Ancient Web Design Practices that Beginners Should Avoid Part 2


Here comes part two of bad design practices that web designers should avoid. Part one mostly talked about the errors designers and developers make, here in part two we will also talk about the problem with what “webmasters” or website owners do to sully their names.

To all website owners out there who are wondering what’s wrong with their website, I suggest you read this (and part one) and learn from the grave mistakes of others. This is also good for people who are thinking of creating their own website. Be sure to read the comments because, very often, the gems are hidden there!

Too Much Pagination


Have you visited lately? Their articles are paginated, but that’s a good type of pagination since you’ll rarely see it exceed two. The problem with other websites is that they’re too concerned with page views that they tend to chop a 1000–word article into five or ten parts (seriously, I saw one news website do this)! Needless to say, I never visited the website again. This might not be the designer or developer’s fault, but internet entrepreneurs should be educated on how to deliver content well.

Hidden Text and Links

You have text in your navigation and content partly because of SEO, right? As mentioned in Part 1 by our readers, using images for navigation is okay, but how will search engines crawl them? Answer: “text-indent: -9999px” (it’s over 9000!), or hiding the text using CSS.

Now, this is something very controversial. In my search for free, and good, WordPress themes I stumbled upon this article by Siobhan which talks about hidden “spam” links on many free WordPress themes. These free themes are bad for SEO, Google has a policy about hidden text and links which states that intentionally hiding the text/link behind an object or out of the screen’s view may be cause for the removal of the site on Google’s search results page.

Click to read more about Google’s take on Hidden text and links.

In-line Styling

To demonstrate the evils of in-line styles and what damage they can do, here is James’ comment:

Again, this was pointed out in the previous part. Instead of using an external CSS, some insist on styling on the spot –  which I am very guilty of! While the appearance will clearly be the same, this is still a bad practice because as the website grows, so does the styling for everything. While using an external master sheet may seem to be a daunting task for some, the ease of access to it is far superior than navigating through a series of HTML tags looking for the thing you need to change.

Again, stop in-line styling and create an external CSS. It’s also a good way to recycle codes, right?

Too many Social Media buttons


(website’s name is intentionally withheld for my safety; some are highlighted look below)

Competition is high, we understand, but having 10 social media buttons at the end of each article? Seriously? Today, people are content with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and sharing via e-mail (share via e-mail?) so let’s keep it at that. No need to add seven or ten buttons because 1) it doesn’t look good because it seems like you’re hogging, and 2) it’s not pleasing to the eyes.

Splash Pages and Pop-ups

Well, it actually depends. If it’s an 800 x 600 advertisement I probably won’t visit again. 1stwebdesigner is also guilty of this, and I’m pointing this out because I’ve seen comments  and e-mails jeering the pop-up. The good news is, we will be limiting its appearance and probably remove it totally. For that, we’re sorry for any inconvenience it might have caused you. But, again, blocking the view is never a good practice, save for a limited-time campaign.

While I was looking for a cheap hosting company for my website there was this hosting company that won’t let me get out of their website. The first click on exit button there was a JavaScript pop-up telling me that they’ll offer me a 50% discount. What?

Also, I’m sure you’ve seen this “Share” button somewhere. I really hate this, and I’m sure many of you will feel the same. It pops out whenever the cursor is hovered over it and stays for a few seconds.

This will be my second time calling names. is a whole new level of splash/pop-up/irritating.


Why must I share or like or tweet or +1 your website or wait 30 seconds before you grant me access? Sadly, it does not stop there. If you don’t want to share, you’ll keep on seeing the same thing all over the website.

This lame stunt also happened during Facebook’s debut. “Like this to unlock content” my a–-!

Dark Background and Light Font Color

To demonstrate, click the image to open the website and read a line or two. After reading, open Google. It buuuurns!

Perhaps the greatest affront a designer can do to the world is…

…not striving to learn new techniques when the whole world is changing rapidly. As a designer, it is your duty to go with the flow, to commit necessary changes when the world demands it. Part of it is to educate those who are below you so that the spread of good practice will propagate. If there is enough reason to believe that your design is not doing any good, instead of waiting for it to work, why not find a different method to make things work?

So, what say you? I’m pretty sure I’ve missed quite a lot of bad practices, so fire them all below!

Up Next

Next time we will talk about the small things that web designers do which make people love them. Small things mean a lot, right? For instance, a simple horizontal rule to separate content smoothly, usability options for challenged individuals, and many more. Stay tuned!



  1. Thank you for pointing out this valuable information. I couldn’t agree more about the social media buttons, pop ups (which I despise) and the dark backgrounds. I know some web designers are successful with the dark backgrounds, but I see far too many as unattractive and I usually turn away from the site all together. The main part of your post that grabbed my attention besides the headline is in the beginning, “Be sure to read the comments because, very often, the gems are hidden there!” Excellent article, I am sharing it with my clients!

  2. Sreejesh Madhavan

    Thanks for a very useful article.But I have some doubts while I goes through your note titled ‘Dark Background and Light Font Color’. Sometimes we need to use dark colors and light fonts (Especially while we design electronic and entertainment media related websites). I used a lighter shade of black as bg and grey font in a website.

  3. Jennifer Shepherd

    These are all excellent “annoyances,” but for me the number one problem is how we are in 2011 already and so many sites are still black, white, red, and blue — using monochromatic, dull, and eye deadening “non-colors.”
    Really, you don’t have to shell out huge money for an expensive custom logo – even a nice premade template or header with a bit of dash and texture to it can make your site stand out in a world of dull looking sites.

  4. Sandra

    Great article as usual, all these things are annoying, maybe less social media buttons, for me there can be a lot of them if they are nicely integrated. Even if pop-up IS annoying – I will not stop visiting – your site is so wonderful and full of useful information that I can live with one pop-up coming up now and then.

  5. robert

    I suppose one of the biggest problems is educating the customer, trying to get the point accross that flash menu’s etc are a thing of the past is not always easy

    • Katrina Payne

      That is one of their “photoplasty” articles. It is not so much an article as much as a photo gallery of doctored (or MS Paint drawn) images… since it is a list formatted countdown of a long set of gag images, the photoplasty stuff on can get away with it.

      Besides, I’ll agree the pagination on Cracked.Com is brilliant. In fact, if I had to say there was one good and solid redeeming trait about Cracked.Com worth making it a good solid place, it would probably be the solid wonderful pagination on Cracked.Com.

      Read a few of their articles if you can possibly muster up the ability and I am certain you’ll definitely agree with me on this front. Damn, their articles have some good solid pagination. That is one of the definite pros of the website.

  6. JP

    umm, don’t you guys have pop ups?… i seem to recall having to close them every time i go to your home page! hahaha tut tut tut

  7. Carmen Jones

    I am a beginner in web designing. And I am not well in it. Here I get a vast idea about web designing. I think this tip will be helpful in my professional life. Thanks a lot.

  8. Rafael

    I think you hit the nail squarely on the head with the last suggestion/observation. Not changing by growing (whether as a designer, person– whatever) is probably the worst mistake any of us could make.

  9. These points are some of them are so annoying.

    One of the most annoying things on websites are pop-ups, I hope you remove the one on this website soon. The example you found on I think its a plugin you can get from codecanyon. Believe it or not people have actual paid for it and it seems to bit quite a popular item.

  10. Yes, that is true …. all above are mistakes that all of us do and they are difficult to avoid … sometimes you feel that your website doesn’t have enough social buttons or so … sometimes you feel are too many …. once you get experience you will have a better vision …. and maybe you should mention about having a tone of advertisements placed in the worst places of the webpage. Good luck! You do good job at 1stwebdesigner