Rich Kellerman of MarketAmerica posted the following question to LinkedIn Answers. I’ve included a link to the thread up on LinkedIn as well as my response for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
View the LinkedIn Answers thread here: http://hotsects.com/liworstweb
What is the worst website you ever saw and why?
This question pertains to active websites. Please exclude one page websites.
This is a tough question to answer. Some fantastic, classic examples of horrific website design were already posted and they totally make me laugh ( and thanks for posting them ).
As an accomplished and seasoned designer … and one that keeps up with all the current trends and terminology … I have to say there is currently a proliferation of bad websites ‘out there’.
After recently reading Jarod Lanier’s ‘You Are Not a Gadget’ I came to the guided realization that it is too easy for the average person to put together and release a blog, website or some online experience. I realize that not everyone participating on the web today might need a designer for what it is they are trying to accomplish with their online extension and expression, but I cannot emphasize how tiring it is lately to come across website after website that use the same cookie cutter out-of-the-box blog app theme … or some componenture from the same 4 to 7 Web 2.0 canned content widgets. Right now I could Google a topic, visit the top 10 sites that come up and probably discover most of the links lead us unto the WordPress ‘N’ Theme with modifications by ‘designer’ such and so.
Step back a bit …
That said, these are truly exciting times. I love the Web 2.0 world we live in. Social media. All that. We have a short window right now of near-democratized capabilities to really say what’s important, publish anything we want on the web, stand up for something good or stand up against those things we find frustrating or bad. But how many of us feel we can really put it ALL ‘out there’ without somehow hurting our public brand. How many people are really using this new democracy of expression to its full advantage? To say something unique and important? To find out what’s next, right around the corner?
From the conversations I find myself in these days, I have the sorry notion that the ability to freely publish to the web, to take advantage of this amazing space we have to form online and real world communities, to hold certain people accountable for their contributions to our newsScape, and to just put up your real, genuine feelings and point of view to reach out … that ability could be both underutilized and soon slipping away ( we need to stand up for net neutrality and keep our only people-driven means of communication open and free and clear ).
Anyhow, my point might be … there are many ‘worst websites’ online right now. In the great Dadaist tradition, I stand up and scream with a big:
Down with the cookie cutter websites!
Down with abandoned sites and those left out of date!
Down with experiences lacking any real content or meaning!
Down with the clone! The marching detritus of free and easy templature!
Down with the sites lacking direction, focus or feeling!
Let us now take a pledge to stop pointing our fingers. We know what is bad. What’s the worst. And the many reasons why. Let us come together with every bit of energy we can muster and collaborate. Yes, let’s work together to build an even brighter and beautiful web. A smart landscape of online experiences and websites that:
1. Consider an audience
2. Talk to that audience in a happy, human way
3. Provide something of value to that audience
4. Exist for some purpose … to make money, that’s a good one ( perhaps the lesson from bubble burst 1.0 would be develop a business plan ) and one that most sites might want to think about from the inception of their product, service or content. But there may be a myriad of purposes ( of course )
5. Connect people ( real people to real people, no pre-recorded, robotic and faceless organizations that text you in the night )
6. Serve some greater sense of goodness