Monday, June 29, 2009

10 Reasons Why I Hate Your Website

  1. Advertisements. I understand your need to get the money in, but do it with decency. Don't clutter my screen with flashing and blinking crap, don't have ads appear over an article I'm just trying to read and don't mess up the formatting so much I can't figure out where the text continues. Also, if it is an advertisement, call it an advertisement. Don't call it a "welcome screen" or a "hello from our sponsor," who are you trying to fool? I have to disappoint you though, the only instances I click on ads are accidentally. If I want product information, I know how to get it, and it's not on your website. As far as I am concerned product placement on websites is entirely useless.

    Example: Forbes. Try reading a single article without going insane.

  2. Emails. Never ever send me emails I didn't ask for. And no, I am not interested in your news, your updates, or your great community events. It is totally sufficient if I learn of that next time I log in. If there is such a time. The services I am most pleased with are Google, Twitter and Facebook. I never received a single email from them that I didn't ask for. Make "no emails" the default and don't cheat by requiring me to uncheck a dozen different boxes.

    Example: Bank of America. Even though I complained several times already when I was a customer, they still send me advertisments after I finally managed to close all my accounts. Same with United Airlines, SiteMeter, Neon, and a dozen other websites that require subscription and then clog your inbox with html emails.

  3. Over-the-top Security. Unless you are indeed storing sensitive information, don't ask for 8 digit passwords containing numbers, letters and special symbols. Don't suspend accounts if users guess a wrong password three times if the only thing you're protecting is their nickname. Don't ask for information that's none of your business to begin with. Btw, I don't actually live in Algeria and my birth year isn't 1962 either. Also, have an option for password recovery that doesn't require the registered email address. I have a couple of dead accounts because the email address I used to register is no longer active and I can't recall the password. Yet, the reminder is sent to that address.

  4. Can't delete my account: Have an option to delete an account. It might hurt, but there are people who figure out they don't want your service after all. If you don't have this option users who want to leave will just scramble up their profile information and log out a last time, leaving you with a dead account. At the very least, clean up your inactive accounts every now and then.

  5. Clutter overdose. Don't clutter your website with a thousand flash animations, widgets, java-scripts and other stuff. Keep it simple. Why do you have the weather forecast on your site? If that's what I'd be looking for, I'd be looking elsewhere. Also, it is self-evident but can't be repeated sufficiently often: please use a clear and intuitive layout that is the same for all sites showing the location in the menu tree. And please do mark visited links in a different color. To achieve that purpose, don't hesitate to copy templates from highly frequented websites and modify them slighthy to meet your needs. That's how natural selection works.

  6. Sound effects. The surest and fastest way to get me off your site is background music, ads with sound effects, or speaking avatars. Especially bad if the sound can't be turned off. Look, I might not be alone, I really don't want my computer to make embarrassing noises, okay?

  7. Browser incompatibility. You'd think that's the first thing everybody learns who designs websites: different browsers will interpret your template differently. Have a look at it at least with MS Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome. Or have somebody else look at it who uses these browsers and send you a screenshot. You'll be shocked how crappy your website suddenly looks.

    Example: The ESTA website that couldn't be opened with Google Chrome (they meanwhile fixed the problem).

  8. Local lingo. If you're hosting a forum, don't invent your own html encoding. Just let users enter html tags and screen for unwanted tags. How I am supposed to recall if you want [ .\] for a link or ".":., or *.* is italics or maybe boldface? Example: NatureNetworks. Can never recall how to enter a link. Also, don't give fancy names to menu items that nobody knows what they mean. What is "avant garde" or "horizons" supposed to be?

  9. Who the fuck are you and what do you want? Don't force me to go to Whois to look up who you are. Have an "about" and a valid contact address. I want to know who you are, what your background and your motivation is. Everything else smells fishy unless you have a good reason to maintain anonymity - and if you have that reason I want to know it as well. Also, tell me upfront what you do. For example, if your "international" company doesn't ship anywhere but in the USA, tell me before I've spent half an hour putting items in your cart.

  10. Your scripts suck! Prepare for failure: If you have any forms on your site, always, always, always, provide a message confirming the script was executed properly. The message should contain all the submitted information together with an option for correction in case there's a problem. Further, keep in mind people's information might not fit into your great form for whatever reasons. Canadian Zipcodes do not consist of 5 digits. Some people really don't have a home phone. Worst thing ever: If your script returns an error and I'll have to fill out ALL fields again.

31 comments:

Uncle Al said...

The Web opened the planet to global flatulence, as did cell phones. 80% of humanity has voluminous nothing to say. "Michael Jackson was a genius like Mozart!" "The future will be powered by algae!" This is now in charge of social policy and revenue allocation.

