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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member dazzleink's Avatar
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    Angry Usability pet peeves

    Ever visit a website that created usability issues while supposedly in the process of trying to make their site more user friendly? Here's what I've found.

    1) Ecommerce sites that make you use a search engine instead of menus so you can find exactly what you're looking for. That may be very well, but what if you don't know exactly what your looking for and would rather browse their offerings and pick and choose?

    2) In some weird reversal of the policy of some sites to limit the width of their design to what will fit in a 600x 800 screen, these sites make their site fully expandable to the full width of your 1200x1600 rez screen, stretching out the text of the site into impossibly wide paragraphs that are murder on your eyes to read.

    3) These sites feel that menus are the best thing since sliced bread and proceed to send you from one rollover menu to the next until you're on branch five and have forgotten what you were looking for.

    4) These sites give you so many options on their search screen that with so many specifics to choose from you never reach what you're looking for.

    Got your own pet peeves? Add on to the list!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    dazzleink I am so glad you raised the issue in point two of your post! I know designs at 100% follow WAI guidelines but I too find long paragraphs hard to read, what is the point of that?

    Another one of my pet hates is sites that feel they have to bombard you with information on their homepage in order to "help" you navigate their site more easily. I find them anything but and usually end up exiting.

  3. #3
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazzleink
    1) Ecommerce sites that make you use a search engine instead of menus so you can find exactly what you're looking for. That may be very well, but what if you don't know exactly what your looking for and would rather browse their offerings and pick and choose?
    Agreed: I hate this. Not just from a usability standpoint, but I'm a window shopper. I'd rather browse through products and wait for something to catch my eye than to come in with questions.

    There's a group of people who are annoyed when the salesperson in a store asks you what you're looking for. Requiring the use of a Search box is the online equivalent to that.



    Quote Originally Posted by dazzleink
    2) In some weird reversal of the policy of some sites to limit the width of their design to what will fit in a 600x 800 screen, these sites make their site fully expandable to the full width of your 1200x1600 rez screen, stretching out the text of the site into impossibly wide paragraphs that are murder on your eyes to read.
    Yes, that's definitely a problem too. Many people are so focused on making their designs compatible with 600x800 that they forget about the other end of the spectrum.




    One of mine is when people remove a document from a site, but forget to remove all references to it. I've come across too many incomplete pages for my taste. (Such as "Click here for more information" links that create 404 errors.) Especially if it's interesting: that's just a tease.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Member dazzleink's Avatar
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    Information anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by Daz
    Another one of my pet hates is sites that feel they have to bombard you with information on their homepage in order to "help" you navigate their site more easily. I find them anything but and usually end up exiting.
    I agree Daz. Too much information is just as bad as too little. When your eyes are unable to focus on the main point of the site, you'd rather leave then sift throught the glut of information. Excessive information on the home page clutters up your first view of the site and make it daunting to continue.

  5. #5
    ********* Shroom mydster's Avatar
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    My greatest pet peeve are sites that have links as you go further into the pages until you jus get a headache...

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard aaron.martone's Avatar
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    Usability Peeves?

    Well, is "poor sense of color scheme, branding and navigation" a good one?

    No offense, but I'm just put off by sites that look ghetto, have horrid color use or a non-defined sense of navigation that often changes from page to page

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict naveed's Avatar
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    "Mystery meat" navigation. I hate having to mouseover an image link just to see which part of the site it leads to.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by naveed
    "Mystery meat" navigation. I hate having to mouseover an image link just to see which part of the site it leads to.
    Tooo many man.. too many

    I'll just agree with the above for now. Especially those sites which have a few "dots" or something like that for the menu and you have to move your mouse over them to see where each "dot" takes you (this is done a lot on flash sites). The type of people who hang out at these forums may be able to figure out that those "dots" are the site menu.. but if it's a non-techie-average-jojo they'll just think the site has no menu and leave.

    Will try to add more later.

