Worst of the Web

Posted February 19, 2014, under Gee Whillickers!

One of the great things about the Internet is the fact that anyone with a modicum of technical savvy can establish a presence online. The Internet has quickly become the Great Equalizer.

That’s only gotten easier with the proliferation of social media profiles, blogging tool websites such as Blogger and WordPress, site-building tools and services, and affordable hosting.

Gone are the days when we only had YouTube comments to let our personalities shine.

The downside is that coding ability does not confer one with design sensibility.

Just Because You Can…

Good design is good design whether on paper or pixels. But as browsers became more sophisticated, people experimented. It’s both predictable and understandable that some mistakes would be made.

But when you come from the Lisa Frank school of decorating, we’re talking less about “mistakes” and more about it being time to reassess some life choices.

Warning: Do not visit either of these sites if at risk for epileptic seizures. We only wish we were joking.

We want to stress this is not about the website’s message. Quite the opposite. The point is how poor design of any kind — but most glaringly, online — will not only hinder or obscure one’s message, but may even open it to ridicule by association.

“Sure,” you say. “Those were obviously done by total amateurs. No professional, big company would have such a lousy website.”

There Are Lots of Ways to Be Lousy

The PineSol website is polished as all heck, and all kinds of interactive. But that’s actually part of the problem. The design is so busy that it’s hard to know where to look first. That’s flunking Design 101.


Believe it or not, the site used to be worse. Those panels used to move, forcing visitors to chase them around the screen to click them.

Speaking of cluttered sites, remember we mentioned Lisa Frank earlier? It wasn’t only a name-drop designed to nostalgia-bomb anyone who has been a little girl since 1979.

In fairness, this is a very accurate representation of the brand.

Appearance alone isn’t all there is to a website fail, either. The site has to be navigable, videos have to play, images have to load — plus, given that many people now use their phones for much of their Internet activity, websites also have to be easy on visitors’ bandwidth. In short, and most important of all, a website has to work.

Even governments have failed on that one.

Once Again, With Feeling

Internally, we’ve been calling this batch of Lunch Meats the “Fail” series, but it could as easily and accurately be called the “Don’t Be Those Guys” series.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right, and if it’s worth doing right, it’s worth hiring a professional to do it, and making sure it works.

Don’t be those guys.

Rigney Graphics is a Pasadena graphic arts company that can help you create an impact with design and marketing solutions for print and web.