AD 476 was a cakewalk compared to AD 2010.

Bee said...

and every single one of the 80% is writing a blog...

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

They told you that democracy was a stupid idea (ancient Greeks, for example)! :) Those 80 % also determine essentially your life and your future (and believe me, you still have a great chance with the Canadian or West-European 80 %!)... Fortunately for you, the mafia of 1 % is eternal! So don't worry, be happy! And abandon all your hopes for better...

If you understand French, have a look at this.

Bee said...

J'aime l'idée de regarder l'Internet comme une "extension du corpse" bien que je prefère "The Extended Mind," voir How Google is Making Us Smarter.

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Yes, this is the difference between “American” and “French” approaches: the first tends to state boldly “how Google, internet, etc. is making us smarter” (who, you?! :) ), while the second would ask politely “don't you have an impression that Google, internet, etc. is making us even more stupid?”. :) As they're talking about the same, it could imply that the latter is actually much smarter than the former... :) So if you kinda feeling much smarter than the latter, then you're a genius! :)

In general, internet is just terrible in its power to reveal immediately and with the ultimately strong contrast what actually is in this world and how it is. And looking at the result, so to say, it would be better not to know. :) All of it was there always, certainly. But now it just jumps out in one moment, like a horrible reflection in a mirror. You would do it all differently you say? Then there is almost none of you in this world... Or maybe you're exaggerating something about your own standards? Take the state of official science matrix you fully belong to, for example... And this one is also immediately visible in its complete emptiness due to the internet... Break the mirror, stop it all: the anti-techno movement grows steadily on the background... Indeed, what if they would address a merited reproach to you, like “stop feeding us with those useless abstractions of your corrupt “science”, provide us with something useful, really needed and comprehensible, for our money”, would you be ready to really change? So many things need to be changed right now, urgently and none actually can, in a world “full of possibilities” (maybe for fools only!): jam .

Tkk said...

Bee, you'll bring in $100,000 a year being a web designer.

Tkk said...

Andrei: Did anybody ever told you your mind is twisted and your soul is tortured? I do.

Don't ever ever design web.

Bee said...

Andrei: Had you read at least the first few sentences of the article I linked to you'd have noticed the title was an allusion to the earlier essay Is Google Making Us Stupid? in The Atlantic, a magazine that could hardly be more American.

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Bee, then you should send me directly to that, my already "tortured soul" and "twisted mind"! Don't say you want it all to become even more twisted and tortured! :) Tkk is already horrified, pity for him! :) As to Americans, well, between us, still taking them seriously, with their results and those arbitrary jumps between extremeties? God, devil, science, torture, truth, lie, salvation, yes we can, everything and nothing, what's that arbitrary, senseless chaos can be all about? Money? But they're catastrophic with it! Even though they're not the first ones to feel it so clearly... They call it "fair play"... Actually, it is that another article that was probably closer to the truth... :) Too late to change the effect... :) Is that eventually why you're leaving for this tortured and twisted European reality? I was always wondering why, if here there's always less of money and luxury and glory... I see, you hate all that! :) Good girl, welcome home!

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Tkk, I thought you should know as everybody does that at least starting from web 2.0 one cannot avoid “designing web” if only one tries to communicate at all (e.g. by blogs). And you cannot avoid that: interactivity can only grow in at least generally developing world and will include “web design”, in various ways. Maybe it's the real reason behind “Bee's problems” with it: this massive web designer cannot be too perfect, at least not now...

As to design of my mind and my soul, I don't think that any web can properly reflect those and even less that you can properly judge about it. Unless you're the Almighty in person. For the moment, it would be fair if you could reveal us not as much as your mind or soul but at least your true face and professional details, as I and others here do. In that way, we, real minds and souls, have actually a much greater right to judge you, mere nicknames lost in electronic networks... Right, Bee?

Christine said...

"Andrei: Did anybody ever told you your mind is twisted and your soul is tortured?"



Oh, we are all like that. What you describe is just the human being. The only difference is that Andrei often exaggerates a little.

BobH said...

"I understand your need to get the money in..."

You mouth those words, and then you go on and pretty much decry every possible type of ad unless it's plain text buried at the bottom of the page. Your sense of entitlement is staggering: You want all these wonderful websites that require hundreds of hours of creative work, design, development, etc., but you sure as hell don't want to pay a penny and you don't think you should be subjected to ads that might prove a distraction.

That would be Reason #1 Why I Hate Your Website.

Bee said...

Hi Bob,

Well, I've written several times about how Capitalism fails to appropriately finance what meanwhile everybody seems to take for granted and what the consequences are societies should draw from that. But it's of course too much to expect you took note of that. If you hate my website so much, why do you waste time here?
Best,

B.

nige said...

