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Accessibility and Usability Forum

Top 10 things that irk you about websites
yes another top 10

 4:15 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't have 10 things I can think of off hand. The biggest one though is having to scroll side to side to read a document on a page. I used 800x600 screen res, like about 20% of the internets users do, but now I have upgraded to 1024x768, and it still happens. I saw one site that was made for 1600x1200.

Another thing is pop-ups/unders. Urgh!

Poorly written JS, you know, when the menu stays with you as you scroll down, but it jumps around and is quite distracting.

Slow load time. That's not as bad as the other things, but I read that the average time an internet user is likely to spend waiting for a page to load is 7 seconds, after that, they're gone.

All text sites, or pages that are 16' long, and filled with text, when all you need is on paragraph, don't they know that no-one is going to read an entire manual just to get the info from one paragraph?

So I decided to try to design my webpages around what drives me crazy about other websites.

What I'm looking for here is to find out what drives other people crazy, so I can try to implement those issues into my future web designs.

What drives you nuts about websites?



 6:12 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Links to PDF files without warning that it's a PDF.


 10:45 pm on Jul 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

More than 3 clicks to check out.

I mean once you get to the product you want. Put it in the cart, put in shipping address/ship preference, put in payment. Done.

I've seen so many that just keep going and going and going.


 1:27 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Flash animations with sound on and content only written to satisfy search engines.


 3:37 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Flash animations with no "skip Flash intro" link.

Flash animations with the "skip Flash intro" link embedded in the Flash itself (so users without flash have to way to get to the next screen).

Flash animations that serve no purpose other than allowing the designer to show off a bunch of Flash animation skills.


 3:47 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Overlap on a page when I don't have the screen maximized. I know that with css and fluid layouts it makes it harder to not have this happen, but I wish designers would test their site for scalability.

I often surf with my browser window filling only about 2/3 of my computer screen (1024x768), and I know it's selfish of me but I would really like to be able to read what's on the screen without having to maximize the thing.


 3:52 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

#1 on my list:
Embedded Sound!

#2 on my list:
Sites that assume I am in IE and seem to only work only in IE, like bad drop down menus and some ActiveX controls

And everything LifeInAsia said

[edited by: Demaestro at 3:53 pm (utc) on July 31, 2006]


 4:19 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh yeah, embeded sound- a DEFINITE top 10!


 4:22 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

Having to click the back button several times to get out of a page. Very spammy move.

Redirects to irrelavent sites...Urgh!

The word "FREE" when nothing is free.(and other misused keywords)

Waiting to disclose the cost of an item (or the fact that it costs in the first place) until after you entered all of your information.

Sites that require e-mail validation, then after the validation, send you a password in the email, then require you to change your password.

Sites that ask for my real name, or my physical address to become a member or submit a link....Why is it important?


 5:31 pm on Jul 31, 2006 (gmt 0)

The number one item I have to raise are pages which contain nothing but adverts, or which promise something in the title not provided in the text.

but now I have upgraded to 1024x768, and it still happens

This should be a non-irk, because all a webmaster has to do is add a statement "Best viewed at 1600x1200" (or whatever they favour) and all the problems are solved. It irks me that webmasters cannot spend the time to write add such a simple statement.


 3:28 am on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

In terms of commercial sites I hate it when I can't find out what the shipping cost will be until I sign up and go through the whole order process.


 12:49 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

all a webmaster has to do is add a statement "Best viewed at 1600x1200" (or whatever they favour) and all the problems are solved.

Was that a joke?


 1:25 pm on Aug 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

being told to 'upgrade' my opera 9 installation to internet explorer 5 or better.


 12:19 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Sites that require a plugin just to run thier animated logo/other none-functional area.

Portal sites that tell me my ISP and/or IP + other pointless information such as scren res, colour depth etc. (I know this, don't tell me!).

Prices that don't include VAT and only tell you at checkout (whilst still displaying 0 VAT in the basket)

If I specify "Non-US/Canada" don't expect me to enter my phone number/address in that format or expect me to choose a US state just to make the form valid.

"hacker safe"/other 'safe' claim icons. Never say never and all that ;)

Watermark/static backgrounds.

That teenybopper/hax0r typing - Yu N0 teH sORT

Pointless blogs. Not just pointless blogs (after all everyone has the right to free speech) but the ones that blog like they are announcing something. The ones that think they have an audience of 1000's but actually have only a few devotees.

