Webpages That Suck Checklist

My boss sent me a check list from Webpages That Suck as a kind of general round up of widely accepted practices and I decided to go through it and see if the ACC home page and template driven pages help up or if they “sucked”. I commented after each question with a simple yes or no or a little more explanation. Let me know what you think in comments.

We’ve designed our site to meet our organization’s needs (more sales/contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors.
Maybe. Lots of pandering going on up there.
Our site tries to tell you how wonderful we are as a company, but not how we’re going to solve your problems.
No, except for “ACC is a Smart Choice” graphic link.
It takes longer than four seconds for the man from Mars to understand what our site is about.
The man from Mars cannot quickly find the focal point of the home page.
True everything is even there is no true focal point
The man from Mars cannot quickly find the focal point of the current page.

Our site doesn’t make us look like credible professionals.
I think its ok, still needs improvement design-wise
Our site doesn’t make visitors feel they can trust us.
I think we are ok here.
Our home page — or any page — takes more than four seconds to load.
No, but the calendar loads separately still allowing you to move quickly off if you don’t need the calendar.
Quickly scanning the page doesn’t tell our visitors much about its purpose.
Hopefully the “self-identify” links will alter a user that “Hey this is a college website”
We don’t put design elements where our visitors expect them.
I think our page has a common set up header, columns, footer. User doesn’t have to lean where stuff might be
We have not eliminated unnecessary design items.
Not much to eliminate. Pretty simple page
We don’t know which design items are not necessary.

Our site breaks when visited with the JavaScript turned off.
False – calendar wont load , thats it
Our site breaks because of back-end coding errors.
We say “Welcome to…” on our home page.
Our site is Flash-based (and this is what our site looks like to people without Flash.)
Our site’s navigation is Flash-based.
Our site uses a splash page (unless it’s a liquor, porn, gambling, adult, tobacco, or a multi-lingual / multinational site).
Our site makes visitors register before they can enter.
Our site uses two or more splash pages.
Our site’s TITLE tag is something like “New Document”, “Index” and not the name of your company or other search-engine friendly terms.
Our site has a sound file automatically play in the background when a web page loads, but we’re not a record label or musician
No but that would be awesome to play the ACC jingle every time the page loaded..(j/k)
I don’t know if our site looks the same in the major browsers.
It does, I have them all
Our site doesn’t look the same in different browsers.

The important content does not fit in the first screen.
What’s the important content? Newsroom, calendar
Our pages have too much/too little white space.
Probably, dont, know
Our site uses pop-up windows.
Our site forces visitors to install weird plugins.
Our site has “Download latest browser” text or buttons.
No but if you have an extremely old browser you just get a text version of the page, (yay css!)
Our site prominently displays what hardware and software was used to create the site.
False (lol “Made on a Mac” )
Our site’s design was “borrowed” from another site.
True I took design cues from Stanford University, University of Florida, and Chestnut Hill College
Our site doesn’t provide clear instructions on how to perform tasks like ordering, filling out forms, etc.
Our site disables a visitor’s right-click mouse button because we’re crazy enough to think we have content worth stealing and that our visitors are too stupid to figure out how to bypass our code.
False (but i do do it over on the marketing resources site just for informational purposes)
Our site is based on a template that’s bloated with ugly code, is difficult to maintain, and is, quite frankly, broken.
I don’t think so. I think im ok. It could be trimmed a bit but we are alright.
We don’t identify PDF files with an icon.
Inside the website this is a problem
We don’t analyze our log files.
Google Analytics on the homepage takes care of alot of that for me
We never conduct user testing.
We did when we built the page and are starting too again.

