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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly website design

Many website designs bombard their visitors with all sorts of unnecessary bells and whistles. Cool? Well, people once thought digital watches were cool.

Bad website design gets in the way of good website content. If the website design is intrusive, difficult to read, or poorly signposted, your visitors will go elsewhere. We all know that reading a screen is more of a strain on the eyes than the printed page. People get impatient with websites. If they can't get to grips with your site quickly and easily - they'll walk.

Often "less is more" when it comes to good website design. Sites that have little worthwhile content often try to compensate with all sorts of fancy tricks and many website designers go overboard simply to show off their skills.

The first golden rule of website design:

- just because it's there doesn't mean we have to use it!

Some things make a website design good, some things make them bad, and some things make them ugly. Here's my personal selection, thanks for reading . . .

Tony Blighe


The Good
website design. . .

  • Navigation you can understand in seconds
  • Content that is relevant and up to date
  • Fast loading pages
  • Text you can read
  • Design fits your corporate image
  • Easy to find contact details
  • Search engine friendly
  • Works on any browser
  • Bookmarkable pages (no frames)
  • Properly resized and optimised images


. . . and the Ugly
website design

Too many colours and Fonts

"Under construction" signs. Your visitor has just waited for the page to load, now they know there's a good chance the next link will be "under construction" too, so they leave. If a page isn't finished don't publish it - simple.

Animated images - visitors don't like you giving them a headache. Same applies to flashing text of course.

Text that jumps out at you or moves around when you hover over it.

Long passages of white or light coloured text out of black or very dark background. This stuff really is hard to read for any length of time. It's OK for maybe one to five words in a heading but for body text it's a no-no.

Visitors will not thank you for using up their ink cartridge when they print the page!

Text in a colour that is similar to the background colour so you have to squint at it. It might look cool and trendy but believe me it'll turn customers away.

Painful background
images that mean
you can't read the text.

Yes - we have seen worse than this!

. . . the Bad
website design . . .

Hit counters, usually designed to look like a milometer on a dodgy used car - and just as reliable!

Smarmy clocks!

These silly clocks take the time from your computers clock and pretend it comes from the website. PC clocks are notoriously inaccurate.

Web pages that keep changing slow down your computer. There has to be a very good reason for doing this. Do Start/Run and type in "sysmon" to see what we mean.
Broken links
Long, pompous and irrelevant Flash intros (we won't bore you with one)
Pictures that scroll across the screen for no apparent reason, making you want to shout "cuddly toy".
Javascript or other errors
Really busy pages that leave you in a helpless heap of confusion
Text that's too big
and text that's too small.
Like baby bear's porridge, your text size should be just right.

Irritating popup windows that you didn't ask for
Adverts for things that are not relevent to your website
Lowds ov speling misteaks or ttypos and gramaticurl errers.
Forms that give an error but don't say what was wrong and then wipe out what you just painstakingly typed in.
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