Top 10 web design pet peeves

January 25, 2011

The January 2011 issue of Australian Personal Computer magazine listed the Top 10 Web Design Features that ‘drove the APC staff nuts!’ (p9):

  1. Autoplaying videos. Click on a news story and a video advert starts.
  2. Grey body text. Use grey instead of black for text, sending readers blind.
  3. Flash product info. You want product details, you get an uninformative Flash show.
  4. Mixing ads with editorial. Confuse readers as to what’s what and you destroy the content’s credibility.
  5. Multi-page articles. Get extra page impressions at the cost of annoying readers.
  6. Non-selectable text. Lame attempt at preventing copying; just annoys users.
  7. Auto refresh pages. You’re reading something and, oooops, you’ve lost your place.
  8. Linking to PDF files. How to exasperate 100% of web users.
  9. Non-site search. A search box that returns a Google web search.
  10. Unreadable Captcha. Using distorted letters not even a human can read.

Most of them drive me nuts too.

Unfortunately, sometimes you have to link to a PDF (#8). But you can dull the reader’s pain a little. Let them know that the link opens a PDF and tell them how big the file is by adding something like (PDF; 450 KB) after the link. It’s not a lot to add, but it means the reader can decide whether or not to click the link.



  1. Yes, and a PDF icon next to the link gives a good visual cue.

  2. No “contact us” or “feedback” button.

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