Our site mixes and matches text sizes on the page.
Our site mixes text colors on the page.
Our site’s text requires people to have special (unusual) fonts on their computers to correctly view our text.
Visitors can’t read our text because it’s too small.
Sometimes, but they can resize it using text sizer buttons, or their browser obviously
False (stop yelling!)
Our site uses scrolling, blinking, fading, or moving text.
I have no idea what you are talking about
The color contrast analyzer says there isn’t enough contrast between text/links and the background.
In some spots true. I am working on it.
AccessColor says there isn’t enough contrast between our stylesheet and our page.Our site uses centered text on more than just headlines.
False, nothing is centered except for the footer links at the bottom
We use justified text.
We use browser-specific tags like marquee
I still have no idea what you are talking about
We use font faces that are not appropriate for our audience — like Comic Sans on a senior citizen site.
False (ugh comic sans..)
Our site has text in the status bar — moving JavaScript text.
False. (oh lala though)
We have too much/too little text on a page.
Too much imo
Our site uses underlined text. (Only links should be underlined.)
False Although I’ve tried making all the links underlined and it looks gross, i identify links in other ways , bullets rollover etc.
Our site has sideways text.
No but i have seen it and its crazy
Visited links don’t change color.
True, i guess i could change that if warranted (yay style sheets!)
Our links are not clearly labeled.
Need some improvement
Our site has too many links in one area.
True (calendar?)
Our site has too many links.
Our site has lots of dead links.
Our site has lots of dead links and/or no 404 pages.
Speaking about the ACC website as a whole, one of the most frequently visted pages is the 404 page 🙁
Our site has lots of complex URLs.
True , but im working on it. (directory names are hilarious)
Our site has links consisting of 10-20 words.
Our links are not informative.
Our logo does not look like it was professionally made.
LOL! False I say!
Our logo is a bad scan of a business card.
*still laughing* I’ve seen it on some flyers!
Logo is not above the fold. (Yes, this does happen.)
Logo is not on the top of every page and clicking it doesn’t lead to the home page.
False . Except for the Online directory but im working with folks on that
If your site has banner ads (especially near the top of the page), keep graphics away from them. People tend to ignore ads and they’ll ignore your graphics.
Interesting. We just recently started using a “banner ad” style clickable image at the top..
Our site uses cheap clip art instead of high-quality web graphics.
Sometimes! Hey , its what’s provided but im going to remedy this..
Our site uses divider bars.
All over!
Our site uses large (file-size) graphics.
Our site uses graphics that detract from the page.
Our site automatically loads movies instead of using YouTube’s method of only showing movies when people click.
Our site uses a trailing cursor.
Welcome to a 1999 Goecities page..
Our site uses IE page transitions.
False, but there are some sites that do, ive seen em…
Our site uses “Under Construction” graphics.
False. I Hate those, they anger me,
Our site doesn’t physically reduce graphics using Photoshop (or other program). Instead, we take a 1200 x 800 pixel photo and manually changing the width and height attributes of the IMG tag to a smaller size.
False, but I’ve seen it done…
Our site uses graphics for text.
True! but where appropriate and they are properly coded with ALT and TITLE attributes
Our site has an ugly color scheme (red and green, for example).
Our sites’ symbols are not logical. Our shopping cart symbol doesn’t look like a shopping cart.
The “GO!” sun will die one day…i hope.
Instead of calling it a shopping cart, we call it a basket or other silly term.
Our site uses animations gratuitously.
It used too, the sun used to “rise” out of the page
Our site uses animated GIFs.

Our site uses 3-D graphics.
Our site uses gradient images.
Ugh, I hate the “fade”
Our site uses beveled images.
Some area yes
Our site uses images with shadows.
Not plug in based things.
Our site has flashing graphics that might cause seizures.
Our site uses a background graphic that repeats itself on large-screen monitors.
Our background graphic doesn’t contrast well against the text, making it hard to read.
Our graphics don’t have ALT= attribute text filled in and doesn’t use “” for graphics that are empty.
Our site’s graphics are confusing — they look like ads.
Our site uses moving graphics — falling snowflakes, flying birds — stupidly rendered by DHTML.
back to geocities huh…
Our site doesn’t use color to convey meaning — red text signifies “this is important.”
False, Emergency notices are ridiculously hard to miss when they are in use.
No one has spent the time figuring out if our color scheme alienates our international users.
Our site has multiple colored areas on the page.
True, Quicklinks are different.
Our site has blocks of ugly colors next to each other (red next to green).
Each page on our site is one big imagemap.
First webpage my brother built was that and the client loved it. lol (circa 2000)
Our site has graphics that suffer from the “halo effect” — dithering that leaves an ugly halo around the image.
False, but ive seen it
We created our site’s navigational system to meet our needs, not our visitors’ needs.
We understand how our site’s navigation works so everybody else probably understands how it works.
Loaded Question!
We have a page or a popup explains how our navigation works.
A site’s navigation should tell you where you are, where you’re going to go, and how to get back to the home page. Our site’s navigation doesn’t.
False, The use of breadcrumbs through out helps with that
Our site uses Mystery Meat Navigation. Example one. Example two.
Our site uses Flash navigation.
A man from Mars could not quickly understand our site’s navigation.
Although people don’t want to learn a new navigational system, we’ve created our own.
Our site uses JavaScript for navigation and it doesn’t degrade naturally for visitors who come with JavaScript turned off.
Our site uses sideways navigation.
We use stupid terms like “stuff” for our navigational links or “Beginning” for “Home.”
False but ive seen it..
Our site doesn’t have shortcuts on the main page to the popular content.
Our site’s navigation is not in the top screen.
Instead of being predictable, our site’s navigation is inconsistent.
Im fixing it, the template is helping with that.
Instead of being predictable, our site’s navigational placement is inconsistent from page to page.
True , but again..Im fixing it, the template is helping with that.
Our site’s content is not divided into logical categories and subcategories.
sometimes, but working on it.
The names of the categories and subcategories are not clear and mutually exclusive on our site.
Our links aren’t clearly labeled and don’t tell you where you’ll end up.
Our links aren’t clearly labeled, don’t tell you where you’ll end up, and say “Click Here”
I hate click here but we use it alot. I like to link the actual text like this: Go to the Admissions Office and complete the form…
Some/all of our pages require visitors to scroll horizontally.
Our site uses Java navigation.
Navigation graphics are not the same size and/or color.
On our site, you may have to click four or more times to get to the information you want.
LOL! sometimes
We don’t know what content is popular.
Our content is not organized to meet our visitors’ needs.
Our content is not broken down into logical categories.
The content is not understandable by humans and is full of marketing-speak, or jargon, or unexplained acronyms.
The content is not engaging, or relevant, or accurate, or fair and impartial.
😉 Subjective!
I don’t know if our content is appropriate for our audience.
Need analysis
The content really isn’t appropriate for our audience.

