Join 3,413 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Pithy title goes here
March 4, 2013 4:48 AM   Subscribe

Every Fucking Website
posted by desjardins (63 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
L|O|L
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:54 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


A witty comment
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metacommentary on facile, content-free comments in this kind of thread
posted by Dr Dracator at 4:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


A half-ass, vaguely related comment, not having read the article.
posted by Malor at 4:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


The "Actual Information" menu is the bane of my existence. BANE.
posted by DU at 4:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


An anecdote about a similar offering, albeit in print form, from My Time In College.
posted by nile_red at 4:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


My favorite is the Contact page where their address is embedded in an image.
So to find them, you have to retype their address into Google maps. Welcome to the digital age.
posted by vacapinta at 5:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


I feel cheated. Every Fucking Website these days seems to have some Whiny "Download Our Phone App" Banner or, or even a Shitty Notice to Update Your Browser Plugin(s) So You Can Enjoy Our Site's Ridiculously Expensive Intro Featuring Assets We Stole From Every Other Fucking Website.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:08 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Stupid fucking comment about how using fucking curse words to pepper an otherwise shitty unfunny attempt at god damned humor doesn't do shit fuck all to make it funnier, for fuck's sake.
posted by rocket88 at 5:10 AM on March 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


Obviously, you build your own fucking castle on the private island. Duh.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I admire the expression of dissatisfaction and the creative outlet used to describe it. Good read. With that said, since many people don't work in commercial web design, nor are affected by difficulties I'll go into in a moment, I thought it bore some comment.

One use of those redundant links at the bottom is to help folks who use speech readers (people with disabilities - generally visual and or mobile impairments, and the elderly) and other tools navigate the page (scroll down to the part titled 'Accessibility Matters'). Its hard to navigate and/or read a animated menu items.

Look at your web page. Look to see if you can navigate every piece with it via the keyboard, and whether all your tags and labels are set correctly. Look to make sure that each component of the page can be reached easily. Its a pain in the ass, but that's what tons of folks deal with on a daily basis. Failure to make a page accessible to people with disabilities means you shut them out of your world.

Beautiful design is great, as long as it doesn't isolate folks and impair user access. For more information about what you need to do to get your website intact, visit the ADA and check out the standards.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:16 AM on March 4, 2013 [26 favorites]


Don't miss the page source, folks.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Um, no, it's not using Twitter Bootstrap. (Oh, wait, it's using Foundation, which is a bit better, I suppose.)

Actually, looking at the code I found this funny bit:

<meta name="keywords" content="some SEO bullshit, I can't believe we paid 500 bucks for this crap, the SEO 'consultant' wasn't even wearing real shoes, how did he trick us into this voodoo, we can't even find the damn thing with search when we type in the entire front page of text into google along with the domain name">
<meta name="description" content="Some crap that marketing gave us. The intern probably wrote it on a napkin while they were all out playing polo and getting drunk at 11am on a Wednesday.">

(or, what Thorzdad said)
posted by dubitable at 5:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh and this belongs in every discussion of web design: McMaster-Carr.

Best shopping site on the net.
posted by DU at 5:18 AM on March 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


DU, you just helped me remember when I was working for an art school and we used McMaster-Carr for all of our "everything-and-the-kitchen-sink" purchases...hells yeah.
posted by dubitable at 5:20 AM on March 4, 2013


YOUR PUNY SHOPPING SITE HAS NOTHING ON THE EVERLASTING GLORY THAT IS LING'S CARS
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [36 favorites]


Rory Marinich, a "starts-yelling-at-you-in-Chinese-onload-also-watch-out-epileptics" warning would be nice
posted by dubitable at 5:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I bet it's still a decent template though...
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those for whom Ling's Cars warnings are necessary are those who need Ling's Cars the most, whether they know it yet or not.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


And where is the mobile app?
posted by kinnakeet at 5:26 AM on March 4, 2013



Google is better than efw.
posted by sammyo at 5:27 AM on March 4, 2013


I was expecting a fucking website.
posted by shothotbot at 5:31 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Our firm is talking about a redesign of the webpage. I am showing them this.
posted by charred husk at 5:34 AM on March 4, 2013


No racially balanced set of well dressed young professionals pointing excitedly at a generic laptop screen?
posted by octothorpe at 5:40 AM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


No racially balanced set of well dressed young professionals pointing excitedly at a generic laptop screen?

