5 New Things We All Hate about Web Sites

   Posted July 18, 2010 by David Kirk in Internet

If your web site does any of these things, please stop. As innovation pushes the web forward, new annoyances frequently appear. You are embarrassing us and your visitors hate you for doing any of these things.

1. In-text Advertising – Sliding your mouse across a link causes advertising boxes to pop out. Reading sites with this type of advertising is like walking across a mine field. You read, you read, and then all of the sudden your concentration is destroyed by a random ad jumping out at you. This type of advertising needs to die, die, die.

example of in-text ad

2. Toolbar Footers – Visitor information, Twitter, Google search, chat — all in a facebook-like footer. Seems like a great idea, right? Holy cow, it’s annoying. This type of footer became popular after facebook launched their multifunctional footer at the bottom of their site. Services such as Wibiya has made it possible for other sites to use the toolbar easily. I don’t know why we hate it, but we really do.

Related to this are the evil headers that appear on sites like the About.com and the New York Times.

header at the NYT

3. Pagination – How can a site double or triple their number of ad impressions? Just spread the article across a multitude of pages! We use ads to pay the bills around here, but the degree of pagination on many web sites is getting ridiculous.

split site into multiple pages

4. Video ad longer than the actual video – News and video sites are now running video ads before you can watch the video you selected. I understand that; we all need to make a dollar. However, please don’t make me watch an ad that’s longer than the actual video I wanted to see!

ad is actually longer than the video

5. Paywalls – More and more sites place their content behind a subscription requirement. Although frequently google cache will still get you access to the information, the paywall practice is dishonest and against the idea behind the web. The fact that google allows a site to present information in one format to the user and in another format to the search engines compounds this problem.

I love the fail of this picture.

paywall blocking

Please feel free to post some of your annoyances about the web in the comments below.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

    amen to that! nice post and i really hate the autoplay flash ads w/audio. any site that does that is instantly banned from my google searches.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, yeah. I totally agree. I’m surprised some senior citizen hasn’t sued one of those sites for causing a heart attack. I always seem to find those sites when my volume is accidently CRANKED!

    • http://twitter.com/Rholtslander Reade Holtslander

      Anything that makes sound automatically is instantly despised by me. It’s obtrusive, annoying and in all other ways enraging.

  • http://meena-tech.blogspot.com/ Meena Bassem

    Nice post,i really hate those things

  • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Rob Rogers

    Great list! In-text advertising and the flash ads w/audio are my biggest headaches. I also dislike sites that utilize multiple pop-ups for advertising.

  • kwh29

    Flash ads that scroll to take up the whole area above the fold and don’t minimize on their own, then after minimizing pretend you’ve never clicked “close” when you navigate back to the home page.

    Audio flash that’s not muted by default. Particularly amusing in meetings at work…

  • Anonymous

    i REALLY HATE those pop up ads.In-text ads is ok with me 🙂

  • http://socialwebtools.info Charnita Fance

    Hey I LIKE Wibiya 🙂 If we all had the same taste in site tools what fun would that be?

    • Anonymous

      i like Wibiya too! 😀

  • http://twitter.com/ongoingissues Ongoing Issues

    This is a great post, spot on. I was only thinking the other day how annoying it can be when you are trying to read an article and you have to keep clicking onto the next page. Don’t get me started on the YouTube adverts.

  • Abigail Lee

    BRILLIANT! Love it so much, and you said it better than I ever could have. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting about these annoying-as-hell, idiotic things.

  • tbg

    Any sound on a website. Window gets closed immediately.

  • Anonymous

    Nice one! I would want to add once more though, which is the oldest mence and still not accounted for: Popups. Even browsers have built in popup blockers, they are hardly effective, as advertisers find ways to bypass them.

    In text ads include website preview popups too. Even WordPress has them. Fortunately you can turn those off. And bottom toolbars can cause browsers to crash, apart from being annoying. I hate them the most and avoid sites that have them like the plague.

  • D Perry

    Music that plays automatically and the off button is nowhere to be found!

  • D Perry

    Black background with light text especially red!

  • Mikeh77586

    You really nailed it this time. I don’t know if it will result in any change. But the fact that you have put it out as it is should help. I think the in-text ads are the worst. If it happens when i’m trying to read a page I end up doing one of two things. I’ll just close the page and look elsewhere for an answer. Or make a note of who is doing the advertising and make sure that I will never purchase their product.

  • Frank

    So how exactly do you expect websites to make money? Not everyone is doing what they do from the goodness of their heart. That said, in-text adds and auto-playing sounds are incredibly annoying. Pay walls are fine though – you don’t expect to get everything for free in the real world, so why do you expect it on the internet?

    • Noch

      Because pretty much all of it IS free elsewhere on the net. Why would I pay to read The Times online when I can get the same news from the BBC site for free?
      I have no problem with sites charging for content, but it should be unique content that I can’t get elsewhere.

      • Vic

        It’s fair practice to have it available only as subscription (especially if it’s been available free for a bit), but Google shouldn’t continue to index it as if it’s free.

  • Wayne R.

    Light grey fonts on a white background is one of my main annoyances; it’s worse than white fonts on black.

  • Noch

    The one that annoys me is where the site initially looks like it’s loaded but then a full screen ad covers the page and you have to find the close button, which has inexplicably been put in the bottom left, in order to read the site. I now don’t visit these sites, I just skip on.

  • Derp

    I recently came across a website showing differences between the Chinese version of WoW and all other versions, there were about 12 pictures total. Enough for a single page right? Wrong, 6 pages..

  • Kevin

    the “fail” of that picture is almost as large as using the word “fail” in that intertubzey way, to show you are a “with it” online kinda guy….. “thats fail” … is not a sentence, in any recognized language that i know. it kind of reminds me of …. “the destruction of words” in the book 1984. soon all we will have left is….. one word sentences….. its THINK SPEAK. double plus good, eh?