Off-topic adverts. I might like your article about X but I don't want a picture of a maimed animal to distract me thanks. It might make you feel better that you are making me feel guilty however don't use my own guilt/trauma/opinions to fuel your well-being ego.

"Please wait while...<I do something>" messages. Usually pointless. Why do I have to wait for the download to start? I am not actually going to click on those adverts (although thanks for the eye candy adult ads) :)


 12:36 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

1. Slow loading pages (you lose me to the back button after about 4 seconds, and I'm being generous).

2. Poorly designed navigation. That includes anchor text stuffing where it really doesn't make sense. Your home page should be marked "home" because it's a homepage. I know what that means. I don't know where "shiny green widgets" is going to take me....

3. ....especially when you obfuscate the target link with Javascript by putting some "hint" text into my browser system tray when I hovver the link to see where it's taking me.

4. Picture of two guys in suits shaking hands*. I don't care if it's a B2B site and that image suits you perfectly. I'll hit the back button if I see it. It's naff. It even looked bad in magazines back in 1986. Don't waste my bandwidth with meaningless imagery. If you want to brand your website, have a nice logo designed that reflects your image and is in keeping with your site design.

* - Pink Floyds Wish You Were Here album cover has complete exemption from this rule, but then, one of them was on fire. The issue here is with "pointless cookie cutter images".

5. "Under Construction". If it doesn't exist yet, don't place a link to it. I still see this a couple of times a week on sites. Get with the program.

6. If you pick a small typeface for your main page style (yes I know, it can look "cool" if done right), then make sure you've used EM's in the stylesheet so that I can zoom in if I'm tired/lost my glasses.

7. "Make this your hompage!" links. That's real arrogance, and if you're not Yahoo! or Google, you cannot pull this off. I've even seen this on B2B sites! An "Add to Favourites" is perfectly acceptable and more appropriate for your site if you're not aforementioned Google or Yahoo!.

8. More than 3 clicks to checkout and I'm buying elsewhere and might not come back ever again. If I have to hit the back button for any reason and you haven't stored my details meaning I have to retype them all, then I'm going elsewhere and I'm definitely not coming back again. And I'll tell all my friends never to use you. Yeah, that one really makes me cross.

9. Never assume that I'm going to let you run your javascript.

10. If something is going to take a long time, tell me in advance and remind me to be patient and to not start hitting refresh or the back button.

duncan biscuits

 11:57 pm on Aug 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

Links that open in new windows without warning you first.

Images that are not optimised. Don't squeeze your 250kB picture into a 80x80px image; use a proper thumbnail image to link to the large version. (I've got the dialup blues, can't you tell?)

Blogs with far too much on the page, so that the scrollbar is about one sixteenth of a inch thick. I see this, I leave your site pronto.


 12:16 am on Aug 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

1) Having to scroll left and right! Like MSN AdCenter makes us all do!

2) Big site with crummy or no site search function!


 8:45 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

  • Horizontal scrolling.
  • Slow loading.
  • Flash-based navigation.
  • Otherwise poor navigation.
  • Images that appear squashed in one dimension because the actual aspect ratio does not match that specified via width and height attributes.
  • Overuse of color.
  • Bad URLs.
  • Cluttered page.
  • Unable to find contact information.
  • Spelling mistakes.
  • scintex

     12:15 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Oh yes, properly marked up lists are nice too!


     12:25 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

    Characterset problems. E.g. localised symbols being rendered as unreadable text, the funny diamond with a qquestion mark as an appostrophe and other characters with odd interpretations.

    The page loading "freezes" half way down becuase my browser is trying to contact your stats website.

    Javascript links with no alternative link if JS is off.

    A minor annoyance but forms that need me to submit a lot of data and then tell me I've missed a few fields, whilst loosing that data in the process. Client side validation is nice on large forms.

    Abuse of the ALT attribute. Whilst it may render a nice "tooltip" in some browsers, some users actually rely on that tag so don't fill it up with ASCII art fish or pointless meanings - like "this is a picture".


     2:47 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

    slow websites. when a page loads slowly i have to be more careful what i click to avoid long waiting time.

    bad navigation - unclear.

    i hate when a title or meta description in the google SERP snippet promise some information that is not on the page.

    horizontal scrolling makes me angry, too.

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