While locating the most useful sites on the Web, we felt it only fair to call out the some of the most useless, too. We found no shortage of sites that are poorly designed or boring, but we list here some of the sites that go that extra mile–the dazzlingly ugly, the patently offensive, and the mind-bogglingly pointless.
AOL AIM Dashboard (dashboard.aim.com): I’ll admit that Dashboard already has two strikes against it just because it immediately gets right into my face every time AIM starts up, which means every time I fire up my PC. Once this lame site has your eyeballs, the site seems willing to do anything to keep them, if just for a few seconds, using eye-candy graphics and tabloidy headlines like “High School Love Triangle” and “My Nasty Texts Went to my Dad!” Strike Three.
HavenWorks (havenworks.com): If a Web-design program got sick and threw up, it might look something like this site. My uncle from Santa Cruz says the first time he saw it he had an acid flashback.
Juicy Campus (www.juicycampus.com): Juicy Campus provides a public place where college kids can engage in gossipy smear-fests against fellow students, teachers or anybody else, with complete anonymity. The tenor and intelligence level of the posts is, well, what you might expect from people who spend most of their time pulling bong hits, playing Madden 2000, beer-sliding, and vomiting up Night Train.
Zombo (www.zombo.com): A Web site? Concept art? A prank gone horribly wrong? I honestly don’t know. Open the page and you will hear: “This is zombo.com. You can do anything at Zombo.com. The only limit is yourself. Anything can happen at zombo.com.” Well, in fact, nothing happens at zombo.com.
Brill Publications (www.brillpublications.com): It’s virtual! It’s like being in the real world, except, uh, it’s on the Net! One the InterWeb! Walk through the front door of Brill Publications. See the secretary. Take the elevator. Talk to Bob on the 5th floor. Wait, why am I here?
City Optix (cityoptix.com): Sorry to pick on this little local optometry franchise, but sites that immediately launch and force you to watch ridiculously long, loud, and inane flash presentations –and there are many of them–drive me nuts. This one is one of the worst examples of site design I’ve seen.
Digg (digg.com): OK, Digg isn’t a horrible site, but it is one of the most depressing when you compare it to what it once was. Digg’s top stories (as voted on by Digg users) used to be interesting, and tech-oriented. But since Digg has grown so immensely popular, the top 10 Diggs usually consist of “lowest common denominator” stories: funny photos and videos, for the most part. It’s a site cursed by its own popularity.
Weekly World News (www.weeklyworldnews.com): “The world’s only reliable news” site is chock full of news you can’t do without. A recent lead feature investigates whether James Carville or Britney Spears (bald) looks more like “Bat Boy.” Why isn’t CNN all over this?