Bee, you're assuming that website designers want to please customers.

It reminds me of a lecture my marketing professor gave at Glos Uni in Cheltenham. He was from Canada and complained that here in England the supermarket cashiers don't bother to pack the shopping into bags for each customer.

He couldn't grasp where the extra value was, which the supermarkets were using to attract customers.

However, supermarkets here don't bother with customer service like that. Canada has lower population density and people are more friendly in general there, and supermarkets may have shorter queues and be able to provide a more personal, helpful service.

In England, it would slow down the cashier to pack each shopper's shopping, so the queues would grow longer, and people would stop using that supermarket! Extra friendliness would backfire, losing the supermarket its customers!

This is the kind of logic that you have to include in marketing. Giving the customer what the customer wants isn't always a simple piece of common sense.

With website design, some people are going to include adverts and other annoying features to generate revenue, just like commercial TV channels include annoying adverts. If you try to set up a website or TV channel without adverts, you will have to fund it by some other means, and this may prove even more annoying (asking for paid subscriptions, for example, will put people off a news site altogether - they'll just search google for free info).

I'm sure nobody would keep sending unsolicited emails if they were certain that all of them would be deleted unread. Like adverts, it's a statistical thing. If the product is expensive then only a maybe 0.001 % of people receiving an ad will make it financially worthwhile, and the advertiser doesn't give a damn that the other 99.999% of people are totally annoyed with the ad and would never buy the product! That's the rationale behind annoying emails and other forms of ad. They're not supposed to do anything moe than influence positively a tiny percentage of recipients; it doesn't matter if the majority of people are just annoyed.

Neil' said...

Also, this seems to bother FF (I have 3.0.11) the most: all this linked in pages (usually advertisers) that delay loading. I see all these "waiting for www.intelliclik.com" etc (I just pulled that out of an IIRC memory.)

To help keep scripts away, I use NoScript but then some things don't work so I'm always adjusting it.

BTW Al, using algae for fuel (and food) is not such a bad idea. Hemp is even better!

Andrei Kirilyuk said...

Yeah, Christine, with my usual exaggeration, I would say that only those that look completely crazy may have a chance to be real humans, while those looking normal are definitely but talking monkeys (even if they can design a web site).

By the way, has it ever occurred to you that a truly intelligent species would not classify and structure itself by profession, let alone any formal “position” or “prosperity”, but rather by something like universal intelligence or level of consciousness, just the ability to really understand everything, rather than demonstrate any technical tricks?

Anyway, is it now summer or winter there in Brazil? If there can be any difference there, of course, in the land of eternal carnival... What's your absolutely secret cosmic news? Where's everybody? Time for ours to appear, what do you think? This monkey world becomes really boring. Hostile environment. Like in their movie, but without the happy end. Terribly missing, this one. And even when things are at their worst, aboriginals are not at their best, contrary to their best opinion about themselves. There should be a land of their best dreams somewhere and when all dreams escape there, it's only this kind of world that remains, with that kind of web site...

Tkk said...

Christine:

" ..The only difference is that Andrei often exaggerates a little."

You are very kind to Andrei. Perhaps a reflection of your 'web maturity' since the days of Background Independence, since one Lubos Motl has caused great discomfort. The difference between Lubos and Andrei is the former at least runs his own blog and man enough to dish it out and take it in the chin. While the latter is a little crybaby.

But you continue to be one nice very smart lady.

Adam said...

Bee you nailed it so badly I could almost cry. I agree 100%.
Regarding Google: a friend told me recently that their little ads on the side of the search are reportedly VERY effective! I could not believe. I automatically block this part of the screen from my view. I actually forgot they even existed!

Bee said...

Hi Neil,

actually, no, I didn't assume that anybody wanted to hear what I have to say. I'm just one of these awful persons who will say it nevertheless. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Andrei: "then you should send me directly to that" - just that the article I originally referred to was the one related to what we were talking about (or I thought we were talking about). In any case, if you find the time to read it I'm sure you'll find something do dislike about it.

Christine said...

@Andrei:

I think the ultimate dream of humankind is to be free (under local/global mutual respect) and happy (as a consequence of having one's basic needs satisfied and the best possible environment/ opportunity to accomplish one's potential, whatever that is). Etc. Difficult to get that, heh? But I think what you suggest may be seen, somewhat, as spin-off of such an idealization.

Here in the southern hemisphere is officially *winter*, but given that Brazil is a very large country, it is never actually winter in the north/northeast part of Brazil (sp. closer to the equator). In the south you may find some ciites reaching -3 C and snow. Here in my city (southeast) the temperatures run from about 6 to 23 C this time of the year.

