Today's web design sucks

edited June 2017 in Software
Last time, I complained about sites that despise ad-blockers. Now, something else to rant on about... today's style of web design. Honestly, I cannot stand it at all where everything is divided into long strips and its as if the ones that did the design think we all have phones to browse them on. That isn't entirely true, as I don't own a stupid phone and still a laptop user. It's not only that... Task Manager tells me that going on such sites consume a lot of resources too and it's not just CPU that's being used like 50% of the time... RAM usage goes up also and that is when I use Firefox. If I used Chrome or IE, it would be the same. Could be all these scripts and super-advanced HTML going on, and a bit of Flash also. Even if I used NoScript to halt these, the site itself would still be a steaming pile of garbage to look at. The known culprit that utilises this modern-day crap is Wix and YouTube when it recently had its flat and uninspiring design, and maybe many others are on the same boat as it.

From a traditionalist's point of view, this is wrong, and pointless. I hope I'm not the only one peeved at this. From now on, I'll just stick to my familiar circle of sites where I know that they won't wear things down and best of all, navigation and scrolling through them is painless. Not going to go to new random places where the laptop's fan is going to keep whirring faster whenever I'm on them, not even for a minute or few seconds.

Comments

  • Well said. I ALWAYS visit sites with my adblocker (uBlock Origin-- it doesn't have any of that "non-intrusive advertising" crap that AdBlock Plus has) turned on. If a site demands that I turn it off, I don't visit that site anymore.

    Speaking of compatibility, I have been able to visit WinWorld and WinBoards on a Nintendo DSi from 2009 (its built in web browser is based off Opera 9.50) running firmware version 1.4.5. It's amazing that WinWorld works properly on a system which has approximately 16MB RAM, of which only 14-15MB is available to the browser.

    Thanks.

    P.S. Design trends such as "Material Design" are good when used in moderation. A good example of this is here: https://www.timeanddate.com/countdown/newyear . The timer itself uses Material Design, but the rest of the site is simpler.
  • I will admit... that design language you're talking about seems okay when I'm using Gmail but on YouTube however, CPU is always capped at 50%. Another site that does that is Beatport. A local food company (called West Coast Foods, based in Scotland) is also cursed with such horrid web design also. Not good, not good at all.

    Also, I should note that I briefly worked with a web design firm last year and what the people did there for clients seemed okay. None of the crap that the above sites have, especially when their web programmer does some work.
  • It all depends on the compentence and whether or not the "I wantz meh site NAW" factor is involved.

    Quite a few sites use the "drag+drop" online site creation. There are nice sites that aren't ridden with complex scripts this method, but don't get me started with Wix.

    In addition, the drive to produce websites for mobile results in new sites primarily optimized for mobile. This is to maintain simplicity by site owners/makers who don't want to add in code to check browser and send an optimized page for either pc or mobile. This then leads us with sites that poorly fill large, wide computer screens as the primary focus in these days is a portrait-oriented mobile screen, and what is available works "good enough."

    In your eyes, it is only going to get worse. This is the way of the future as we are driven more and more to a mobile society. I don't like it either, but what can I do?
  • In addition, the drive to produce websites for mobile results in new sites primarily optimized for mobile. This is to maintain simplicity by site owners/makers who don't want to add in code to check browser and send an optimized page for either pc or mobile. This then leads us with sites that poorly fill large, wide computer screens as the primary focus in these days is a portrait-oriented mobile screen, and what is available works "good enough."
    If they don't want to go through the hassle of making a mobile/PC version of their site then that's up to them. At least DeviantArt and Reddit have separate versions depending on what device you're browsing them on. And yes, the extra space on each side. I absolutely fucking HATE that. If I come across another suit and I see that kind of anomaly, along with it hogging my system, I'm out in a flash.
    This is the way of the future as we are driven more and more to a mobile society. I don't like it either, but what can I do?
    Well for me, I will still remain as a desktop user until the day I die. I am never, EVER, going to go online on a stupid "phone". Besides, out of topic I know but, what happened to the days when phones used to be things only for communication? Now people desire to fill their egos with them.

