confused man looking at a bad web design

7 of the Worst Websites and How to Avoid the Same Mistakes

Many of Newt Labs’ blog posts outline how important responsive design is and that you should do everything possible to ensure a good user experience for every visitor. Some readers consider this advice a no-brainer tip, but the following bad websites prove that they are wrong. Unfortunately, there are still unresponsive sites that look awful. Some other sites are responsive, but the user experience is bad due to poor implementation.

In plain English, there are still many ugly web page layouts, and when I say ugly, I mean really ugly, unattractive, outdated, bad websites. If you are sceptical, check out the sites exhibited in the list below. I hope that your sites aren’t featured in this list. As a bonus, I have also compiled a list of web design pitfalls that you should avoid by all means necessary.

1. Unresponsive and Slow Loading Sites

To make it clear, no matter the design of your site, if it loads very slowly, you won’t get any visitors. It’s not only mobile users who aren’t patient—desktop users won’t wait for ages your site either.

Responsiveness is no longer a fad. More than half of users connect to the internet via handheld devices. Therefore, responsiveness and fast loading speeds are non-negotiable features if you want to earn some money from your online business.

2. Cluttered Layout

It’s natural to want to add a lot of information to a layout. Still, this instinct must be tempered by the rules of good design. French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” I couldn’t agree more.

Don’t be afraid of using white space—it’s equally as important as content. Its role is to help viewers digest your layout. Too little white space means chaos for a first-time viewer.

Sadly, a second chance is an illusion on the internet.

Rover P6 Cars

bad cluttered web design

This site is a sum of bad choices. Not only does the cluttered design scare viewers, but the lack of white space gives them a headache too. Am I too demanding, or does this site needs an immediate revamp?

3. Unclear Hierarchy

Most likely, you are familiar with your site, and you know it’s pages by heart. A visitor, however, will be lost if your site doesn’t have a clear hierarchy. Let people know where they are on your site and what each page’s purpose is. Otherwise, viewers will stop visiting your site. A bread-crumbed navigational menu is a good idea in this respect, but it’s not enough.

Hierarchy is obtained through various factors such as size, spacing, proximity, perspective, and alignment. Take all of these into account when designing the layout; the devil is in the details.


cluttered web design with no navigation or hierarchy

I am almost sure that you won’t understand anything from this page’s layout. I don’t, and neither do many other people. Perhaps I am too demanding, but I am wondering which web design best practices to use in respect to this site. Do you understand where the homepage is?

This is a puddle—there’s no hierarchy and no order, forcing all visitors to run away (except those interested in bad websites).

4. Poor Colour Combinations

Colours play a huge role in the overall design of a layout by highlighting the most essential items. For instance, a call-to-action button must contrast with the background to be visible to the viewers. There are many free online tools to help chose a good colour combination. You have no excuse for making a disastrous decision on the colours used. These bad websites are examples of abhorrent colour schemes.

Constellation 7

noisy and distracting web design

The violet background and myriad of gradients just don’t pair. You can’t focus for more than a few seconds because your eyes are strained. The blinking effects make it even more difficult to concentrate on the site’s copy. The auto-play audio is an unwanted bonus if you visit this site.

Alpha1 Teclabs

phosphorescent green and pure black web design

This website reminds me of the beginning of the internet; it looks like it hasn’t been revamped since 1995. Phosphorescent green and pure black was a colour combination used in the early days of the internet, but it’s no longer a working solution.

5. Unpleasant Aesthetics

Aesthetics is a subjective matter—it depends on the viewers’ preferences. However, some sites are ugly beyond any doubt. These sites combine poor alignment, flashy items, and bad imagery. The result hurts the viewers’ eyes, and they will quit visiting such a site.

Art Yale

ugly web design

This site is simply ugly, and you cannot argue against this statement. The flashy background is a huge no-no, the content alignment has no logic behind it, and the images are plain. There is nothing to attract your eyes (except the background, but users certainly don’t visit this website to admire the background).

6. Boring Images

An image speaks a thousand words. Chose the images that speak for you and not against you.

Ideally, use images from your personal archive or buy professional ones. People on tight budgets should visit sites that feature royalty-free photos. You will find many visually appealing solutions.

Ling’s Cars

cluttered old fashioned web design

Ling’s Cars is an extremely cluttered site that irritates most users. The vibrant background isn’t an inspired solution, and the images used through the entire site are plain and old-fashioned. In spite of the horrible design, this site attracts 2,500 visitors a day according to SEOquake. Not bad at all, is it?

7. Terrible Font Choices

Choosing the best font pair for your site isn’t simple, and it’s difficult to find a totally unreadable font. However, some designers found and used the most horrible fonts for their sites. It’s an amateurish pitfall, and you have no excuse because the internet is full of cool free fonts. Don’t think that you avoided the poor-font pitfall just because you didn’t use Comic Sans.

Take into account the size, readability, contrast, and style when choosing your fonts.

Best Electronics

un-styled web design

Best Electronics looks like someone threw a few paragraphs onto this page and left.

Digesting the site’s content is a mission-impossible challenge. The only positive aspect is that the font is big, and the copy can be read even on small screens.

8. Miscellaneous

The designers who created bad websites usually fall into more than one of the above categories. Lack of experience and inspiration are the main factors that lead to these ugly pieces of design. Unfortunately, there are many other not-so-deadly pitfalls that you should avoid.

  • Auto-playing videos with sound. These videos annoy everyone, and the natural instinct is to kill that page.
  • An invisible navigational menu. A menu should be discrete, but some are too discrete. Make sure that your site’s menu is obvious and straightforward to use.
  • A lack of contrast. Bear in mind that your site might be accessed by a mobile device, the user may be on the beach or in a dark place. Contrast is capital for a good user experience.
  • Complicated forms. The more complicated a form is, the fewer people will use it.
  • Inconsistency. Don’t confuse people with a unique design for each web page. Strive for a single layout for each web page.

Crafting a website isn’t a simple task. The complexity of current sites, new technologies, and the diversity of devices can make designers’ lives a living hell. Under these circumstances, it’s only human to fall in a deadly design pitfall. Compare this checklist against your sites and fix any mistake you’ve made. It’s quite possible that you only made a small mistake, so don’t worry—many websites miss the little details. However, the bad websites featured here don’t respect any web design best practices.

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About Daniel Pintilie

Daniel PintilieDaniel is an Internet geek focused on writing actionable content. He loves showcasing WordPress tricks and tips and online marketing strategies. In his spare time, Daniel reads history books and plays football.

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