Let's Talk About Terrible Websites

I enjoy doing this from time to time: Let’s talk about websites that you think are, for whatever reason, just awful. Poorly-designed, ugly to look at, not helpful, etc. Include bad content if you will, but keep in mind that if you do so, this thread is likely to become a clearinghouse of people posting FoxNews.com or other partisan sources that they don’t like, and I’d rather avoid that.

I’ll start: My Insurance Company (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri). To pay your bill, you have to create a user ID and password, log in, then you’ll be directed to a third-party bill-pay website wherein you’ll need another user ID and password; all of this could be solved by having you put your policy number here, your major credit card number there, click and be done with it.

Also, good luck finding a phone number anywhere on that website; you have to log in, or jump through a different series of hoops, just to get customer support at all, but they still don’t give you a phone number to call even after you’ve jumped through all the hoops.

Illinoishomepage.net is, at least in theory, the website of WCIA, a CBS affiliate in Champaign, Illinois. In general, I have a huge problem with TV (and, to a lesser extent) radio stations having websites that don’t in any way reference their call letters; why does it have to be MyFox8.com instead of WGHPGreensboro(dot)com, which makes a hundred times more sense?

But WCIA is the worst offender that I’ve seen. Their website makes no mention of its call letters, its channel numbers, or even the fact that it’s a CBS affiliate. Nothing there about tonight’s programming, or CBS programming, or anything. Unless you didn’t already know from watching WCIA, you’d have no idea that you were looking at WCIA’s website. Also, no one has had a “home page” since 1999.

What are some of your nominations?

Been meaning to post this before. I hate hate hate comment sections on a typical website (say Cracked’s articles, and that’s before we talk about the content of the knuckledraggers who often post in them). If I want to read some Cracked comments, I have to keep clicking on the “show more” button, over and over, to see the older ones, which if the article has gotten a lot of them will take just a few years short of forever.


The above is a crackpot page run by someone who claims, well…

Aside from the risible history and writing quality, the site is itself like an archaeological find: rarely is 1998-level HTML extracted from the ground in one piece like that.

Anthem was even worse a few months ago. They accepted payments on their site, but not after 8PM or so! Never seen another website with a time restriction on payments.

Twenty years of bad websites:

with the motto “learn good web design by looking at bad design”

AJ’s Chess. Navigate around (to … a few pages { if you can } ) !!

I can’t stand most media websites. Let me explain it this way, in case anybody from the media is reading here:

I will visit a website for information. Most often specific information. If there is a story I want to read all about it with the minimum amount of clicking and distractions. So if your site has any of the following, I will bail out of it and consider you worthless as a media source:

[li]more screen space dedicated to ads than news and information[/li][li]the news/information is a video with no transcript[/li][li]anything that pops up or rolls over the page asking me to subscribe or do a survey[/li][li]ads from dubious sources, like those seen on Facebook[/li][li]displaying one paragraph of a long story on the page and making me click NEXT five hundred times to read the whole story (learn what the scroll bar is for PLEASE!)[/li][li]clickbait garbage like “ten stupid things to see today”[/ul][/li]The sad thing is that I have yet to see ANY media website that does NOT have all of this garbage.

Until recent years, the City of Phoenix utilities website could only be reached during business hours. Paying your bill at midnight? Forgetaboutit

The Smoke Vote.
It’s a pro-smoking website. Not only is it hideously designed, looking like some inexperienced web designer’s first attempt at making a website in 1995, but the content is pretty revolting, up to and including the part lower down on the (very long) page where the pro-smoking website author compares those who don’t agree with him to Nazis.

As for websites that are nowhere near as offensive, but are extremely ugly and ill-designed, I nominate “House of Crests” for the worst-designed page on the internet. It’s a webpage about canary breeding, but there are many other unrelated things all crammed onto the extraordinarily long page. Again, this looks like a 1995 GeoCities website, complete with the long page and animated gifs. And the site was apparently last updated this year, so I don’t know why it still has that retro design.
Most of that website’s content is stuffed onto that one over-bloated page, but the website used to have another page featuring all the awards that it won. In the background, there was a very tinny-sounding MIDI file of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (the opening music from the film 2001.) It was just so awesomely, epically bad that it was funny.