    • Jeff

      “If you web site”? PROOF READ!
      “…all of the sudden you concentration is destroyed”? PROOF READ!
      This could be number 6…

      • Anonymous

        Thanks, Jeff. I’ve always been an awful proofreader. The above typos have been corrected. Feel free to proof a few more of our articles for us.

  • http://www.solartronenergy.com/ Julia Herniak

    5 new things we all don’t notice thanks to adblock plus + element hiding helper, a good subscription, and autopager/ fastestfox. Of course if you can’t fix your frequently visited site with those, go ahead and greasemonkey/stylish it up a little 😛 (I know I know, people like me make #5 happen)

    • will

      thats why to circumvent #5 i use user agent switcher and emulate google search bots =P

  • Korbman

    Great list, but you forgot another annoyance! The thing that annoys me the most is when I go to download something but end up clicking the advertisement that says “download!”…instead of the tiny actual download button that’s hiding on the page somewhere haha

  • Ina

    ads are my biggest problem. i know u need to make a living, but please refrain from these types of ads: anything indecent (no, i don’t want to see the fat girl in a bikini become the thin girl in a bikini). pop-ups (to me, that’s just a warning that this site will probably give you a virus). ads with sound not muted on default. (reminds me of this freaky time my computer got a virus, and every few seconds my comp was like…hello!, creeped me out).ads that automatically enlarge and sometimes can’t be easily minimized.

  • ChayD

    The comments section is pretty annoying, yeah, ok, that is kinda ironic, but if you look to the right, that scroll bar is less than half way down, meaning that over 50% of what you’ve just downloaded (usually, I say ‘usually’, as this particular comments section is thankfully devoid of the below) consists of people having pedantic arguments over trivial or unrelated matters, trolls trying to get a reaction, those darned […]pingbacks[…] (of no use other than to inflate the ego of the blogger in question), and the fact that someone, somewhere mentioned the related blog/article in something they said on Twitter or Facebook at some point in the past. Oh, and also those forums where you have to register to post a comment, why not just submit your email address and authenticate with that, then have some sort of automated spam trawler, or human modding to separate the wheat from the chaff? That’s my two cents anyways.

  • Nobody

    Adblock, Easylist, Easyprivacy, and some nice custom filters to block miscellaneous crap like the social-network vomit of ADD THIS / TWEET THIS / DIGG THIS / LIKE THIS / STUMBLE THIS / BLOG THIS / SHARE THIS / SUBSCRIBE TO THIS / etc. Jesus christ, if your content is really THAT interesting, I am perfectly capable of copying and pasting the link into the relevant window.

  • cross-eyed-from-ads

    Sites that will not let you leave using the back arrow. No kill button on the ad videos the only way to stop it is to leave the site or reboot your browser.

  • Cody Bruce

    Could not agree more Davak. StumbleUpon thumbs up from me!

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com David Kirk – Founder/Editor

      Thanks, Cody. I always appreciate the SU plug.

  • 111

    How about this site, mandating Disqus membership in order to post? I have to surrender my personal information in order to add my view.

  • B.G. King

    I thought Google was cool. Very smart. User-friendly, etc. So it’s been till a few days ago when they ‘parked’ a pop-up about their Ubercool new phone contraption … in the current section of my Gmail inbox. I mean, it’s CRASS, BOORISH and AUTHORITARIAN. Can’t shrink it; can’t close it; can’t move it. It’s like set in cement ON TOP OF ABOUT SIX new emails. Whose bloody Inbox is it anyway? I don’t give bleeding beans about this new techtoy, and THEY DON’T CARE.
    It’s like those signs: Now Under New Management. (And you won’t LIKE it!)

    Seems the only way to stifle it is to join up! Just patting their heads and going to it accomplishes nothing but wasting my time.
    I find this outlandish. Yeah, yeah, so that’s capitolism. And anyone’s free to vote with their feet. But I like their mail server.
    Looks like they’ve gone mega with a new mindset to match. It feels like being slapped.
    If it keeps up I’m going home … to Yahoo!

  • Juhu

    I hate toolbar footers mostly because when you search for some text on a website, the browser scrolls down just enough to display the text and highlights it. You then search the screen with your eyes and can’t see the found text, only once you scroll the page you realize it’s been hidden under a footer.

  • Hisan

    And dont forget the my web search and mixisearch they put in your browsers

  • http://Anumberofsites Eleanor Korf

    I HATE it when I am reading something, or trying to find something to purchase and I have ad after ad after ad appear. Last night I was trying to look for some refrigerator parts and, LITERALLY, I spent so much time clicking out of and trying to click out of ads that I gave up. It was about one minute out of five that I was actually able to read about the product I was looking for, and that was interspersed with clicking out of ads one ad after another. I finally gave up in disgust and will use my telephone to get the information I need. Looking on line was an exercise in futility.

    Second. I try to read articles on multiple web sites, and invariably part of the information I am trying to read is covered with an ad which I can’t click out of.

    Third: When trying to watch some things on U-Tube I get so sick of HAVING TO listen to the same ad over and over and over again that I just give up.

    • http://Anumberofsites Eleanor Korf

      > What moderation? Perhaps you can moderate my anger that I can’t use my computer to find things that I need, or that interest me, without spending far more time clicking out of ads (or trying unsuccessfully to click out of ads) that get in the way of my being able to read or find things that I need. I NEED a new part for my refrigerator, but I spent so much time clicking out of ads, or trying to read around ads, that I finally gave up.

      You need to moderate your ads that annoy people on your web site — especially ads that show the bare naked backside of a woman that (hopefully) has a thong on, though I couldn’t actually tell if she did or not.