Halloween is my favorite holiday. This is mainly because it is an excuse to dress up in crazy clothes and eat tons of candy. Another reason why Halloween is so fun is because it is scary. It is a tradition among my group of friends to watch scary movies on or around Halloween (and hide under blankets through the scariest parts). Sometimes it is fun to be scared but not when it comes to a business. At inSegment we think that a great looking, well optimized, well designed site is one of the most important parts of running a business in the digital age. Not having a great website is like owning a store but keeping the “Closed” sign up all the time, no one will visit it or if they do they will leave quickly. In honor of this haunting time of year I decided to compile a list of some pretty frightening website designs and my reasoning behind my choices. I will be doing this post in two parts one today and one on Monday because this is an important topic (and it is fun). Get prepared to be scared!
Email Service Provider
I found this site recently when looking at some Email Service Providers. The name of the company has been greyed out to avoid potential embarrassment. There are several things that are scary about this site but I will just focus on the big ones.
The first is just the layout of this site. All of the blocks of text are separated into colored squares. This looks unprofessional and very 90’s. It is a good idea to separate the content on your site into pages with tabs at the top of your homepage for navigation purposes. It is fine to have all of your content on one page but if you decide to do this you should do it elegantly. This means bolded or underlined headers with smaller text below and maybe some relevant images. There are plenty of inexpensive or even free stock photo sites where you can find image content for your website. People feel more comfortable if a site is more than just colored text and blocks of color.
That brings me to my second point which is about the font colors. Yellow text is almost never a good idea especially on a dark background because it is hard to look at. The bright green text is also very jarring. I understand the sort of old school computing look that the creator was trying to get across but it is not very nice to look at. The “Forgot password?” link presents another situation where the wrong text color can cause serious problems. The color of the font is almost the same as the color of the patterned box that it is on making it very hard to see. When visitors want to navigate your site they don’t want to play a game of Where’s Waldo they want to be able to find the information that they need quickly and without any struggle. For this reason it is very important to make sure that you use colored text very strategically and that it is not difficult to read.
Long story short when I first landed on this I left again almost immediately because it looked like a scam site. This is something that you never want to happen on your site. You want to encourage people to spend a lot of time there because they will be more likely to purchase your products or services. Your site should not be like a haunted house where people run out in fear. Sometimes it is a better idea to just spend the money on solid web-design services instead of trying to do it yourself with no experience. If you hire a professional the ROI will most likely be worth it in the end. Below is an example of a really nice looking email marketing site for a visual comparison.