A Belligerent Rant on Design Centered Websites with Poor Communication Skills

Please be seated for my sermon. There's an evil force out there, and its responsible for the majority of failed websites. This force seduces you into focusing too much on questions like:

"Is that the right shade of blue? Would a drop shadow make that element pop? Why do links have to look ugly, can't we tone them down so they bend in better with the design?"

The evil force wants you to focus on those dumb questions so that ignore the really important questions:

"What is this web page saying? Is it saying what what I want to say?" 

THe truth is your visitors don't care that *you* like the way your web page looks. Read that again, its important.

Don't worry about your visitors thinking your links are ugly, worry about your visitor not being able to figure out what clickable link looks like, you poor stupid bastard.

Your visitor has simple needs actually, and an amazing design is near the bottom. Your visitor wants you to answer the following questions really fast:

  • What the hell is this stupid site?
  • Do I care?
  • Are they trying to take advantage of me?

A good design merely aids in making users more docile, and more likey to come up with positive answers to these questions. So to hit my main point, once again, with a tremendous whack: the most important part of your webpage is the words (or images and video in some cases), and the design's purpose is to merely compliment them. The webdesign community desperately needs a site that showcases great copy, instead of the CSS-guru/photoshop-jocky circle jerk design galleries we all follow and get inspiration from. Who doesn't look at those sites and usually think "i like the colors, textures, but could give a shit about what this site is actually about it". BTW, if i see one more typopgraphy showcase, I may vomit -- perhaps in your lap. A unique typeface isn't going to save your mediocre message friend.


Anyways, here's 5 - er - 3 communication mistakes that are painfully common -- so much so that a few of them hit close to home to me:

*** The Bigtime Talking Website

This website cares about the words its using, not what's actually said. There's usually someone on hand willing to rationalize this with some BS like, "Well, the target market we are going after speaks this language".

The copy sometimes reads like a refrigerator magnet poems of buzzwords. There's actually an online generator for this bullshit copy, and its managed to randomly generate perfect examples of "bigtime talking" phrases:

  • drive collaborative architectures
  • empower global ebusiness
  • envisoneer b2b solutions

I love this bullshit generator.

The Bossy Website That's a Litte Too Into Its Process

If you see a series of steps in big web 2.0 boxes, you're probably looking at this creature. "Step 1: Sign up for a free account., Step 2: Enter profile information so that our advertisers pay us, Step 3: Particpiate for Gold Stickers that everyone can see on your profile".

Usually what's most lacking from this website's message is how an adult could have possibly thought they'd get rich off of such a crappy idea.

The "I'm only here to let you know that i'm in stealth mode" website

I always make an effort to leave behind a stealth fart -- for exposure of course -- when I click the back button these treasures. 

Well, I feel better getting that rant out.