We don’t identify non-HTML documents like PowerPoint or Excel.
I try to , the tempalte even has cool list styles (see tutorial). But still a problem
Our site’s content is not written for the web, but for print media (or other media) and we just transferred it to the web.
True. thsi is a new skill that we are learning as we go. Our writers are getting better and better at it.
Our site’s content is written at a higher or lower readability level than our visitors’ level.
Need analysis
Our pages are too long. We forget that people skim.
True. the faculty staff page gets alot of criticism but im working on it See my proposed example.
Our site doesn’t have Heroin Content.
No but we need some.
Some of our site’s content — graphics and/or text — is considered offensive.
Some of our content — graphics and/or text is considered racially or politically incorrect.
False , but i may have committed this one time with a banner graphic
Some of our content — graphics and/or text — is considered offensive to international audiences.
False (we are sure to be notified if so)
We didn’t hire editor to proofread spelling, grammar, capitalization and content.
False. We have 2 on staff for the top level
We haven’t checked to see we’ve eliminated all “Lorem ipsum” text or other placeholder text and graphics from site — especially from document titles.
I love using this, people try to read it and get confused.
Our site uses content that our visitors don’t need to know.
Maybe, especially on internal pages..
Our site may contain sensitive information the public and/or competitors shouldn’t see.
Possibly but we are an open public institution.
Our site has a mission statement or a link to a mission statement on the front page (non-profit’s are exempt).
lol we have an “about us” that links to the mission, but many dept sites have their own mission pages.
Our site has sections that are under construction and the public can access them.
True, but this is due to the way our system is set up, there is no testbed really for the regular webserver, its all “live” once it appears anywhere, it just gets moved around
Our site has different looks on different pages or sections.
True, but the template is helping
Our site doesn’t have a privacy or legal statement page.
Our site’s content came from Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc., documents and then converted to HTML.
False, but ive seen it. Ugh , the worst.
Our site has outdated calendar information.
Our site has too many words on a line, making it hard to read.
Our site has too few words on a line, making it frustrating to read.
Our site isn’t accessible to visitors with physical disabilities.
False. I pay attention to this stuff.
Our site doesn’t use white or off-white color for background.
False. (is this bad?) Content Areas are white though.
Our site doesn’t use black text.
Our site uses Frames.
Our site uses the wrong doctype.
Our site doesn’t use CSS.
False. It will be CSS driven soon, homepage, CE and other area are already CSS based layouts.
Our site uses CSS, but it’s inline CSS.
False. (and what’s the point anyway if you do that, might as well use a font tag .ugh)
Our site’s logo is not at top left corner.
Our site has no search engine.
Our search engine is not at top-right of page.
True, (its under the logo, top left)
Our site’s search engine box isn’t long enough for visitors to see what they’re typing.
False you can get quite a bit in there.
Our site has a search engine, but not on every page.
Underlined text is not link text.
Our site uses invalid HTML attributes (marginwidth, etc.).
Our site uses graphics as links.

