Previously, when I talked about things that irritate me, I used kind of a scattergun approach. I talked a little about this, a little about that. What can I say? I’m a generalist, a lot of things bug me and I like to spread my ire around.
However, today, I’d like to concentrate on one subject in particular, websites. And specifically websites run by mainstream media. The simple truth of the matter is that mainstream media does a pretty lousy job of website design – unless their actual goal is to piss me off that is, in which case they are doing just fine. I mean, come on, you’d think people who specialize in mass media would have a better grasp of how not to irritate the ever living hell out of their readers, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, it’s just me. Sure.
I mean seriously here folks, nothing chaps my ass more than to click on a headline in Google News Search and instead of the goddamned story I get wiggling jiggling giggling blinking bouncing flash animation like some schizophrenic's nightmare or any random Tim Burton movie (which come to think of it is basically the same thing).
I understand that some of these sites have to make a profit, I do. But Jesus Hairy-Eared Christ, does profit have to be so Goddamn irritating?
Let’s start with advertising, shall we? Pop-up ads are bad enough, but most modern browsers can be programmed to block them. In fact there’s a whole slew of add-ons and optional controls to prevent pop-ups. So you’re think that the dipshits who work in Marketing would get a clue. Oh hell no. The fact that 99% of the Internet using world blocks pop-up ads means one thing to Marketing people: We need even more annoying pop up ads! So what did they come up with? Splash ads. This is the equivalent of a midget with a sign jumping in front of you when you’re trying to look at something on the store shelves – which is where the sport of Midget Tossing came from. Just sayin’.
And speaking of ads, how about those sites that put advertising above the content? Or bury the content in advertising so that it’s damned near impossible to tell which is the ads and which is the story? My personal pet peeve is the ad in the middle of the text, with a little note “Story continues after the jump.” It’s not a jump, you wankers, it’s a fucking ad. You might as well say “the story continues after the woolly mammoth,” that makes about as much sense. Story continues after the jump, no shit, really? Hell I thought when you hit the ad, that’s it, end of story. Good thing they told me that story continues. I love it when when a website basically calls me a drooling moron right to my face. But hey! Buy our stuff!
How about posts that are broken up across multiple pages? What in hell is this all about? Every mainstream media publication pulls this bullshit. Of course, they’re trying to get you to click on their site repeatedly, that way they get more advertising dollars – and yeah, I’m not so stupid that I don’t understand this. But for crying out loud, how about a little common sense? How about more than one line per page? Today in Washington D.C. … (click NEXT to Continue) President Obama and his Llama (click NEXT to continue) conducted an Easter Egg hunt on the White House La… (click NEXT to Continue) |1|2|3|4|5|
Hyperlinking. For the love of God, there’s either too much or none at all. Seriously here, some sites hyperlink every damned word – like some conspiracy nut footnoting his footnotes. And just to add in two scoops of extra crunchy annoying flakes they turn the hyperlinks into a minefield ala those pop-up preview gadgets. I’d like to kill whatever paste eating nerd that came up with this idea. You move your mouse around and shit starts leaping out at you like some kind of half-assed carnival house of horrors. Or it’s just the opposite, nothing. No references, no links, nothing. The story will mention that Dick Cheney is now giving online hunting lessons, but there’s no link to his site. Seriously, if you don’t understand the basic concept of hyperlinking, you probably shouldn’t be publishing shit online in the first damned place.
How about the Automatic Video or Sound Ambush? I like to read the news and surf the web on my tablet while watching TV in the evening (Really, how the hell did people watch TV before the Internet?). I leave the sound turned up on the laptop, because occasionally I like to watch a video clip, or listen to a news broadcast, or whatever. If my wife is in the room, I put on the ear phones so as not to bug her. She does the same. Last night I was reading about Michael Steele’s firm stance against and/or for a woman’s right to choose or not to choose or choose to not have an abortion or whatever the hell it that idiot was going on about – and all of a sudden the computer speakers start shouting in Nancy Pelosi’s annoyingly confused shrill whine. Jesus Hopalong Christ! If I want to watch Pelosi’s bizarrely confused reaction to Steele’s bizarrely confused bullshit, I’ll click on the play button – though I admit, unless that wan, limp dishrag of a majority leader is announcing her resignation or describing how the Wizard of Oz gave her a pair of actual platinum coated testicles, I probably won’t.
Now, as long as we’re on the subject of video and audio – I’d like to point out that using a non-standard, proprietary media player plug-in is just a big fat pain in my ass – and I’m looking straight at you CNN. What the hell is this all about? Look, Flash, Quicktime, YouTube – pick something where I don’t have to download some kind of stupid one-use only plug-in. Really, I don’t like your site enough to download special software. It’s nothing personal, I don’t like anybody’s site enough to download non-standard software. And hey, if you’re using non-standard video formats because you think that it’s keeping people from stealing your shit, well then you really haven’t been paying attention – because seriously, Media Moguls, your shit was hacked before you even filmed it. That’s just how it is.
Registration. Somebody please explain to the Los Angeles Times that I’m not going to register to read some two paragraph five-page story about the chimp that bit off that guy’s nuts. I’ll just go elsewhere. Here’s the thing, it’s an AP story, I can read it, verbatim, in the Mumbia Mail or the China News or Poughkeepsie Plowhorse. When you get 99% of your news from international news sources, you don’t have the exclusive – and you don’t have any damned reason that I should give you my name, age, sex, and phone number in order to read something I can get elsewhere. And people wonder why the traditional newspapers are going out of business. They’re like giant dinosaurs, standing there watching that big fucking meteor flaming across the sky, and them with their little tiny pea sized brains and inability to adapt. Smell that, fellas? Yeah, it’s called extinction.
Fixed format pages. Fixed width? Non wrapping text? Pictures and embeds not dynamically anchored? What in the hell is this? Print media? I can’t resize your site to fit what’s happening on my screen at the moment? Or resize to suit my browsing habits? Who the hell still uses this shit? Well, aside from Adobe and their fixation with that1979 PDF format. Seriously, if you insist on fixed format you’d better be having some Goddamned stupendously interesting content, because if it’s not George W. Bush being stuffed naked into a 2x2 sweat box at Gitmo with an rabid angry lesbian badger, I’m going elsewhere. And hey, as long as we’re on the subject, print and email formats. I browse a lot of mainstream cooking sites, I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe. Here’s the thing – I generally don’t bring my expensive computer into the kitchen! Neither does anybody else, I know. I print out the recipe, I’d like to do that without having to print your whole damned website complete with adds and hyperlinked minefields. Same with email, don’t include a print or email button if you’re not going to provide a stripped down print or email format. Thank you.
And finally, navigation. It’s the 21st Century. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never live on Mars, let alone travel to the stars. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never own rocket boots or a flying car. I’ve come to terms with the fact that Rap music is not a passing fad. But I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with sites that don’t incorporate obvious and intuitive navigation. Symantec, Microsoft, MTD, and the list goes on and on. Stop trying to be clever, really. Just include some basic obvious navigation tools and a decent search function will you please?
I hope this clears things up.
So, what pisses you off about websites?