Starting a small business? Hiring domestic help? Well, then you need to get an Employer ID Number from the IRS! Just go to http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online to apply…

The website closes down at 10 PM Eastern. The hell?

Until recently, my local natural gas company had a terrible online payment system. You had to click through about four screens, each of which opened in a new window, to pay your bill. They finally redesigned it.

My biggest complaint (not that it is necessarily the worst thing ever, but perhaps the most widespread) is lack of a phone number on a business web site. If you want my business, give me a goddamned phone number! If you want my business, but only want it through email or, worse, through a form on your website, you must not want my business all that much.

A related one: A lot of medical practices, for some reason, don’t have a website. Why the hell not?? At worst a one-pager listing the doctors, the practice address, and the phone number. How hard is that?

http://www.go dsaidmansaid.com/

I broke the link because some of the stuff is so fundamentalist as to be offensive. Don’t get me wrong; I’m Christian to the point of being rostered laity in our church. But these folks (it was founded by some people from my geographic region) are so over the top as to be almost silly. When I first found it I thought it was some sort of parody-ish site like

A general complaint I have about woo/conspiracy/loon websites is that the web “designers” so often create enormously long pages (often, one page comprises the entire site) that one must scroll through endlessly to harvest their pearls of wisdom.

As an example, here’s the otherwise quite helpful page on educate-yourself.org* that advises you on how to avoid alien and military abductions.

I just get tired scrolling on and on and on. I want a few bullet points on abduction avoidance, plus links to shorter pages expanding on the intro section, like they teach in Web Page Construction 101, circa 1995.

*this site is second only to whale.to in the amount of diverse lunacy concentrated in one place.


Just a mess.

Interestingly enough, that website is actually designed reasonably well, compared to other websites offering huge doses of Fundy Crazy. Still completely Fundy Crazy, but at least it has a coherent and not-offputting design.

I have to nominate my trash pickup service. Granted it’s a small operation, serves a 3-county area, but after sending all their customers a mailout, telling us we could now pay online, when you go to the website and click on “Pay Here”, you are taken through a series of screens to enter your information (address, account number, credit card number, ya da ya da). When you finally hit “Submit” you get a messag screen that states “We’re sorry, but we cannot take payments on line at this time”.

And no, lest one think it might have been a temporary situation, it’s been that way for over a year now.

I am also a Christian (deacon and youth leader) and I have run across some really loony and crackpot websites run by crazy fundamentalists. As in King James-only sites where they claim KJV is “the original language” of the bible and sites where every preacher you could ever think of is heretical. And not just people like Joel Osteen- even well regarded and non-controversial preachers like Max Lucado and even Billy Graham. And don’t bother to explain what they believe themselves. Just that all these other guys are evil.

If you ever used a tablet, you developed an instant hatred for sites that used that “OnSwipe” script. You had to scroll right a page at a time (usually 3 columns), sometimes scrolling into a full-page ad, but the worst part was the tightness of them: you had to pull the page more than halfway to the left or it would bounce back to the one you were on.

Fortunately, that crap has basically evaporated, most sites that have used it have gone back to natural vertical scrolling.

You guys made me think of a specific one that I ran into recently that I want to call out.

It’s the grant application site for Pedigree Foundation. Yes, the dog food company. If you want to apply for a grant from their philanthropy foundation, you have to work with this travesty:

(Each of these lines that follow is on it’s own page)

  1. choose which grant you want to apply for (no info about the difference between the grants or their application requirements)
  2. enter your EIN
  3. Read one requirement for the grant you chose at random in page 1, click ok from a drop down(!)
  4. enter your EIN again
  5. read one more requirement about the grant you chose at random and click ok from a drop down
  6. read another requirement and enter the amount of money you are asking for
  7. read another requirement and fill in some basic details about your organization
  8. read another requirement and click ok from a drop down
  9. read another requirement and fill in budgetary data for the last three years
  10. fill in some text boxes describing your organization and what you want to spend the grant money on
  11. no idea because I bailed out here…

… leaving the possibility of $5 - $10K on the table. But I couldn’t hack it anymore. This was after going back and forth between pages 1 and 6 a few times to try to figure out which grants were appropriate to apply for.

Several years ago, I saw a van that is advertised by this website. Don’t view for an hour after eating; both the content and the style can induce vomiting.

This thread is the one I started on the van. It contains the two best “Dune” jokes you will ever read.