    The modern world sucks.
  • Bry89 wrote:
    Well for me, I will still remain as a desktop user until the day I die. I am never, EVER, going to go online on a stupid "phone".
    What is the point of a mobile device for those that don't go anywhere? Soon it is going to be the bullshit "less than 1%" argument, and mobile smart crap will be absolutely required. for everything, even breathing. (If you go by Twitter, it is already required for taking a dump).
    Bry89 wrote:
    Besides, out of topic I know but, what happened to the days when phones used to be things only for communication? Now people desire to fill their egos with them.
    They went out the window when Apple turned mobile devices in to ladies' fashion accessories. If it had been any other company without the famous Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field, people would see those things for the crummy, buggy, cumbersome devices they are.
  • Because smartphones are computers you can take with you. They have a different form factor, but they're fundamentally just pocket computers. (What Apple did was polish the smartphone to a point when a "REEE NORMIE" would want one.)

    I use mine. I'm no sheep.

    Web design is informed by the mediums it is used on. Good responsive design (or proper site switching) should ensure everyone gets the appropriately formed page.
  • The mobile, connected society was bound to happen one way or another. I can whip out a few alternatives that would bring about a connected society if the smartphone didn't. IOT, I'm looking at you.

    The fact is, if it wasn't apple, it would've been bound to be someone else. A compact device that can take pictures, go online, call folks, text, and make fart sounds all in one!? Who wouldn't want one?
    That's the key mentality of the situation. Convenience. 99% of all the population always wants fast, easy, and compact systems to accomplish(or not) as much in as little time as possible.

    Sure, we could all walk(keep it as manual as possible) all the way from wherever the hell we are to Chicago and discuss this in a formal forum.
    But would we?
    Clearly we're not, and probably would not, because it's just easier to discuss this quickly over the internet.

    I know I'm rolling right off the road here, but it still relates back to op. Convenience. That's one reason why web standards are, and will continue to, go down.
  • SomeGuy wrote:
    Bry89 wrote:
    Besides, out of topic I know but, what happened to the days when phones used to be things only for communication? Now people desire to fill their egos with them.
    They went out the window when Apple turned mobile devices in to ladies' fashion accessories. If it had been any other company without the famous Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field, people would see those things for the crummy, buggy, cumbersome devices they are.

    Hey now! My tiny pink iPhone and I would beg to differ...
  • I think it's kind of funny you're complaining about it on a site that utilizes twitter bootstrap and a modern / responsive design.
  • ampharos wrote:
    I use mine. I'm no sheep..
    I'm all about the right tool for the right job. I'd happily get one if I had a need for one and the need justified long term costs. While I wouldn't walk all the way to Chicago, I am disappointed that some services once available through a normal phone call or printed paper forms sent via snail mail are increasingly becoming web-only, with the potential to become mobile-only. It really locks out those who do not wish to or can not spend the extra money just for something small.

    And then out of nowhere, someone requires a FAX. Go figure.

    Just before the iPhone craze, I was researching mobile devices for a data collection project. These were bulky complex business-y scanners/pda/tablet type things that no normal person would want (no integrated cell communications, though - the users were often out in the boonies where there was, and probably still is, no cell service). Somehow Apple took these same devices, changed them around a bit and somehow everyone wanted one.

    Although, one nice thing about some of these "phones" are the integrated camera. For that data collection project, it would have been much easier for field personnel to just take a picture of something rather than standing around entering several dozen fields that would have been observable from a picture.

    But back to the whole webby thing, I can actually view most of Winworld (with a few custom CSS tweaks) on Windows 95 in SeaMonkey. But so many sites these days will load absolutely no content unless it finds a browser with a 100% compatible scripting engine. And how about those pages that keep adding content infinitely as you scroll down? Then people wonder why their browsers hog up a bazillion gigabytes of RAM. How am I supposed to print and fax that kind of page? :P
  • The most important paragrapg
    SomeGuy wrote:
    Just before the iPhone craze, I was researching mobile devices for a data collection project. These were bulky complex business-y scanners/pda/tablet type things that no normal person would want (no integrated cell communications, though - the users were often out in the boonies where there was, and probably still is, no cell service). Somehow Apple took these same devices, changed them around a bit and somehow everyone wanted one.

