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"Web Pages That Suck" sucks

Saturday, March 11, 2006 | 8 comments

Today I opened a link to a page on Vincent Flanders' "Web Pages That Suck". The web page described, belonging to the Association of International Glaucoma Associations indeed sucked. But when I wanted to see more of the "Worst Web Design Techniques" I was bitten by an extremely bad web design technique. So Vincent Flanders, learn usability and good Web design by looking at your own website.

Navigation that sucks

So, when I wanted to go to the "Worst Web Design Techniques" I pressed the button to the left of "Back to The Worst Web Design Techniques Featured on Web Pages That Suck in 2005". Even though I hadn't been there, Mr. Flanders somehow thought I was going back.

Navigation that sucks
Navigation that sucks

So I clicked... and clicked again. Nothing. Then I noticed in the status bar of Firefox the following text:

javascript:history.go(-1)

Ouch. I opened the page in a new tab, and hence there was no history to go back... I got stuck, stuck because of one of the worst web design techniques, used by Mr. "I show you what sucks".

Is this what you call usability Vincent Flanders? I don't. Moreover, I would call this something that sucks big time, moreover it is misleading. The only time the text and the function of the button are in agreement is when I indeed came from the "Worst Web Design" page. In the case that I come from another page, the button does make me go back to that page (history.go(-1)), but that page is certainly not the page mentioned in the text next to the button. And since I opened the page in a new tab, nothing happened. In short, your usability sucks, Mr. Flanders.

Moreover, Mr. Flanders the following code is a big no no if you want to make your pages usable by people who have JavaScript turned off for one reason or another, or just use a browser that doesn't support JavaScript:

<a href="javascript:history.go(-1)">

I see similar code often in use for creating pop-up windows. Don't use javascript: in the href attribute, but move the JavaScript to the OnClick attribute. Make always sure that the link does something useful when JavaScript is not present for one reason or another.

Finally, instead of adding something usable to your page, you just added a button with exactly the same functionality as the "back button" on a browser.

Say that again?

I couldn't resist to quote the following two jewels by Vincent Flanders:

Unfortunately, people are very clever and invent new ways to suck up their sites

Well, the "back button" is neither a new invention, nor clever, but it does suck up your site.

My goal is to help you design effective and aesthetically pleasing web pages. My method is to show you bad design techniques so you'll realize what they are and not use them.

I had a good laugh, and can only recommend him to nominate his own site for "Web pages that suck 2006", and learn from it.

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