Why are some websites still so terrible?

Posted on March 27, 2017

 

The internet has come an incredibly long way in at a relatively short time, meaning that websites can begin to look out of date very quickly. For example, recent years have seen mobile optimisation become a must, with global mobile internet usage now ahead of desktop.

As little as 10 years ago, it would’ve seemed ludicrous to suggest that a website should be easily usable on a mobile phone, but nowadays we groan if we find ourselves having to scroll from left to right because a site hasn’t been designed to be looked at through a portrait-oriented screen rather than a landscape one, or if we’re forced to press tiny little radio buttons or tick boxes that are designed for cursors rather than our oversized fingers.

Desktop-only websites are a giveaway sign of a site that’s stuck in the past, but they’re not the only one. Aspects like awful colour schemes, huge blocks of text, irritating graphics and intrusive pop-ups should all have been left in the 1990s, but now and again you come across a site that seems to have bypassed a decade or two. Usually, this is simply because they’ve been neglected and are due an update, but now and again, some companies and web designers seem to play on the outrageous and unconventional to make a statement.

One such example is LingsCars.com, the site for a car leasing company owned by eccentric Dragons’ Den contestant Ling Valentine. The site is utterly ridiculous, with its psychedelic background, in-your-face graphics (including chickens and cats, for some reason), irritating background music and Ling’s face plastered all over the place trying to get you to lease her cars. There’s no way you can say it’s a nice website, but it does appear to be a successful one, receiving over a million unique hits in a year. Ling doesn’t seem to be doing too badly for herself, despite actually turning down offers from the Dragons.

Another barmy website I’ve stumbled upon is Arngren.net, a Norwegian retail site that has the feel of a jumble sale. It’s all over the place, rendering the site into an online version of an old-fashioned printed catalogue. Even more extreme than this is TheMostAmazingWebsiteOnTheInternet.com, which I hope is a parody of bad website design. I can’t really put this site into words, so just visit it, and why not have a game of ‘Click the Mel Gibson’ while you’re there?

Do these sites work? Well, they are different and they get us talking, but business websites ultimately need to attract visitors again and again. Ling appears to have used her personality to drive her brand well, and that’s reflected in her unconventional website, but it would be interesting to know how many repeat visits she gets. Ultimately, it’s advisable to make sure your website sticks with the times and meets the expectations of its visitors. To ensure your site does this, speak to the team at Engage Web.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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