    Apple changed a lot more. I think you, with an interest in the evolution of UX, should know this.

    Before the iPhone, you basically had a few classes of devices around in smartphones:

    * Windows Mobile - basically, the Windows desktop experience scaled down to a smartphone/PDA form factor with few compromises as possible. Licensed to OEMs.

    * Palm OS - really, they had the same approach to mobile design as Apple, but the technology just wasn't quite there, and Palm made major strategic errors before they did.

    * Symbian - Nokia's OS they got from Psion and repurposed for mobile. Powerful, but feels more like an oversized featurephone with a lack of touch support. Mostly a European thing due to a lack of CDMA devices.

    * J2ME devices - Featurephones that have a cut-down Java environment for running apps on. Very primitive in UX. Usually giveaways from carrier.

    * BlackBerry: Basically a J2ME phone collided into a pager and sprung a mail client.

    * A few other minor players (HipTop, etc.)

    Basically, this crop of OSes could only be loved by gadget nerds and salarymen. The UI is fiddly and requires a stylus to sanely use the touchscreen - if there is any. The OSes are somewhat complicated to use, with the exception of Palm OS. You have to worry about synchronizing data manually, though Exchange ActiveSync was an important step to resolve this. For Windows Mobile especially, fitting desktop metaphors with minimal translation onto the form factor was clumsy. There's a lot of potential in the idea though, and you can see Apple ran with the overall idea while cutting out a lot of the fat.

    The things Apple did to make the form factor desirable was:

    * A clean break in UI: It's designed for finger touch first and formost, with big targets and easy gestures like swiping. Things like inertial scrolling are here too.

    * A multitouch panel that doesn't use a stylus at all, and can use multiple fingers. Complicated gestures like zoom are simple as pinching the screen.

    * A modern web browser, that could access the full web with a real web engine. No proxy, no reflowing. The gestures afforded by the touchscreen made browsing pleasurable.

    * Integration into the ecosystem - it was basically an iPod too, and used iPod accessories and could consume your iTunes music.

    * Attention to detail in the little things - Apple was good at that.

    * A modern OS as the underpinning. CE and especially Palm OS 5 were flaky as fuck.

    Basically, just start from scratch with it all. It wasn't all perfect though - features like copy and paste or even the app store were missing. These were added later on. The App Store in particular is important to mention, due to how it also changed how mobile software was perceived, though maybe not for the better. It drastically reduced the price of software, and made distribution and marketing much simpler.

    What happened post-iPhone as a reaction is a story for another day.

    Finally, here's an interesting link about the development.
  • I'm a little tired here so bare with me. The only thing that web sites care about is bandwidth, particularly at their end. Being a website developer my self, I design my web pages to be light as possible. My website is self hosted at http://www.be-rad.duckdns.org (best viewed in chrome :P ), and you should see what I go for when developing a website.

    On a side note, I find that the mobile only sites are very annoying when browsing the web with my phone. Yes there is google's version of html called AMP. I don't believe it is right to develop a separate site for both mobile and desktop. On a side note, creating a hybrid website (like mine) was a big pain in the ass. Especially having a limit for a div size to fit a iphone 4.

    As for the cpu usage, main sites love to use javascript and other types of scripts to improve browsing experience..
  • I didn't really like cell phones until I got a decent smartphone. My first flip phone was a piece of crap. The next flip phone came during a time when most other people had upgraded to smartphones and while I liked it ok, I didn't much see the appeal. Then I got my first smartphone and it was awesome having a camera and a web browser in my pocket, but I still didn't see what all the fuss was about.

    Then I got my first non-potato smartphone and I fell in love with it. It started becoming the center of my digital life. Well, that's probably a slight exaggeration, but I did finally get what all the fuss was about. That phone went with me everywhere until I broke the screen (it fell from like two feet on to the floor, in a case, on its back and it still shattered the screen). I'm currently on my 4th smartphone (there was nothing wrong with my 3rd phone, but I got a free upgrade.) and I just couldn't imagine not having it anymore. It's become such a useful tool to have. Not only is it a communication tool (absolutely invaluable when going on trips with friends / family so that we can all keep in touch) and a source of entertainment, but it's also a productivity device. I fire off emails for work all the time from my phone while I'm busy doing other things. I don't have to dig out a laptop and power it on, wait for it to boot, log into it, pull up Outlook..... etc. I also RDP from it fairly frequently. It's really useful for doing quick admin tasks. Need a password reset? No problem, I can do it on my phone quicker than I could walk back to my desk and log in... Need a server rebooted after hours? I'll just grab my phone and do it real quick while I'm sitting on the couch and relaxing.

