Things I Hate About Websites

Last week, I wanangry-catted to revisit a fun Irish pub we had stumbled upon recently. I had a vague idea where it was, but wasn’t sure. So I searched and found a few likely suspects in my area.

One pub’s website drove me truly crazy. Its home page was a 30-second flash animation that sloooooowly revealed its menu items.

That’s not where I ended up going that evening. I never learned where that pub was located.

It got me thinking about the many ways websites drive me crazy:

  • flash intros
  • video clips automatically launching when I go to a website (ESPN is the worst)
  • pop ups that bypass the browser’s pop-up blocker
  • ads that load first, before the content, jamming my browser
  • rollovers that blow up in my face – with a hard-to-find “close” button
  • subscription notices nine months before it expires – without telling me when it expires
  • being forced to register to see free content on a page. Then, it demands every demographic data about me possible
  • long online surveys that don’t tell me how much longer it take me to finish it
  • webinars that always happen during the middle of the business day
  • unsolicited news releases by e-mail, without an unsubscribe

Sites that indulge in these aggravations share a sincere contempt for their user. They put their own goals before users, and keep them on a short leash. Bad idea. When I see these things, I leave.

What do YOU hate about the web?


9 thoughts on “Things I Hate About Websites

  1. Great Post! I too am annoyed by all of these. With the exception of the flash intro, all of these tactics are used to harvest information or gain money in invasive ways. Unfortunately what the creators of sites like these don’t get is that these devices do not make people want to return to their sites. They should all take the time to read Seth Godin, and then maybe they would get it…

    The one frustrating thing that I hate about the web that you have not covered here is having to sign up for an email list to receive an ebook. Let me download it, and if I think you have valuable information I will sign up. Otherwise I am just going to unsubscribe / block you.

  2. Sites with too much content, not well-organized. (Actually, if you have too much content, even good organization won’t help you.)

    Sites that try to sell you what you don’t want instead of pointing you toward the information/product that you need.

    Sites that make you figure out THEIR classification system instead of looking for things the way YOU think about them

    Sites with pages too big to load on my BlackBerry browser.

  3. Sometimes I still find websites that looked like they were designed pre-y2k on Word. Corny outdated animated gif’s telling me that “this link is under construction.”

    MySpace. It’s gotten better, but I find that the way people are given freedom to redesign their pages can make for some confusion. I find Facebook to be easier to use.

    Excessive use of gimmicks (new windows, pop-ups, flash, rollovers)
    I used to go see a woman I know play music many years ago. When she was developing her voice, she had some cool vocal tricks. problem was that she tried to use each trick in each song.
    It seems sometimes like novice designers will sometimes try and use too many of their tricks/gimmicks at the same time.

  4. It reminds me of when Photoshop first came out and everyone decided a photo-montage was an actual idea. Before anyone even knows what things are they decide they need them because everyone else is doing it. I remember when I had to have a full on argument prepared to convince the president of my old company to let me print in two colors. Times have changed certainly.

    Aside from my biggest pet peeve of gratuitous auditory assault, I have noticed that it is hard to get people off talking and talking and talking about themselves online (and everywhere else). I always ask what the top three things a potential client wants to do on your site – and them see how many steps it takes to get there.
    Its amazing. Many people place more focus on “about us”, staff bios or the office mascot than why anyone came to their site (and its not to “check out” your site, people have better things to do).

  5. ajzinni: Great one about the e-book. I just want to yell, “Hey! I only want to talk to you, not marry you!”
    steve levine: Blackberry needs to fix that. If their new “touch” product does that, I might just get it.
    steve: shiny new toys … hard to resist! I like the singer analogy.
    beth: Two things: 1) Absolutely, get the %^%& out of the users’ way! 2)My mantra on the “about you” section is — only you, your mother, and your dog care much “about you.” The rest of us just care about what you can do for me.

    1. All “about” information should be restricted to an “About” page that is not the”Home” page. That way it is available and can easily be ignored and out off the user’s way. “About” information may be important to some users, but face it, how many times do even those folks what to read it.

  6. Great post! I wrote a similar one recently – completely different style but the same subject – my pet hate is out of date content and dead links … worst still the disabled ‘back’ button and bad background music!!

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