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February 10, 2009

The Internet is filled with good websites, bad websites, and ugly websites.

While we mostly deal with good, or at least bearable websites, the digital abyss is fraught with those-site-that-shall-not-be-named. They have pop-ups, incredibly long load times, broken links, things that look like links but aren’t, things that should be links but aren’t, bad page design, bad grammar (ok, I forgive them for that one…sort of), poor implementation of flash or other fancy code, or maybe they are just completely useless. The list of annoyances could go one for a solid blog post or more.
So, before I highlight what my quintessential bad website it, let me first explain an ideal website:
I will admit, I love Google (I’m not linking to it because that might insult you). YAY! Google!
It’s simple, intuitive, and acts as a true portal to the internet, which is something any good site does effectively. In terms of content, architecture, and design, one cannot beat “The Google.” This might be a shocking choice from someone with lots of web experience such as myself, but I feel like the old mantra of ‘keep it simple, stupid’ reigns here. Websites, even advanced sites, need to be natural and intuitive–something that is such a challenge for anyone that works with the Web that you can go to grad school and get a masters in it.
Google is a search engine. It searches. Very well, in fact. It also does other stuff, and you don’t even need to ask it. Want directions, type an address. Want to do math, type an equation. Need a conversation, it does that, too. All from the search box. And, on top of the practically countless other services Google offers (to be honest I don’t even know half of the services that Google offers people). Google has enough money and enough brain power to be the best. More power to it.
So, not much can compare to Google in terms of site functionality–at least while on the site. I’d argue that a service like StumbleUpon is most worthwhile when you are not on the homepage. But, there are certainly sites that fare far less than even the worst of Google’s creations (yes. Google has failed.)
The very worst site, all things considered, in my time as a Web user, is…drum-roll please…
Your MySpace page.
Now, MySpace as a site and as a service has come a long way in recent months (if only because FaceBook has forced it to keep up), and currently it is a lot more user friendly with a modern user interface (UI) for building sites than it used to be. Nevertheless, whether you be some 17 year old girl, a band, a brand, an executive–I’m sorry but your MySpace leaves something to be desired.
MySpace is gross
Yes, there are the occasionally well-designed pages using flash and CSS, which totally rework the traditional MySpace layout and allow advanced users to basically create their own website from scratch. But excluding those rarities, the typical MySpace pages, while providing some information, really don’t scratch the surface of being useful–except when it comes to me previewing a band’s music.
Too often, pages (even professional ones) take for-ev-er to load. The music player is faulty. Something you coded in the page is making my browser hang (thanks). You made the mouse icon different, there are falling stars as the background, or I can’t read the text or see the links because every color is clashing. Possibly more important is that fact that on your page, you either 1. give me way too much information about you or 2. not enough information about you. And those surveys…I’m not even going to say anything.

Here’s a brief update. I was going to take a screen shot of Tom Anderson’s MySpace (he’s the creator of the site). And I realized, this isn’t that bad–this really shows us someone’s personality. I then realized that for the vast majority of people, using MySpace to showcase one’s personality would be like me painting a picture to showcase mine. It is a bit of a dull example, but my personality painting would look godawful and probably give you an even worse impression of myself.

Alas, I have a MySpace. But in my defense I use it to connect with bands and do “research” because MySpace is the most popular site on the Internet. But that’s all. I think FaceBook and LinkedIn are more professional, higher quality, easier, safer, more user friendly, more feature-full, and generally better websites. Those sites provide information that I want and that I need in a clear and standard fashion.
While individual customization is key in creating for new media, it can’t get out of control like it does with MySpace. It’s always a hassle when I have to go to a MySpace page, and I dread doing it. Too bad Google’s social networking site never caught on…
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alexandra Lynne permalink
    February 10, 2009 9:44 PM

    Brett,First off, I really enjoyed all of the links that you included about Google’s past ventures. I haven’t heard of a lot of them (well any of them to be honest) so I found your post extremely informative. I do agree that Google is a great site as well. It has a simplistic homepage, but still some flair due to its colorful text. Yes, and the navigation is the best. Once I discovered Google I never turned back. Google doesn’t have one particular target audience, I guess you can classify them as information gatherers, and I think that Google meets the varied demands of this target extremely well.Now onto MySpace. Let me just say, I am not a MySpace user. I am a Facebook user. So this is maybe my first or second visit to the site, and I have to say that I found it better than I expected. I felt that it was easy to use (the tabs on the top) and I enjoyed the interactive media that was on most of the pages.It has a simple color scheme of different shades of blue, and its font was easy to read. It seems that you really don’t like the site, so maybe I need to dig a little deeper into why, but until then I think that its ok.-Alex-Alex

  2. Brett permalink
    February 10, 2009 11:29 PM

    Hey Alex, I guess I should clarify my problem with MySpace…its not really the homepage or the sub-sites themselves (ie myspace Music, etc) but more the personal websites of people that make me cringe. I know I’ve been to my fair share of professional websites that have just been complete messes, but I like I said I always dread going to someone’s personal MySpace page because of the slow load times and the inherent hitches in creating a powerful, robust website via the MySpace profile system.

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