    I've even used it to set up site-to-site VPNs while I was sitting in a keynote presentation. Now, I wouldn't use it for everything... there are certainly more indepth admin tasks that are still easier on a computer, but I can just about do my entire job on a smartphone (some tasks might take longer that way, but it can be done).

    Oh and as far as faxing goes... it's amazing how many businesses still rely on that... whats even more amazing is that thanks to services like myfax.com, faxing no longer requires fax machines and so many businesses use this now instead of having a physical fax machine.
  • I sometimes use my smartphone to create a hotspot when I need internet on my phone fast.
  • edited September 8
    Three years passed, but web design still sucks :) However, opting for a mobile user experience is absolutely justified now. I can't imagine a person without having a smartphone. So, that design was a bit ahead of its time. Or, on the contrary, it was the reason for such a mobile boom. The main problem of nowadays sites is a design overdoing. When I see the site with 90-100% of used space by something readable, I close it immediately. It looks like antiutophic cyberpunk signboard. I don't see much problem with using design services, such as https://www.pixelchefs.com/web-design/. In the latter years, site design is more like an investment than spending.
  • edited September 8
    Chananain, I've removed that link because this is your first post and that looks like an advertisement.

    I don't own a smart phone. I was just talking to my neighbor and they don't own a smart phone. If you can't "imagine" someone without a smart phone then you are part of the problem. You believe whatever the advertising tells you, and it never occurs to you that that adverting is not always in your best interest or that other people in the world might be different from you.

  • Let me preface this by saying, I fully recognize that this observation comes from a position of privilege. There are a ton of other places in the world with entirely different cultures and resources and I'm not even going to pretend I understand how their daily lives are.

    That being said, it's bananas to me that there are people without smartphones or computers or any internet access. A while back, I was waiting in line at the pharmacy, and next to me was the line for the clinic. The guy gets to the lady at the check-in counter and asks for an appointment. She tells him that he needs to schedule it online and he tells her that he doesn't have a computer or phone. Now, in this particular case, they did have a kiosk available for him to use, but it got me thinking... with so much of our daily lives being moved online, what does he do? It worked out in this case, but what about next time when they don't offer a kiosk because they just assume everyone has a computer or a smartphone?
  • Then you are very much privileged. Around here, the last couple years it was a big problem with schools trying to implement "virtual learning" when a lot of people didn't have computers. (Some of that may have specifically required a Windows PC rather than Mac or tablet.) There was a day not that long ago when you might still run in to someone who could not read or write. These days around here there are plenty of Spanish speakers that don't seem to know a word of English.

    Offering some kind of service? Sure, fine, make a cell phone "app" available. But make it available to PCs. And let people call, snail mail, fax, or come in person, where possible. Don't forget to implement your Borg implant protocols next year...

    I still have yet to find an actual NEED for a smart phone that would make it worth the money. Remember, we are talking about $$$ up front for a smart phone, then $$$ a month for cell service, and $$$ every couple of years for a NEW smart phone as the old one is no longer supported or the non-removable battery is dead, or some such crap. Oh, yea, moar $$$ for using "too much data" or "app" purchases.

    Sure, if I were on the go all the time like some people, then yea, communicate by mobile cell phone. But I'm not. I'm always sitting in front of a powerful enough computer that I paid ONCE for and can upgrade or repair myself. Internet service was carefully scoped out and give me piles more bandwidth than a smart phone. I have a desk phone that I have never needed to upgrade since around the 1990s, and, oh, wow, I can actually HEAR people on it (if they are also calling from a real phone) without them sounding like robots trying to fuck my ear.

