Examples of Bad Websites

There are countless examples of embarrassing website designs and development out there. These are the latest examples we have discovered. For each site below we provide a brief analysis to assist you in avoiding the same pitfalls.

After looking at the websites and critiques below, please visit our free advice area.

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Contract Laboratory.com

The design and layout of this website is BORING. There is no visual interest or anything that would indicate that the web designer even has a pulse. There are several dead links, broken graphics and an index page that is too long. We were originally thinking that this site wasn't too bad but as we began listing out the issues, it became clear that euthanasia is a great idea.

There is little contrast between the backgrounds and the text so it becomes difficult to tell what is text versus a link. The monochromatic design is still popular but having some color variety goes a long way toward making things easy to find and gives your visitors at least a little something to look at.

Then we have the navigation which should be one of the highest priorities for a web developer. It should be easy to use and have what the user is looking for. The navigation certainly has what you're looking for, assuming you're a lab rat, the problem is that you will need a map to find it. On some pages there are more navigation links than content. Seriously boys, stick to the Little Tykes chemistry sets and leave the websites to the big boys.

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Holidays on the Net

The first thing that we noticed here was a large banner ad at the top of the page. Next we noticed that long string of ads going down the page and then the second column that looks like it is supposed to be ads but it is empty. We can appreciate the fact that it is sometimes necessary to use a few well-placed ads to supplement revenue on a website. When the ads on your website look better or draw more attention than your own website, you're nothing more than a virtual kiosk for other businesses.

Choosing the proper type of navigation on a website can be tricky because users have biases on how they prefer to see menu items. The best approach is to choose the easiest navigation for your audience and if needed use a/b tests to determine if you have made the best choice. Only ignorant schizophrenics choose all of them. The menus are virtually the same in every case and did not need to be repeated 5 times! Contrary to what web developers may think, users are not all that stupid.

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Infonetics, Inc.

Background textures can be a wonderful tool for the web designer. They can also make your website look like a lounge singer's tuxedo if used poorly. When we looked at the Infonetics site the first thing that we noticed was the background. It's like watching an old guy at the beach when his pants fall down. The most important element on a webpage should be the first thing that a visitor's eye is drawn to. In most cases that should be the logo. The Infonetics logo looks cheap, old and ugly plus it is small and blends in with Vegas-style background.

Most of the secondary pages are poorly formatted and are rife with broken images. The secondary pages on your site are just as important as the main landing page. In some cases a user will go straight to one of your content pages and never see your index page, so it is important that all of the pages on your site make a good impression.

Elvis has left the building!

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Direct From TV

Most of us have bought into the smarmy pitches of a late night infomercial ending up with a Snuggie, ShamWow or another useless piece of Chinese plastic that finds its way to a landfill within the month. This website is an emporium of TV crap just for our buying pleasure, unfortunately the design is crap as well.

The front page elements flash, blink and even fly around the screen but there are so many links and ads that visitors are likely to fall into a state of hypnosis before they find what they are looking for.

The overall design of the site looks like a puzzle theme that makes no sense given the "As Seen on Tv" context. Not only is the menu too long and difficult to read, a lot of the words are cut off.

Normally we would say something witty here like: "don't quit your day job" or "they look better on tv than they do on the web" but honestly we are all too smart to buy any of this stuff anyway, right?

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Security News Portal

There are times when a monochromatic color scheme works well on a website, this is not one of them. Not only is red a harsh, jarring color, SNP chose to fill the screen with the same shade of red more evoking thoughts of an autopsy than of computer security. The logo is almost unreadable and is not helped by the strong red glow that allows it to blend into the bloody header.

The menu contains a wonderful naming scheme of page 1, page 2, page 3 etc...that is very helpful when looking for specific subject matter. The links on this site open a new window every time, which is a good strategy when you are linking to external sites. Opening new windows for pages on your own site is not only annoying, it can potentially lock visitors' browsers, especially if they are using a stellar browser like Internet Explorer.

Just because your target audience consists of geeks and nerds (err we mean IT professionals) doesn't mean that your website should be ugly and irritating.

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