My Stinky Seven Redux

Two columns ago I wrote about seven things I really disliked about web site design and construction. It was called “My Seven Best Reasons to Stay Offline.” And at the end of the article I invited you all to send your own stinklists back to me.

And send them you did.

I promised in that article to publish them and here they are, at least some of the best of them. The actual responses are in italics.

Practice What You Preach

The impetus for my column was an article I read in CIO Web Business, to which I pointed people through a text link. One of the things I complained about was sites that opened secondary windows to display content. And a whole lot of you let me know that the CIO Web Business article to which I linked did just that.

Now, here are some of the other contributions.

I Know Where You’ve Been

. . . wanna know what gets me… it’s those damn mini-browsers that [always pop up]… all 1000 of them when ya go to one site and when ya close one of them two more pop up.

Well, there’s only one type of web site I know of that does that… not that I’ve ever visited any of them. And if I actually did go there, it probably would bug me too.

Psst, here’s a hint: Disable Java from your browser when you’re conducting your research, and you’ll be able to leave those academic research areas without obstruction.

Not that I’ve ever visited any of them.

What AOL Has Wrought

Those little unwanted pop-up screens that just won’t go away (“you’ve won a trip or… you have been selected”)… unless of course they wind up booting me offline.

I once hoped the AOL pop-up legacy would go away. But over the last six months, Netscape has started doing it too. Wait a minute… didn’t something happen over the last six months between Netscape and AOL? Any pattern-recognition experts out there see anything?

Seven Come Eleven

This writer had a bigger list than mine:

  1. Java and Java Applet ads that hang up the page till they download.

  2. Animated ads that don’t reveal any useful information when animation is turned off.
  3. Background music that hangs up the page till the music starts.
  4. Having to first join a “community” to read an article or post a query.
  5. Copyright violations.
  6. Frames.
  7. Weird or tasteless backgrounds.
  8. Unreadable text, either due to color or size.
  9. Over-used graphics.
  10. Image maps.
  11. The Microsoft site’s “navigation” system! Well, that about says it all, doesn’t it? And by the way… I agree wholeheartedly with the last one: Microsoft still hasn’t learned how to create a usable – and unbreakable – web site.

The Grief Is in the Mail

HTML newsletters that take up 60K of memory, infinite time to download and then offer no content. How can a 60K email not offer anything when it uses twice as much memory as some text and graphic web pages? Not only that… you can’t really go offline to read them easily… [Another problem is] newsletters that arrive daily and have more advertising than content. I do think newsletters should be able to carry ads but even quality daily newsletters can be irritating when you see them in your box every day along with another 500K of email. The daily irritant is much more likely to get unsubscribed to than the worthwhile newsletter that comes once or twice a week.

Well… aside from one or two technical misstatements, the point of this one is well taken. In fact, in my view, the best newsletters are those that come out every three or four weeks at the most.

Can’t Live with Them… Can’t Shoot Them

Porn banners. I hate them. I’m in the security business and when I start searching for information on hacking, security, or general (dark) stuff, I get porn. Joy. I’d use ad wiper, but unfortunately, I also hate cheesy little apps that cost $30 to register and annoy you more than the ads if you don’t register them.

Funny… I’ve never seen a porn banner in my life (seriously). But of course, I spend all my time searching for flowers, etiquette and general (light) stuff.

Here’s an All-Time Favorite

Online forms that, if filled out incorrectly (even just one field or character!), present you with an error message and don’t save your previous values – forcing you to re-enter the entire form!

I’ve been working on online airline booking functionality implementation, and this is a pretty serious problem on some of the biggest sites around.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandeigo Dot-Com

This should be an easy one but most sites don’t provide easy-to-reach contact information. Contact info should be accessible from any page and include the site owner’s or the business’s physical address, phone and fax numbers, and email, as well as the site’s URL (helpful in printouts).

Man alive if that ain’t the truth.

Did this spur you on to think of some of your own stink.coms? Feel free to let me know at this address.

And Happy New Year to you all.

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