"They said it will be excellent for my exposure and portfolio!"
posted by jaduncan at 5:41 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes clip art makes me unbearably sad.
posted by shothotbot at 5:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hopefully witty reference to pepsi blue.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:48 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just spent a little while at the Ling's Cars website and want to say two things:

1. If it's not immediately obvious, the web design is a subversive joke.
2. That site honestly did far more to instill a feeling of trust in me than any other car dealer website I have ever visited. I would be happy doing business with them.
posted by 256 at 5:55 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, 256, I was thinking the same thing. Maybe it's the 1998 design, but my instinct is to think that I'll get exactly what she says I'll get. Although, I wonder if the car might come in bright neon, flashing forever.
posted by Malor at 6:03 AM on March 4, 2013


View source on Ling's Cars for a heartfelt warning.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:03 AM on March 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


Whiny "Download Our Phone App" Banner

I'm torn on if I hate these more than awful "HTML5" mobile sites that dump you into an endless mess of spinners and accidental swipes. At least you can click through the app-nagging, with the "mobile app" sites I usually just give up.
posted by Artw at 6:13 AM on March 4, 2013


Oh god, why did you have to link McMaster-Carr? There goes my day.
posted by nevercalm at 6:16 AM on March 4, 2013


Fittingly, the mobile version of the site is unreadable
posted by Old Man McKay at 6:22 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now do dating site profiles! Things be the worst.
posted by RollingGreens at 7:11 AM on March 4, 2013


YOUR PUNY SHOPPING SITE HAS NOTHING ON THE EVERLASTING GLORY THAT IS LING'S CARS

I've reached the beating heart of the Internet and finally it all makes sense to me, the meaning of it all is so clear now. It's time to go lease a car.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


XKCD on mobile versions of sites and apps.


(The usual criticisms of mobile sites don't apply here, though. Pb has done a great job!)
posted by TedW at 8:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I look at this, having just implemented a new web design for my company that was essentially a freaking blog template but which the CEO totally loved, I find myself dying just a little bit inside.
posted by aught at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2013


Ling Cars. Lord help me.
posted by jocosity at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stupid fucking comment about how using fucking curse words to pepper an otherwise shitty unfunny attempt at god damned humor doesn't do shit fuck all to make it funnier, for fuck's sake.

Surely that doesn't include The Dan Band?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:14 AM on March 4, 2013


Keep reloading Ling until she sings I'm Your Venus at you. Worth it.
posted by ctmf at 8:18 AM on March 4, 2013


CATCHPHRASE!!
posted by Nomyte at 8:26 AM on March 4, 2013


In a UX Design course I took, the professor used Ling's Cars as an example of a poorly-designed site. The class ground to a halt, as we began arguing with her that no, Ling's Cars is a brilliant site that does exactly what it should do. And we were right. If you go onto that site looking to buy a car, it is in fact very good at helping you find the kind of car you'd like. The bigness of it makes it that much easier.

And that's why I have such a problem with the Every Fucking Website layout – not only is it vapid and ugly, but it presents a layout so stale and (at this point) cliche that plenty of designers lop it up without understanding why the fuck it exists in the first place, and the result is a web site that's 90% jargon with a small box in the right column actually saying something useful. As a part-time designer, I take pride in the fact that I've never used that kind of layout and hope that I never will. Designers who brag about how good they are at fitting things into that template are the kind of professional I despise: they're paid to help somebody else be uncreative.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:33 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "Actual Information" menu is the bane of my existence. BANE.

Actually, one dependable fact about this particular layout scheme is that there are often "Actual Information" links in the menu at the bottom, which as the parody here hints at is very similar to, but actually not quite the same as, the menu at the top, by virtue of its containing some non-fluff entries. I've been less mad at the internet since I noticed this trend but it still infuriates me on principle.
posted by invitapriore at 8:54 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Came in late, comment based solely on skimming the other comments, but in kind.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This site loads with javascript disabled. I assume this is an oversight.
posted by srboisvert at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


This site uses cookies for no particular reason but under UK law you are entitled to be notified about it. Click 'OK' because the alternative is that you become the sort of person who gives their friends a hard time about having a Tesco loyalty card and probably pays for everything using coins

|OK| |There really isn't another option, sorry|
posted by Acheman at 9:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every fucking pithy response.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:52 AM on March 4, 2013


rocket88: Stupid fucking comment about how using fucking curse words to pepper an otherwise shitty unfunny attempt at god damned humor doesn't do shit fuck all to make it funnier, for fuck's sake.

It felt to me like they were rather trying to illustrate the despair and frustration of having to be a part of something as admittedly dreadful as Every Fucking Website.
posted by herbplarfegan at 10:54 AM on March 4, 2013


While assembling a WordPress site lately, my research showed that that exact design can be achieved with about 40% of the free WP Themes (and over 80% of the paid WP Themes). After a lot of customizing a highly-customizable theme, I got (NOT intentionallly) pretty close myself (self-link). But notice, I put the menu bar ABOVE the logo.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2013


Slarty Bartfast: " I've reached the beating heart of the Internet and finally it all makes sense to me, the meaning of it all is so clear now. It's time to go lease a car."

