The average website has improved since we wrote Part 1. It’s bright, colorful, snappy, smooth, inviting, and intuitive. We seemed to have lifted off, up, up, and away from 1997, which is unquestionably encouraging.
However. Old, archaic, obvious blunders have been traded in for, and replaced with, more subtle slips that are still annoying, although usually less jarringly so.
Here we go.
1. Slideshows – a growing number of web authors will take a seemingly straightforward, logic list of items and instead of putting them in a one- to two-page article, they will make them into a slideshow. These slideshows have great graphics but precious little informational text and instead of having to click to (maybe) a second page on an article to read the second half, you have to click through every. Single. Item. On the article’s list. Individually. Websites do this to boost the number of clicks they can squeeze out of you in one visit, which drives up their traffic metrics and thus, their ratings and thus, their advertising revenues.
2. Headline-heavy, less filling – these are the fine folks who pepper their websites with lots of Google-friendly headings to boost their search ranking, and then failing to follow through with decent content. Instead, they deliver skimpy content; either the site barely has any useful information on it, or the information is basic and clearly lifted verbatim from other websites.
3. The Scroll – these are wordy pages of infinite length, full of fluffy, non-specific, feel-good concepts but again provide little to no actual information. These pages usually include lots of text of varying size, color, or background highlighting, lots of effects such as bold, italic, or underlining, or excess exclamation points, but nonetheless, have very little real meat. Guys, stop fucking around and give us the lowdown already.
4. Surveys – this is when you log onto a website and instantly a survey pops up, asking you various questions. I don’t mind filling them out. I mean, I can’t bitch and complain about the way things are if I passed up the opportunity to exert my influence and offer my opinion to change things, right?
But survey-writers need to 1) keep me posted on progress during the survey; a simple “6 out of 17” will do, lest I think that what I thought would be 5 questions turns into 50; 2) actually give me relevant options to answer with or allow me to skip a particular question (example: an investment site has an investment-related survey that asked me who handled mine–good question, except that I don’t invest at all right now–but that wasn’t an option. I had to pick a false answer that didn’t apply to me, as my answer wasn’t available and I couldn’t skip the question); 3) conduct the survey on a separate browser and not the one I was currently using to surf, lest I lose my place on the web and get irritated; and 4) don’t hit me up for feedback right when I log onto a site for the first time. Wait until I’ve rummaged around the site for a few minutes first.
5. Questionable information – web authors on informational websites (not necessarily personal blogs) should attempt to back up any assertions they claim to be fact (particularly of political, historical, economic, or healthcare-related).
Editorials expressing personal opinions aside, it’s otherwise wise to cite your sources (and be sure to pick quality sources), so that we can 1) verify the accuracy of the statements, and 2) further explore the areas/concepts/topics that interest us. (Natural”News”, I’m looking at you. You write lots of provoking headlines and lots of believable-sounding stories, but looking for credible sources quickly turns into a dead end.)
6. Authentic Login – some websites (and a growing number of them) are attempting to accrue a list of unique, individual, verifiable, real members. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take one of the previous 7 Defective Habits of Highly-Annoying Websites (the forced account creation) and take it to a whole new level: requiring login, but failing to provide a way to sign up via the website and forcing would-be members to log in to the website via social media sites such as Facebook instead.
I find this intrusive, as sometimes when I find a website cool enough to tolerate going through the trouble of creating an account, I just might want to remain a little…anonymous.
7. Nagging – this is by far the most annoying these days. Gmail and especially Facebook are incorrigibly guilty. I mean shameless. The nagging is endless and it makes a teenager’s helicopter mother look hip by comparison. These websites see no problem with constant barrage of semi-condescending commands: Invite your friends! Like and share! Tell your friends! Help so-and-so find more friends! Upgrade your browser! Give us your mobile number! We couldn’t spam you by email; please give us one through which we can more effectively pester you! Yada, yada.