Website Pet Peeves 101

This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.

Introduction
I was IMing with Georgina on a blog topic idea, and she suggested something that reminded me of an entry I’ve been meaning to write the last several months. As someone who’s been creating (since 2000 — Geocities-era kid, here!) and surfing websites (since 1998), I’ve decided to throw my two cents out on some of my pet peeves regarding websites over the years. I do not write this to sound pretentious, but I write this in hopes that this shows website owners how to create a website that will not scare their visitors away. Without further ado, here is a list of my website pet peeves!

Website Pet Peeves 101
1. Websites that takes forever to load. I may be on a fast Internet connection, but if I have to wait for a website to load because of poor scripting and because of too many junks on a page, then さようなら (sayounara = farewell)! However, if it’s due to poor hosting services, then that’s an entirely different matter!

2. Websites that are illegible due to poor colour and designing choices. Keywords here? Foreground and background contrast, fonts choices, font sizes, and line-height. Black text on white background is awesome. Grey text on black background and neon green text on white background? Not so awesome. If I have to highlight to read a site, that’s not cool. Also, please choose a font that’s not “cursivey”! Fonts like Monotype Corsiva might be prettier to some people, but it makes the text difficult to read, and not everyone might have that font on their computer. Choose a font that is common like Verdana, Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia, and make sure the font size is large enough. Otherwise a lot of squinting and zooming in is required. Lastly, line-height can be website owner’s best friend. That gives the necessary spacing between the text’s lines, and it allows easier reading. See below for reference.

Line-height at 10pt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum augue lorem, convallis ac cursus a, rhoncus at tellus. Aliquam pretium urna condimentum velit egestas aliquam. Maecenas sapien tellus, fringilla sit amet volutpat sed, commodo id elit. Sed vitae velit id velit viverra viverra sit amet id nisi. Donec in neque leo. Nullam quis turpis non eros faucibus tincidunt. Mauris orci turpis, laoreet vel sollicitudin in, dignissim et enim. Aenean at ornare felis. Donec ultricies, felis ut tincidunt tempor, felis ante dapibus urna, in vehicula ligula ante quis nisl. Mauris ornare fermentum nisi, non fringilla ipsum tincidunt quis. Fusce adipiscing feugiat augue, non tempus tortor tincidunt rhoncus.

Line-height at 20pt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Vestibulum augue lorem, convallis ac cursus a, rhoncus at tellus. Aliquam pretium urna condimentum velit egestas aliquam. Maecenas sapien tellus, fringilla sit amet volutpat sed, commodo id elit. Sed vitae velit id velit viverra viverra sit amet id nisi. Donec in neque leo. Nullam quis turpis non eros faucibus tincidunt. Mauris orci turpis, laoreet vel sollicitudin in, dignissim et enim. Aenean at ornare felis. Donec ultricies, felis ut tincidunt tempor, felis ante dapibus urna, in vehicula ligula ante quis nisl. Mauris ornare fermentum nisi, non fringilla ipsum tincidunt quis. Fusce adipiscing feugiat augue, non tempus tortor tincidunt rhoncus.

3. Websites that have a lot of spelling and grammar errors and uses “chat speak”. I’m an English major, so yes I’ll be picky on this. I’m not saying I am a grammar and spelling Nazi like some people out there, and I am well aware that we all make mistakes (like me!), but using a spell-checker becomes quite handy, especially on browsers that come with it (ie: Firefox and Chrome) and will make the owner sound more capable. Asking others to check the content always help! Fix mistakes when they are discovered after publishing the website. Finally, I really, really dislike chat speak — like the one below — because it is extremely annoying and it questions the website owner’s intelligence.

hi. Im tara-chan n i lik3 to wr1te like dis! It iz fun! i like how i dont have 2 use proper werds and punctuashuns and spelings. it’s easier 2 type dIs wAy and wutnot!

. . . Actually, that was extremely difficult to type. I spent three minutes trying to type like that instead of typing in my usual manner. Oi. Talk about awkward. (That last sentence was for you, Georgina!)