We haven’t validated our site’s HTML code.
We haven’t validated our site’s CSS.
We haven’t checked to see if our site’s links are broken.
without a CMS we will chase links forever. Enter the 404 page.
Our site uses deprecated markup (like the CENTER tag).
Our site doesn’t use a style switcher.
True, I control the styles.
We haven’t checked to see how our site looks in grayscale.
True. I should do that.
We haven’t checked our site using the Firefox plugin “Web Developer”.
False. I do all the time
We haven’t checked our site using the “The Web Page Analyzer”.
True, but we are probably ok here.
Our site uses the CSS hover attribute on text.
True , I’ve defined the pseudo-class in the css file.
We don’t optimize our site’s CSS or HTML files.
Our site’s accounting figures don’t line up on the decimal point.
Don’t Know
Our site’s logo is disproportionate for top screen.
Corporate logo is not at top left of screen.
Logo links to home page on sub-pages.
There are links to the home page on every page — but the home page.
Putting dates on material that’s not updated regularly.
Try. Content
Our site’s content is full of jargon.
True. Higher Ed = Validation Jargon.
Our site’s content is full of acronyms.
True. TOP = (The Orientation Program. lol)
Our site’s use of abbreviations is inconsistent.
We don’t use a consistent tone throughout. We switch back and forth from colloquial to clinical etc.
True. This blog is an example.
Our font sizes are fixed and can’t be resized.
We put more than one idea in a paragraph.
Maybe, content again.
Not declaring a background color.
Our site uses unencoded ampersands.
False, Thankfully Dreamweaver and Contribute help with this.
Our site is span and div

Possibly, Im workin on it!
Hit counters.
How come everyone wants these? They serve no purpose and are not valid data providers.
Contact information is not available.
False. Bottom left
Our site doesn’t provide multiple methods to be contacted. (Contact Us form, phone number, address, e-mail, etc.)
False, There are directories, forms, contact info all over the site.
We use dates and times on a site that’s not about dates and times.
Our site has pictures of boring white executives.
Our site has pictures of boring white executives — and if you click the picture, you get to see them up close and personal.

Some of our pictures are not recent — we have a 20 year-old photo of some employees.
Our site uses JPG when it should use GIF images and vice-versa.
Possibly. but sites like the digital images site is helping with those issues.
We use SVG file format because we can.
We over-optimize our images.
It happens
Our site has graphics that look like a link, but aren’t.
We don’t check to see if scanned images are scanned on dirty scanners.
Check on an outside machine if all your sites’ graphics actually load.
They do, but We’ve had issues with forms and things being behind a firewall.
There’s no reason for a globe image. We get that you’re global.
Globes are so awesome though.
Our site uses an ugly background image.
We use Dynamic HTML navigation.
We don’t have a site map.
True, A-Z index takes a stab at it but there’s no way i can list everything.
We have a site map, but it is graphics based.
Our site uses liquid design.
False. Its fixed width.
Our site uses fixed-width design. (You can’t win. Liquid is wrong on wide-screen monitors because you have line lengths that are hard to read — and vice versa.)
We use table borders on content other than accounting-type data.
Our text is full of superlatives like “This product will solve every problem you have.”
Maybe. content.
Our paragraphs have too much text. (We’re a web of scanners.)
Our site bolds a lot of text
Our site italicizes a lot of text.
Our site’s font sizes are fixed and can’t be resized.
False already!
Our site uses three or more font faces on a page.
False, everything is arial.
We don’t have a CSS file for printing pages.
False! I got that covered.
We don’t use logical file names for documents or graphics.
Our site uses graphics that don’t enhance the page.
True. Enhance dangit enhance!
Our graphics and text don’t match up.

Some of our documents run across multiple pages, but we don’t give the option to see it all on one page.
Seen it.
Back button doesn’t go back because we’ve disabled it.
False. this is the most evil of all web tricks.
Our site doesn’t provide a feedback mechanism.
Our forms mix up checkboxes and radio buttons.
True, but sometimes you need it.
Our site has pull-down (drop list) menus.
True and quite proud of these.
We don’t use bullets to organize information.
False. you don’t know the half of it…
We don’t manually spell check TITLE, ALT tags, etc. (spell checkers don’t check these).
True. Attention is needed here.
Our content is not timely.
False. We post things quickly and it rotates pretty often.
Our content is not updated frequently.

Our site doesn’t separate style from content.
It will soon. (yay style sheets!)

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