    Use a smart phone for what? Keeping my shopping list? I use a piece of paper and pencil for that. Don't need to spend $$$$. Keeping track of a large list of phone numbers? Oh, silly lonely me, I only have a couple I need and I keep those written down on paper. Online shopping? Not on a tiny little screen. FecesBook or Tweeter? Not a chance. Online maps? Welllll, nice, but I always plan out where I am going using GurgleMaps - If I have to glance down at a cell phone or even a piece of paper while I am driving, then I did something wrong. Texting?! What, do I look like a teenage girl? Send me an e-mail, retards.

    I can't imagine what anyone would actually NEED a smart phone for.
  • Like I said, I agree, I'm definitely in a privileged position now. But I grew up poor as shit, so I also recognize that having a smartphone is purely a luxury that not everyone can afford or justify.

    Do I *NEED* it? No. I survived 2/3's of my life without it.

    Do I enjoy having it and the convenience it provides? Hell yeah. I don't want to go back to the days before I had it.

    That being said, I do wish the mobile market supported these devices a bit longer so we didn't feel the need to upgrade every 2-3 years and I certainly would love to see these companies make their devices easier to repair and less locked down. I'm all in favor of security, but I don't see why we can't have both.

    As for the expense, yeah, high end devices are expensive, but most carriers have payment options and there's always the secondhand market. As for service, there's plenty of MVNO's that offer perfectly affordable plans. There's one that has a partnership with a major local food chain around here and you get the mobile plan for free by shopping at the grocery store. But data is where they generally screw you over though and too many carriers have stupidly low data limits. I pay for unlimited, but even with that, they will throttle you after a certain limit. In my case, it's 40 GB, so I'm not too concerned. I recently switched my plan from Verizon to AT&T cause I got better coverage, speed, data limits, and it was cheaper.

    As for the issue with students and virtual learning, it certainly can be a problem, but I don't think it's an unsolvable one. Second hand markets make certain luxuries more accessible now than they ever used to be. I got a lot of my first computers for free or very cheap from either people upgrading or from resources like the free store for students and teachers. Also, a lot of those schools that implemented virtual learning also got grants and such to be able to provide their students with chromebooks.

    Internet access is certainly the trickier part though. There's still a ridiculous number of rural areas with very little or no internet access. But these problems are progressing to getting solved all the time. A major ISP in the area recently announced a plan to provide gigabit fiber to every resident in the county and they also offer free/reduced programs for students.

    So I'm excited to see a future where everyone has access to the internet and this vast online resource our society has built. But since we're not there yet, it's always better to offer more options. I don't think schools should be virtual only, but I definitely want to see them continue to offer it as an option for students that want to and are able to take advantage of it. I don't want to see them get rid of virtual learning just because some students don't have access to it or some students struggle with it at home. There are plenty of students that struggle with in person learning too, or did we forget about that?
  • @Chananain - "I can't imagine a person without having a smartphone"

    The minority exists, and I'm one of them.

    I'm even without one during a freaking pandemic also, but let's not go astray from the original subject please.
  • edited September 9
    Part of the performance problem on modern websites is their overreliance on client-side scripting (JS), which can be demanding for the client to do, particularly if it's not just a one-off event but keeps repeating as you stay on the same page. On the other hand, this can save some bandwitdh, as what the client sees is manipulated directly with fewer requests made to the server, which would do whatever processing required and send the client new content, again. So it's a double-edged sword.

    As far as desktop vs. mobile design goes, there's frameworks out there that make it very easy to create responsive design sites that work well and look good both on mobile and desktop, with minimal scripting involved. Bootstrap is just one of the better known ones.

    Responsive design is also good for another reason: different desktop screen resolutions. Higher resolution = more pixels = more content that can fit on the screen. It's generally good to make use of the extra space where possible and sensible. And with responsive design, you can automatically fit more content on larger screens and not leave the user with larger amounts of wasted screen space and you also don't need to design separate versions of the same site for different resolutions.

    For example, when viewing this very forum on my work screen, which is a 24" 16:10 monitor displaying at 1920x1200, only the middle third (or thereabout) of the screen is actually used for the messages. Left and right of that is just empty white space. Pretty big and unnecesary waste in my opinion. Naturally in vertical screen orientation, the white space would mostly or entirely "go away".
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