These days, I am more and more a slow blogger. This month I kept myself a little bit away from the internet and was able to read more than 10 books on non-fiction and fiction. And writing some personal notes.

@Tkk:

Well, I consider myself generally a very nice lady to anyone. Yet, I am somewhat misanthrope as well. For instance, I do believe that my dog is much more decent and respectable and pure of temperament than many humans I know.

Christine said...

@Tkk:

Oh, and thanks for the compliment. However, I used to be smarter when I was younger. I am just becoming more and more, er... detached.

Uncle Al said...

Democracy is personal privacy - the right and ability to pursue a life independent of Official sanctions. Official democracy is jackbooted State intrusion at every level of life, plus its advertising revenues.

Fart in London and a symphony of cameras sends you a Carbon Tax on Everything summons. Travel in America and Homeland Severity searches and seizes to tears of joy welling in retired KGB internal passort monitors' eyes. Demand that your earned income is your own property and be crushed.

Government exaults in a polity of controlled intelligence, Brave New World gammas mindlessly laboring for their rations of soma. 1984 is the operations manual, "Orthodoxy means not thinking - not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness." Atlas Shrugged is the bottom line, "The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws", albeit without a savior.

California, the fourth largest economy on Earth, is bankrupt 01 July. Sacramento is still issuing social legislation to help the Officially Sad. Soft people in their mortgaged manses are about to encounter hard choices, starting with 911 busy signals. The supply side is exhausted. Think of its debt service as evolution in action.

Neil' said...

Bee, please don't keep confusing me with nige. I am N e i l' and he (presumed) is n i g e. OK? ;-)

Tkk said...

Uncle Al: "California, the fourth largest economy on Earth, is bankrupt 01 July. "

Clarification: the California state government next fiscal year which starts on 1 July will be insolvent because of a $21 billion shortfall. The state government was denied authority to raise tax, and therefore they will have to cut expenditure, and issue IOUs. Once they do this, the state will restore balance. But 60,000 state employees will be out of a job.

The state economy, ie the net wealth of all the businesses and individuals, is by no means bankrupt. They remains very wealthy as a whole.

Andrea said...

Hi,
I like your article. Your points are true and everyone should keep these point in his/her mind before going to website design. For more information just see this link
www.apollohosting.com

Clive Crous said...

Two more things:

* "Capcha"s must be legible. If you want me to verify my humanity at least make it possible to do so

* Don't change form field focus using javascript after the page finishes loading. If i'm half way through typing in my password I hate being teleported to another field and seeing the last half of my password there. (an example is gmail login)

Bee said...

Sorry, Neige', it won't happen again.

William said...

Add to list:
* Text on page is abnormally small and will not resize using the text-resize-gismo on my toolbar. (btw the text on Blogspot pages resizes nicely.)
* Color format is not black on white, but some horrid hard-to-read blended mixture, like dark-gray on light-gray.
* One small article is spread over many pages (and, of course, as you arleady have noted: every page opens slowly because it has all sorts of java, shockwave, scripts and other crap on it that must load).
* Very distracting and extremely aggravating weird-dancing animations in ads.
* No date on the articles.
* No clue is given about what are acceptible characters for passwords or if it is case-sensiive (eg are #$%& allowed?)
* Stop showing ads saying there are lots of pretty, young girls in my town who want to fuck me.

William said...

I am surprised no one yet has written a utilty program that would identify animations on a web page and overlay the animation with a stationary image.

It would be fairly simple program.

I've done it manually at times with really aggravating animations on a web page I wanted to read without the distractions .. by simply opening a small application (calculator, screen capture program, wordpad program andgiving it the property of "always on top" and then sizing it to cover the animation area.

A utility program could easily scroll with the animated areas, always keeping them covered. And, of course, there would be the ability to toggle it between transparent or opaque with mouse clicks ... for occasions when one might want to see what is there.

The fixed image could just be a solid color or a jpeg of flowers or any photo or image chosen by the user. More creatively, it could be a reminder from a calendar-like companion utility.

Alternatively, the utility could be written to make money by covering the "noisy" animated ads with "quiet" stationary ones.

Bee said...

Hi William,

I believe there are plenty of apps that will block all kinds of advertisements. You can probably also convince your browser to just not load all sorts of scripts/pics/animations etc. Problem is, these will occasionally also block something you wanted to see. I don't use any, so am not helpful for details. By and large, my brain seems to block advertisements pretty well.

But you know what, there are apparently also a lot of pretty young girls in my town who want to fuck me. Isn't that a coincidence? Facebook is a little smarter though, they make use of personal information. As a result, I get ads for lotions against stretchmarks and an endless amount of revolutionary weight-loss or make-up ideas. Best,

B.