Six and a Half
Keys to Creating an Ugly Web Site
1. Use Too
Lets put brown, purple and orange on the same site and see what people
think. I dont know who designed some sites, but they must have never
learned about complementary colors on the color wheel. Or if a designer
hasnt chosen non-complementary colors, they choose to put too many
colors on the page. Its almost as if a rainbow had vomited on your
computer screen. There are colors everywhere. If you want an ugly web site,
put as many colors as you can think of to design with, go crazy. You might
win an ugliest web site contest.
2. Use Too Much Movement
When I first started designing web sites in 1996, one of the cool things
people did on sites was to have blinking text or rolling text within the
page. I worked on a site this past year that had three animated .gifs that
boggled the eyes. I was able to convince the client to lose one of them,
but it still creates havoc on a visitors eyes. If you want an ugly
web site, make sure you have at the very least three graphics moving in some
3. Dont Have Good Navigation
There are sites out on the Net that dont have navigation on every page.
You have to use the back button to get back to the previous page. Other sites
also have different navigation on the pages so you get lost. So if you want
to have an ugly web site, have inconsistent or non-existent navigation. This
will surely irritate your visitors.
4. Use Images that are Not Optimized
Graphics on web sites dont need to be greater than 72 d.p.i. (dots
per inch). Some people create graphics on their site that theyve blown
up graphics from small graphics. This creates jaggedy edges on the graphics.
There are also sites that dont optimize their graphics so they appear
faded or pixilated. They have run the graphic through an optimizer but it
didnt quite work. Feel free to use any of these tips if you truly want
an ugly web site. BTW, you can also use badly scanned photographs that are
too dark or have crud on them.
5. Dont Take into Consideration People have Different Sized
People have different sized monitors and they have their screen set to different
resolutionslike 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, and 1600 x 1200.
These are all in pixels. Some ugly web designers set their width at 100 percent,
which can really make the site look ugly for people who have their screens
set at a higher resolution. I normally set the width for my pages at 765
pixels wide (so it shows up okay in an 800 pixel width resolution). I also
like to center it, even though it can create gaps on either side. There are
some who set the width at wider and it can cause scrolling or bunch up the
graphics in an odd fashion. If youre serious about designing an ugly
site, please set your width at 100 percent.
6. Have a Distracting Background
I have a client who sends me emails that are a template from her Outlook.
When I reply, the template blends in with my words and make it difficult
to read. The same thing will happen to you when you have a distracting
background. Some ugly web designers like to put a watermark of some sort
in the background. I dont mind these if they arent too dark.
The times Ive done these, I set them at about eight percent gradient
and then have them a neutral color. It can look cool if done right. And it
usually helps if its a more solid logo or image. But if you want to
have a truly ugly web site, have a darker, distracting background.
6.5. Have a Silly Splash Page that Does Nothing for Your Site
Most of the people I talk with about web sites hate Flash splash pages. It
normally doesnt add anything to the site and just wastes time. Nobody
wants to waste their time on something thats useless. I like to reserve
Flash for the top of the page, navigation or a tutorial within the site.
So, I think youre ready to go out there and create an ugly web site.
Just use my easy six and a half steps, and you will be the proud owner of
a truly ugly web site in no time. I cant wait to see what you come
About the Author:
owns Green Chair Marketing Group, an Internet marketing firm in Denver, Colo.,
specializing in driving visitors to web sites by search engine optimization,
pay per click advertising, and web site design/redesign. Call 720-922-3124
or visit his web site at