I’ll never understand bad user interfaces.

Specifically I’m talking about web pages.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the main target audience of any newly designed web page. I don’t react to fancy doo-dads , things that animate and flash all over the place.
Generally I want to go to a web page to get information or supply information.

But nowadays I find that webpages are more interested in making themselves hard to use and to navigate than to simply supply the information they claim to offer.

One design trait that seems prevalent as of late, is the ever shifting webpage.

In order to put a big fat ad at the top of the page, the rest of the page has to slide down to accommodate it. If you were reading some text, you will find all of a sudden that your text is sliding down to make room for a bigger ad or sliding up to fill the space when it goes away.

You can’t predict when this is going to happen, and the ad isn’t even visible on the page most of the time so all you get is this bizarre effect of the page spazzing out while you’re trying to read from it.

Another little peeve of mine is the invisible UI features. WordPress was the first place I noticed this years ago, but now I see google and plenty of other sites do it too.

I’m guessing they’re shooting for a clean and tidy page, but in making features of the web page invisible, it’s impossible to know what features are available, unless you already know they’re there, and if you don’t, they might as well not be there because you can’t see them.

If you’re lucky, or spastic enough and happen across these features because you’re unable to control your mouse and it has to flip all over the page in hopes of unlocking some secret UI feature, you are among the lucky few that can take full advantage of the website.

But to the rest of us with no gift for clairvoyance, we have to suffer trying to figure out “how am I supposed to select this comment to mark it as spam?”

And lets say I was part of the in-crowd and savvy enough to know the feature was there, I still have to move my mouse to the button to click.

It is impossible to aim a mouse accurately over something you can’t see, so first you have to mouse over the area to make the invisible feature visible, then you can first start to aim at the particular button you want.

In what way is this a better UI? I know I’m a dinosaur, but making things harder if not impossible to use unless you are blessed with preordained knowledge of how the web designer was thinking that day, I can’t see any way this can be perceived as better.

I try and imagine what the web designer was thinking. They’re sitting their with their HTML editor and their CSS editor, and they say to themselves, “Okay, I’ve got it all working, but let me hide some of these elements so they don’t clutter up the page. When I test it, I know they’re there so I can still click on them to test, yeah, that works.”

So these UI people can’t really put themselves in the position of the user they’re designing for because they already know about the invisible features and generally where they are because they put them there.

Maybe web designers should test out each other’s work so they can for a brief moment glimpse into the shitty world they are making for the rest of us.




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