  9. #9
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naveed
    "Mystery meat" navigation. I hate having to mouseover an image link just to see which part of the site it leads to.

    yes... that's another huge one of mine. that's just annoying.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast sinbad57's Avatar
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    Pet Peeve: Not reusing same poup window

    My pet peeve is a site that opens a popup window to display, for example, a "bigger image" of something..... except they keep opening up a new popup window every time, instead of reusing the same popup (by using the same window name on each window.open).

    I don't mind a site opening one popup window and then putting the subsequent selected images (or whatever) in the same window. But I will stop browing their images, such as a product catalog, if they start adding "tons" of new session windows to my workstation.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard
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    A few sites I use regularly have a member's area - but there is no option for the site to 'remember' your details. So each time you visit the site you're asked for your login details.

    And then, when you come to one of these sites and get asked to log in when you click a certain link... you login... and you're just taken back to the site's homepage and not the page you were browsing before.

    This can be extremely frustrating with sites with a big link-depth.

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  12. #12
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinbad57
    My pet peeve is a site that opens a popup window to display, for example, a "bigger image" of something..... except they keep opening up a new popup window every time, instead of reusing the same popup (by using the same window name on each window.open).
    I think there's a legitimate purpose for this; in fact, I think your way is more of a usability problem.

    Usually when I click a pop-up to get a better look, I'll close the window when I'm done. But what if I want to look at two product closeups side-by-side? With your method, I'd have to dig into the source and find the URLs; non-tech-savvy users may just leave.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast sinbad57's Avatar
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    You have a good point

    Quote Originally Posted by anode
    Usually when I click a pop-up to get a better look, I'll close the window when I'm done. But what if I want to look at two product closeups side-by-side? With your method, I'd have to dig into the source and find the URLs; non-tech-savvy users may just leave.
    Oh yeah, you have a good point. It certainly makes sense to have multiple popup windows when viewing a product catalog or something else that you want to be able to compare in popup windows side-by-side.

    I haven't come across this issue myself because I have an MS IE right-click menu add-in that allows me to open any window in a new window. I just right-click in any IE window and I have an "Open in New Window" and an "Open Frame in New Window" menu item. I am so used to having the menu add-in feature that I forgot it was not standard with IE.

  14. #14
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinbad57
    I haven't come across this issue myself because I have an MS IE right-click menu add-in that allows me to open any window in a new window. I just right-click in any IE window and I have an "Open in New Window" and an "Open Frame in New Window" menu item. I am so used to having the menu add-in feature that I forgot it was not standard with IE.
    Two problems with that.
    • Unless IE functionality is different than I remember it being, menu items for working with links don't work on pure javascript links.
    • You'd have to resize the window yourself to get a side-by-side comparison.


    OT:Those menu items aren't standard on IE? Eeep.
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast sinbad57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anode
    Two problems with that.
    • Unless IE functionality is different than I remember it being, menu items for working with links don't work on pure javascript links.
    • You'd have to resize the window yourself to get a side-by-side comparison.
    OT:Those menu items aren't standard on IE? Eeep.
    The right-click menu I was referring to is the one for the page not for a link. The add-in "Open in New Window" menu item opens the current page in a new browser window.

    OT: I don't think the "Open..." right-click menu items are standard on IE... I have had the right-click menu add-in feature for a few years, so I can't remember any more. The "File | New Window" is available from the browser top menu bar, but most popup windows do not display this menu bar.

  16. #16
    Sidewalking anode's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinbad57
    The add-in "Open in New Window" menu item opens the current page in a new browser window. I use it on an open popup window and now I have two popup windows. The new one will keep the current image in it and the original one is "reused" for the next image I want to see from the main site page.
    That sounds about as quick as looking through the source (at least if you scan quickly.) Suboptimal solution, in any case, IMHO, and not one likely to be stumbled upon by inexperienced surfers.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast sinbad57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anode
    That sounds about as quick as looking through the source (at least if you scan quickly.) Suboptimal solution, in any case, IMHO, and not one likely to be stumbled upon by inexperienced surfers.
    As I said I agreed with your point that multiple popup windows is a good thing. I am convinced that I was wrong.

