Author Avatar Web Disasters III – Visual Garbage

by Webnme2 on Mar 20th 2010


Help! I can’t see the website? My eyes are flying around in their sockets! That’s how your user may feel when entering your website when you over do it with visual stimulation. Okay, we understand that a website needs to bring a return on investment or server a business purpose for the owner unless it is a hobby or philanthropic site. But, take it easy on the user.


1. Stop You Are Hurting My Eyes

Wild flying mini-windows that have flashing content sliding across the screen stop the user cold and tempt them to close their browsers because it looks like something just happened that shouldn’t have. Some may be afraid to click anywhere because they’ve learned that this could lead to cookies and more pop-up screens. Many will hit the back button and go somewhere else, f they can. Worst of all for those that stay, is that you’ve delayed their gratification in getting where they want to go. They may not come back.

2. You Want Me To See Your Content or Garbage?

Flashing, whirling, dancing advertisements distract from what the user wants to see. Sometimes it is enough to prompt people to back away from the site in a hurry. Some site owners are dense enough to think that several of these on a page is a good thing. They need professional help.

3. Blinking Is For Bozos

Blinking super huge text is a slap in the face too. Knock it off. We can read and we read better when the text stays in one place all the time.

4. Unbalanced and Unappreciated

The ratio of content to advertising is important too. If most of your real estate is advertising, then it is a junk site and your visitors will feel like they are in commercial city. Learn from TV. Advertising through commercials became such a pain in the rear that people were willing to spend hundreds of dollars on devices that screen out commercials, sought out devices to automatically mute the TV, or simply opted for DVDs and cable/DirectTV channels that have less advertising. There is a point where more advertising has a diminishing return and a further point where it becomes counter-productive.

Not everyone that visits your site intends to buy something or is going to buy something that lines your pockets. Get over it.

5. Get Relevant With Ads

If you are going to advertise, at least try to have relevant advertising or netural advertising. Nothing is funnier than a website that has advertising that detracts from the purpose of the website. If for example, you run a story on your website critical of airline safety and advertise cheap airline flights in the sidebar, what message are you sending your visitors? I suspect they’ll make a screenshot to share with friends to say look at how stupid this website is. Maybe it would have been better to advertise flight insurance with the story huh.

About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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