4. Websites that changes layouts and contents too quickly. Over the years, I’ve ran into people who changes their layouts and contents quite often. I don’t mind it in general since creating layouts involve creativity, and who am I to criticise this form of art? Also, people are free to do with what they want with their websites, changing the contents and whatnot — ie: changing a site from a domain collective to a domain blog to a domain fanlisting collective and repeating the cycle ten more times. However, I’ve had the displeasure of knowing people who changes it on a daily basis. Or every two to three days even. If the site owner changes a layout or changes their contents around that often, it tells me the following:

  • They are creative and wants to express themselves. But to do it every day? Or every other day? Or even weekly? It’s nice to give visitors the variety, but some stability is a great thing, too!
  • They are very fickle-minded. This is not a great thing since visitors will doubt the owner’s dependability.
  • They are insecure of their own works, and that makes the visitor thinks so, too.

In the end, varieties are nice, but try not to overdo it, or it will drive potential visitors crazy.

5. Websites that are entirely made of Flash. This is a personal preference. But. I. Hate. Flash. Period. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from my 56K modem days, where flash websites would take an hour — it certainly felt like it! — to load. Then when it loaded, clicking on a link would require me to wait as I waited for the next thing to load. Now, even with a fast connection, I dislike websites entirely in Flash. I don’t mind Flash here and there for navigational purposes or something, but the entire thing? No, thanks.

Conclusion
I have a feeling I have more pet peeves stumbling around in my brains, but I think these are the major ones. I hope these points help out any future or current website owners! If not, then feel free to ignore these advices. I do not expect everyone to agree with me on these. To each their own, right? :D

Comments

  1. I agree with most, but too much colour contrast can also be a problem. Not so much with very dark on very light, but very light on very dark can really burn the text into your eyes for quite a while. I think I prefer grey on black in that case.

  2. And, as to point#4, many people might see a change in the web site and think it’s a different website, and close the window immediately. It’s really not useful to change your layout every two to three days. Honestly? I can’t imagine that there’s much quality to your layouts if you rush out a new one every. single. day. Just a bad idea, period.

    The rest are of course, self-explanatory. These kind of “pet peeves” should be put in a book of etiquette, since no one knows what that is anymore…

  3. I remember Geocities! At one point I had a domain with them LOL.

    Anyways, I sooo agree with the background. Unfortunately I see quite a bit of blagh contrasting in younger web designers and I don’t know if they realise that they’re literally burning someone’s eyes when they look at the site.

  4. I know exactly what you mean! I don’t even bother to read some sites with annoying things…

  5. I guess we’ve had our little chat about the first few points. :D I remember this person changing their layout almost every day – it was quite annoying. Some people switch their domain around as well, and I know someone who has done it a bit, but not so much as you mentioned. Hahha.

    It also annoys me when people constantly move sites. Can you not make up your mind about the name of your site?

    Line height… honestly. 9pt font with tiny line height. My eyes. My poor, poor eyes.

    One of my favourite websites back in the day (2003, say), was an entirely flash website. I was on dialup at the time and I had waited there for quite some time for it to load. I really liked the site… now I hate Flash. What is very annoying is when they overdo the navigation with drop-downs, colour changes, nifty little things… my mum works in cosmetics and all the brand’s sites are like that. Only on one of them did I see a link saying “HTML version”.

    Hahaha I love ET! That is also one of my favourite movies. I don’t see movies much but there are some must-sees out there. I remember watching Dead Poets Society – Robin Williams! :D

  6. I can relate with what you’re talking about and just like you, I have those pet peeves as well. I especially dislike layouts which have poor color coordination coz it makes my eyes hurt. How can I possibly stay in a site which is making my eyes hurt, right? -_- I also hate it when a particular site takes too long to load and just like you, flash sites can bug me sometimes, too. I’m still used to the usual html/css/php sites… minus the extra stuff. Heh.