BABY LING SAYS TAKE THIS DEAL!
posted by zarq at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2013


Designers who brag about how good they are at fitting things into that template are the kind of professional I despise: they're paid to help somebody else be uncreative.

I don't know anyone who brags about it, but if you ever do paid work where the budget is something that amounts to "real" money, you'll soon discover that when clients say they want something creative--they're outright lying.

Organizations, and the people they hire or co-opt to manage their web endeavors generally:

* Don't like risk
* Feel like everything is important and needs to be equally weighted
* Are concerned about ensuring they're doing "the latest" thing
* Want to spend less money on the site than it costs to pay for one catered meeting to discuss the site
* Generally want to mimic (ie, directly copy) their competitor's sites, and if not the look and feel, definitely all of the content

Etc. "Can't we just copy this site" is an oft-heard phrase. So is "this space isn't being used for anything, we should put more stuff there."

Getting good creative work published in the context of being paid for it takes a few things...for example, a very small company with leadership which understands aesthetic issues and information design, and/or--if you're doing your work as a designer where you aren't also the project manager--you need to have someone on your team willing to sell your ideas to the client, educating them in the process. (Those managers are few and far between, too. PMs generally will back down at the first resistance from the client, rather than trying to educate and get them to see their site could be more.)

PMs also tend to push features which make no sense for a particular client but have to be in there "because everyone is doing it". Hence social media bullshit, blogs or twitter accounts for organizations where that's a ludicrous idea.

Remember that a lot of PM-type folk spend time at conferences whose attendees are largely other people in the field with their same duties--and hence it's a huge circle-jerk a lot of the time. They come back saying things like "personalized cupcake recipes are the wave of the future, from now on every site will have them" without determining whether this makes sense for any particular client.*

I've largely given up trying to do "creative" work except for personal projects. I mostly code these days (which at least is semi-concrete), but if I do end up with the design duties on a project, I just make sure the inevitable Standard Web Site, not much different than the parody site, is as nice as I can make it.

* They also generally say things like "you really need to know how to use [insert startup web services company name and product here] or else we're behind the times" when (a) no one is using it because (b) it's a stupid idea, besides (c) said tech is unstable, undocumented and complex, and (d) they want you to invest 50 hours trying to master a shitty API when you'll bill two hours over the next year actually doing said work, assuming they don't change to a different startup doing the exact same thing on a completely different platform in the meantime. And then the idea is either shown to be laughable or the startup goes under. Rinse and repeat.
posted by maxwelton at 11:19 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is only going to make sense to Torontonians, and perhaps fans of Scott Pilgrim, but I think Ling's Cars is the website equivalent of Honest Ed's. Honest Ed's website is not even as Honest Edy as Ling's Cars, and it's pretty Honest Edy itself.
posted by Dreadnought at 1:30 PM on March 4, 2013


Don't want to derail, but this reminds me of this gem of a "Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever."
posted by anothermug at 1:39 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich, a "starts-yelling-at-you-in-Chinese-onload-also-watch-out-epileptics" warning would be nice

What's even better is that the page took so long to load that I had clicked back to this tab and resumed reading the thread for a little while before the autoplaying cover of "I'm A Believer" blasted through my speakers, startling me dreadfully.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:51 PM on March 4, 2013


Addendum: Standard Web Site is valuable in at least one way: by normalizing the web, it makes using the web easier and more valuable for "normal" people who aren't immersed in it 24/7.

As a designer, I might love discovering a business site that's "arty"--it's nice to see aesthetics get a nod, in any case. But even as a designer, if I'm at your Widgets, Inc. site, odds are I'm there to find out one of three things: what your products are, where I can buy or service them, or how to get in touch with you. I may appreciate your site being gorgeous, but will still give you the finger if I cannot find what I'm looking for.

It's amazing how very many businesses fail at providing this information. Great, you have a stupid game. Awesome, you have a video which tells me why you're wonderful. Neat, I can share this with my 80-year-old mother via facebook. But none of this helps me find how to spend my money on your product. If there are other companies who make a similar product, maybe I'll go see if they do a better job telling me how to give them my money.*

Just witness all of the beautiful websites for photographers (and architects and other "creatives") which have a lovely aesthetic but are terrible to use, to the point people give up trying after a very short while.

There are lots and lots of people who use the web who just want to find stuff, and if said stuff is served to them from a boring but usable site, they're OK with it. I'm sure they like beautiful sites, even if they cannot articulate exactly why they like them, but they really want to find information. No one cruises around the web to see if the producer of Generic Product has a crappy flash game they can waste five minutes on.

User studies have shown that while clicking the logo to go home is generally understood, it's not universally so, and people become gun-shy if they visit sites where the site builder didn't do that, so having an explicit link to the home page isn't a bad idea. Repeating the navigation at page bottom, in additional to benefits to screen readers, if also a convenience. You get to the bottom of the page, you can choose to do something else without scrolling back up. Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference.

