anything else?
Vincent Flanders' comments: It would make my job easier if you said a little more<grin>.
Part of me wants to give it a pass because it's for kids and kids like shiny things. On the other hand, I don't want to encourage bad taste. After all, our school system rarely teaches art and certainly doesn't teach aesthetics.
For some strange reason, the box at the top left side of the page is not a link to the home page (on the subpages).