  7. If you mean “not very nice” as in “a complete bitch” then yeah, I agree. She really needs to loosen up, and yes it is the same teacher who picked on me before. Hopefully she can develop a sense of humor because any other teacher that I know would have laughed a long. -.- SHEESH.

    Haha, sexi molecules and arsoles are awesome. xD

    You have a very good list of pet peeves here. I agree with all of them, pretty much.
    I especially agree with the line-height point. Infact, I wrote an entire article expressing my anger about improper line-height lmao: http://gvd-paperplanes.com/visitor/articles/articleblogtext.php

    The chat speak one drives me absolutely insane as well. I can’t even understand half the time, what I’m reading and it comes across as extremely sloppy on a website. Even on places where chat speak is acceptable to use (like MSN, twitter, facebook) I still get angry because some people over do it and it makes them look like idiots. :P

  8. I am guilty of changing my layout often.. although it’s not really the layout that I change, it’s really just the image at the top haha… I can’t agree more on the chatspeak annoyance though. Everything else I can kind of handle, like pressing ctrl+ if it’s too small or highlighting is doable, but there’s nothing you can fix about chatspeak!

  9. I change my layouts too quickly. I’m sorry. :(
    Good post, though. I agree with you… even on the changing layouts bit. I just can’t help myself.

  10. I would have to agree with all the points you posted! I extremely hate it when it comes to color choices and the contrasts. I think every website designer needs to at least get the color wheel lol! But then again, I always wonder if the one who owns the site have some eye problem or what? If it hurts your eyes….then it will hurt others too!

    Even if you want to change your layout often (i tried but failed a couple of times), I mean its really fun creating your own layout and all; it’s also kind of stressful for your own good. I prefer changing my website theme by season or occasion (and yeah I changed into fall theme just today xD).

    Gah of course writing like a text message or alternate uppercase lowercase letters is very annoying! >_> Who would you expect to read a whole entry with those kind? Not me lol!

  11. Agreeing with you, text speak drives me nuts, no idea what they are saying, I love content and most personal domains do not have this :( I’m trying to add more to mine

  12. one more point, website with music embedded =.=
    imagine im da one who opens 3628745327 tabs in chrome and imagine da fuss of clicking on each tab to check which website (mostly bloggies) has mp3 embedded! it never cease to annoy da hell out of me…

    i type liddis one. and i use words like everybuddy, loong (cos long isn’t long enough), and mum (instead of eat). would u judge me…

  13. Ahhhh you hit the nail on the head with two of these for me — for sure!! #2– color choices is such a big pet-peeve for me. Like you said, I hate having to highlight text in order to read it. It could be the secret of life and I would be too frustrated to even bother reading it. My boyfriend, Brett, is a computer programmer and always says that he hates websites that have white font on black background because it hurts his eyes and is sort of an optical illusion of sorts. I agree!

    #3: Seriously, if I can’t understand what is being said and I don’t even think the author knows how to say it…I will go elsewhere. Anything in chat speak loses credibility for me, too. A typo issue here or there isn’t a huge deal for me, but…I actually went to a blog the other day that said, and I quote, “I expecially hate this…” and I left. Just right then and there– couldn’t handle it! I work with a woman that says supposebly and it drives me crazy. So…kudos to you, lady, for telling people to utilize the easy to use resources out there– like a spell checker– it helps!

    I think another pet peeve that drives me nuts is when there’s just way too much going on with links going here and there and no rhyme or reason to anything about the layout. I like easy navigation and if I can’t find where to go, it sort of drives me up a wall.

    Oh man, this sort of thing will get me into a rant!
    -M.

  14. Latrina on

    Oh, I know what you mean. I agree with all of those! Another thing that bothers me is clutter. I hate it when content is not organized and easy to read. I also don’t like websites where the author just rambles. I like either fun, creative, or meaningful content. Content with some sort of purpose.

    Oh and I can’t stand too many similes too. Especially the little images — they just get in the way and distracts from the content. :|

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