    I was just trying to explain why I personally did not run into the situation you mentioned and therefore made a bad/wrong assumption/peeve statement. I certainly do not expect any user to be able to do the right-click thingy I do... so I (now) would expect sites to open a new popup window for each new image.

  18. #18
    Spirit Coder allspiritseve's Avatar
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    I hate it when people think that if they have their site 800px wide that it will fit in an 800 x 600 browser. Then I have to scroll over a little to the right to read the text, then a little to the left, etc... I guess some people don't think about scrollbars... The actual width people need to design for is 744px wide, for all the major browsers. Get with it people!
    -Spirit

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Why 744px? I find 780 is acceptable.

  20. #20
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I just visited a site that has the message:

    "This site is not yet optimized for Netscape 6. Please use a different browser."

    I'm using Mozilla 1.3.

    I am so irritated. How can they treat people like that?

    I feel like sending them an email posing as a sales enquiry, but containing nothing but the message "Your site is not yet optimised for Mozilla 1.3. Please upgrade your site".
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  21. #21
    Spirit Coder allspiritseve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daz
    Why 744px? I find 780 is acceptable.
    I believe our very own sitepoint articles should answer that question: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/990/8
    if you dont want to read the entire article:
    " As a rule of thumb, your page shouldn't be any wider than 744 pixels (759 if you're not going to have a vertical scrollbar displayed). The initial length of a displayed page is around 410 pixels; any longer and you'll get the scrollbar. Most surfers don't think twice about a vertical scrollbar, but I don't know many who appreciate a horizontal scrollbar requiring them to go back and forth along the page to see the text. It's easy to use a simple table structure to constrain your page to fit on a display. Be aware that using graphics that are wider than 748 pixels is going to require your viewers to scroll horizontally to see the entire graphic, as well as letting the text march off the screen, and that's annoying. Aunt Gracie absolutely detests horizontal scrollbars. And for some reason, far too many sites are optimized for an 805-pixel width, which makes absolutely no sense to me. It's just wide enough to force a horizontal scrollbar in an 800x600 display, but there's no content hidden to the right. Strange, and useless.
    Note: the 744 pixel width goes along with Internet Explorer 4.5 and 5 for the Macintosh. IE 5 and 6 for Windows accepts a width of 780 pixels. Netscape for Windows shows a display between 776 and 780. The recommendation of a width of 744 is the safest and most conservative choice."

  22. #22
    Spirit Coder allspiritseve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    I just visited a site that has the message:

    "This site is not yet optimized for Netscape 6. Please use a different browser."

    I'm using Mozilla 1.3.

    I am so irritated. How can they treat people like that?

    I feel like sending them an email posing as a sales enquiry, but containing nothing but the message "Your site is not yet optimised for Mozilla 1.3. Please upgrade your site".
    do it

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard samsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmj
    "This site is not yet optimized for Netscape 6. Please use a different browser."
    Doesn't happen as much as it used to but I still get this quite a bit on various Mac browsers. Entry to the site is totally bared based upon what is probably some minor javascript problem. Bleh.
    Incorrect detection is also a pain. "You don't have flash so you can't view our site. We aren't even going to give you a link just in case the flash detection was incorrect because we hate you and don't want your business." Arg! If there isn't a bypass link, that second sentence may as well be there.

    Speeking of javascript, AllMusicGuide is one of my pet peeves. They've got a great database but every single one of their links is javascript! I'm a control-clicking, one million windows open at a time kind of browser, so that is a pain for me.

    Last I looked, all the javascript did was construct links. They claim the use of javascript saves them a lot of bandwidth and processor power but I'm really curios as to how (and if!).

    I suppose I have to agree with them about the javascript and site resources because I use their site about a fifth as much as I might just because those javascript links are a pain. There you go, bandwidth and processor conservation right there.
    Using your unpaid time to add free content to SitePoint Pty Ltd's portfolio?


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