Design takes talent to do well, but it is not art: it is a craft. Good design services the product that it is presenting, whether a brochure, book, website, package, sign or logo. Design which is servicing itself, where the "art" is more important than the message? That's crappy design.

Finally, before shitting on a designer who built a site (assuming, of course, it shows general competency), remember that there are numerous audiences the designer has to cater to, often with competing desires. The audience which should be the most important is the end-consumer--it sometimes even is, may miracles never cease. The one which should be relatively unimportant, but is often the most important, is the executive at Widgets, Inc. whose budget is paying for the site, and whose whims and ideas must be in the final product, whether those ideas are good or terrible.This is where a good agency or designer will do their best to educate, but the effort is often in vain--executives or business owners often see themselves as smarter than everyone else, especially on something as "unimportant" as a web site.

Another audience often at odds with the end-consumer is the designer themselves, or their agency, who want a site they can submit for a pat-on-the-back award from one of the insider groups whose conference is coming up.

Sigh. Back to work...

* And if you're a wholesaler, for fuck's sake, tell me who sells your products, preferably both online and brick-and-mortar.
posted by maxwelton at 2:52 PM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is only going to make sense to Torontonians...

Or to those of us from south of the border who have wandered around Honest Ed's in a daze, trying to take in all the photos and the signs before staggering back onto Bloor Street wearing a newly-purchased, ridiculously cheap, wool cap.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:53 PM on March 4, 2013


I really enjoyed the social media section on this one. Who cares, indeed.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:55 PM on March 4, 2013


Oh and this belongs in every discussion of web design: McMaster-Carr. Best shopping site on the net.

Except for two things: 1) A corporate policy that prevents them from identifying who actually makes the products they distribute 2) A recent redesign that makes each product listing a useless hyperlink back to itself, preventing me from f'n selecting the text of the product number so I can copy it into a purchase order.

Other than that, I agree, it's a great site. Plus they deliver overnight!
posted by Popular Ethics at 3:03 PM on March 4, 2013


To be fair, its not just client websites that can be, well, interesting.

Over the years I've seen a lot of profile and porfolio sites on job applications for designer and developer positions. This one is, and always will be, my favourite.

More sites need "exit" buttons.
posted by garius at 3:07 PM on March 4, 2013


They missed the fact that almost every goddamn website is written so that if you have your default font-size set A LOT BIGGER so you can read it, the text either spills outside all their button/boxens or is clipped off by the edge of the button/boxens.

AND THEN there are those people douches who manage to create text so endlessly fascinating that NO MATTER HOW WIDE you make your browser the EDGE OF THE BROWSER WINDOW chops off the last four words in each line.

There. I feel muck fuckiing beta now.
posted by Twang at 5:18 PM on March 4, 2013


Thinking about clients or PMs.....a lot of them seem to think they can just make people do whatever they want on their site, like a rat following the scent of cheese.

Example: I was just at this page, hoping to find out what a membership costs. No? Maybe if I click the "buy a membership" link, that will go to a page that tells me. No, it gives me a window with a login prompt and a link to a free trial.

I can just see some guy at the meeting, insisting that the best thing ever would be to get people to sign up for a trial before you even tell them what a membership costs, that way, see, they will already be excited about the value of the content. Well, what about people just getting annoyed and closing the tab, which is what I just did?

This is kind of a plausible thought process and it's a little example of the kind of thing I'm bitching about. Maybe I am wrong, and they tested this and it works better than what I want to see. But I doubt it...the apparent move to get me to agree to buy something for an unknown price just reeks of hucksterism, although on what seems like a totally legit and great site.
posted by thelonius at 9:07 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


thelonius, I've sat through more meetings than I can count where your example logic is presented just as you imagined it. "They won't want to leave!"

I recently worked on a project which had a checkbox to opt out of the endless marketing emails all businesses feel they need to send these days (note, not a checkbox to opt in, but you had to actively check the box to opt out). When the person running the project saw that 90% of people were opting out, he had me remove the option to opt out entirely, saying "these people know that they'll be getting emails, it's no big deal." I mentioned I thought that was disingenuous (at best), but to no avail.

That's the thing that's most amazing to me about some of the stuff I've seen over the years: companies and PMs get so attached to their idea, no matter how bad, that if it flops it's not because the idea itself was bad, but because they weren't clever enough in figuring out how to force people to use it.
posted by maxwelton at 10:17 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Example: I was just at this page, hoping to find out what a membership costs.

Hey look, they tell you how much it costs now! Someone's paying attention.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:49 AM on March 7, 2013


« Older Music Timeline: A chronology of music from prehist...  |  A NFL fan discovers the joys o... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments