Tech Rant: Terrible Web Designs & Where To Find Them

Web Design can be a complex task for some. It has come a long way since its introduction back in 1991. Yet, some users haven’t quite grasped the concept of good design.

Back in the 90s, it was common for websites to be made for personal use as a form of expression. Simple design languages such as HTML & CSS made it a breeze to get started. The thing is, with lack of knowledge or experience comes bad design.

But, we’ve moved past the days of Comic Sans & bright flashing gif image backgrounds. At least, you’d think…

I’ve always shared a strong connection with graphic & web design. I studied Interactive Media in college and have loved graphic design since I was in school. Scoopd, is a demonstration of my own design. My expression. Sure, it may not perfect… But it’s a lot better than what you’re about to see.

Terrible Web Designs & Where To Find Them is the title of today’s article. And let’s just focus on where to find them. As I mentioned earlier, websites were often made for personal use. However, these days, many websites are made by designers. This is where we find the root of many terrible websites.

Be prepared, things are about to get really ugly…

Bad web design starts with bad designers

The antagonist of this story is none other than TCRM. A blight on the face of interactive design & graphics. And with that, we’re going to break down and analyse their bad designs.

What is actually going on here? TCRM

Ever heard of that old saying, “more is better”? Wait, no, that’s not how it goes.

There’s a lot of issues here, where do we start? I mean, seriously, where? There’s too much going on here… Where are we supposed to be looking?

There’s a few frustrating things about TCRM. First, what does TCRM even stand for? There is no indication of the brands actual name. And well, as for the other frustrations… Here’s a narrow list:

  • The navigation menus are inconsistent and don’t even add up.
  • Green. Green everywhere.
  • A mash of gradients and images. It’s headache inducing.
  • Too many links. Really, they’re repeated so frequently.
  • There is A LOT of misleading information, as well as really out of date information
  • It uses outdated code.
  • The website in general just does not flow.
  • There’s an unusual set of badges that serve no purpose.
  • Pages are riddled with grammatical errors.

I’ll elaborate on a few of these in a moment. The concerning thing about this site – It’s a company. A company that designs websites for profit. This company spews up bad designs for people & companies.

It’s laughable that these “designers” are able to get away with these abysmal designs. But anyway, let’s delve a little deeper:

Elaborating

A page displaying town names followed by 'Web Design'
Unnecessary bloat & links is not a way to sell your services.

This is a method of creating “keywords” for search engine optimisation. It’s included in a page for their web design services. And again, makes no sense. Keywords can be included in HTML itself with tags, making these links redundant.

Keeping to the theme of links. Look at this mess:

TCRM's website navigation links
MORE unnecessary bloat…

Yep. Same story here. More is definitely not better. These links do not flow with the parent category. “About us” would, in most circumstances, be a static link. Take some time to read through the subcategories and try to link them with its parent. Things like “Our services” which has ANOTHER set of subcategories. It’s bizarre and very ugly.

Contradictions

There is a lot of strange and contradictive text here. It was hard for me to even take it seriously. To quote:

“The web is becoming more demanding so we are here to provide cutting edge designs to make your business stand out and be remembered, this is a must as your competitors are just a click away.”

An actual quote – https://tcrm.co.uk/web-design

The way this has been described couldn’t be any more ludicrous.

First, they’re trying to bait the customer with their “competitors” using their service… Which shouldn’t even matter – they’re a company who specialise in web design. It should not matter whether a competitor is using their service or not.

Secondly, “cutting edge designs” is a very poor description of their work… Which I’ll get to in a moment.

But first, let’s take a look at another ridiculous statement:

“…we build Jaguars, not Lada’s.”

Another real quote – https://tcrm.co.uk/web-design-bridgend

This one actually made me laugh. Mainly because the analogy couldn’t be any more the opposite. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ladas, of course. But to criticise others without recognising your own disaster is not in any way at all professional. But the smugness of this company is what’s ruining their clients.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Margaret Wolfe Hungerford’s phrase stretches the importance of the human nature to be attracted to what is ‘beautiful’. To clarify, not everyone will find something as good looking as you may find. Web design is an art through constant iteration. Painstaking hours are spent by many designers to make sure clients & their users will be fond of their precious design.

However, I’m ashamed of how TCRM has handled their clients & their designs. To say the least, most of their designs are clones of each other. There is no flare, no passion, and no end to their poor design.

Exhibit A

ANCOA Scaffolding & Chris Ross Chiropractic are two examples featured on TCRM’s own site that hardly differ from each other. Aside from logos, text styles & background images, the general layout is almost duplicated.

Duplicated web design
Individuality.

Yep, I can hear you slapping your forehead as I type. The two websites you see here essentially have a duplicated style for their content section.

Why is this such a problem? I hear you ask. It’s a problem because clients are paying for bespoke designs. They want their site to stand out from the others. Bold and true to reflect their business. This hasn’t happened. Instead, they have been robbed of a good design.

Exhibit B

Understandably, it’s important to get the word of your business out there. Many designers may put some kind of branding somewhere, or a recognisable feature found in their sites. TCRM takes this to a whole new, pointless & irritating level.

Introducing the footer. The badges. The repetitiveness.

Poor use of footers and sub-footers
An apparent key feature in their design.

This mashup of abnormalities appears on every single one of their sites. I question it every time I have seen it. There is absolutely zero necessity for this.

But the worst part, in my opinion, is that it’s a decision that just seems to have been made. No client input, no agreements. Every website has this abysmal sub-footer. Some, even have the credit appearing twice – in the footer and sub-footer.

The point I’m trying to make here is that if you’re being paid to build a website, then you should be asking permission to advertise yourself. Or, at least, if you want acknowledgement, hide it away in your source code.

Secured by RapidSSL, W3C CSS & XHTML 1.1 is just jargon. Nobody needs to know this stuff. Literally, nobody. Badges to show your outdated ways of working are extremely off-putting.

Why the criticism?

If you are going to proclaim yourself as a designer, you should be open to criticism. In this case, it’s largely negative, I agree with you.

Don’t get me wrong, their sites are functional. Like a Lada, they’re designed to work. Get you from page to page. But unlike a Jaguar, they do not look good. This is my problem.

Their sites are optimised and load well. They appear on search engines just fine, too. But there is a complete and utter lack of creative flare. Though, it’s not to say there aren’t good designs – they’re just dwarfed by several other bad designs.

But it’s the cockiness of the company that gets to me. Take this excerpt for example:

“I started this [news article] with an idea of a list of items why TCRM sites are better [than] the competition, it’s funny that when you look at websites most people will [think] the better they look the better they will perform…”

TCRM on design – https://tcrm.co.uk/news/web-design-news-2018-bridgend-south-wales

That, right there, “why TCRM sites are better than the competition” is what got me. In fact, their entire article is based on the assumption that their sites are better because Google recognises them.

This is not what a good design is. A good design is actually what they think isn’t. They summed it up with, “…people think the better they look the better they will perform”.

Great content is enticing. It makes you want to stay and explore and to read more. It doesn’t just make their website perform better, it makes their business perform better.

It’s not just limited to this particular company. Bad web design is an epidemic.

So what can we do about bad web design?

I’m glad you asked – I propose we make a change. Design standards need to be taken. But more to the point we should do our research. Let TCRM be an example of bad design so that we can better future websites.

To TCRM – I hope that this is an eye-opener. I want you to realise it’s not all just about how a website performs or serves as a functional website.

What do I plan on doing? Well, I want to try and show you what it could be… I want to re-visualise TCRM. Naturally, I’ll be saving that for our next blog post.

But until then, I’d like us to take a moment to remember that more often than not, bad design can drive us to do better. Whether your website is currently a ‘Lada’, you could make it flourish, and build a ‘Jaguar’.


Have you ever come across any terrible web designs? Or even just terrible design in general? Let us know in the comments, it may even appear on my next tech rant!


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