A Website is About the Content, Not the Bling

Do Not Disturb Sign

This post was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Internet.

It seems that all of our tastes in life mature with age with the exception of web content. It is usual for young girls to enjoy blingy pink toys & clothes, and young boys to run around in Spiderman pajamas. It would be quite embarrassing to be caught in either at this point in life. The same goes for tastes in foods, hairstyles, room decor, etc. There is a usual procession of tastes with of course a few people that break the mold. In contrast to this it seems that web content runs the full gamut for all ages and lifestyles.

The Internet — Back in the Day

A trip down memory lane takes me to my first web site on Yahoo. I immediately found a limitless collection of animated smiley faces, buttons, logos, cats, dogs, purple people eaters, and of course a pulsing brain. It did not take long to construct an ocular assault that awed my 11-year-old friends as well as my little sisters. Imagine our amazement when we had discovered the sixteen tone Midi file of Yankee Doodle Dandy!

Though quite amazing at the time, the silly animated gif’s and horrible squeaky music lost their luster. I think I left them in a box somewhere with my Michelangelo Ninja Turtle and Pogs. By the time I graduated middle school, I favored web pages with clean interfaces, easy to download content, and sites that worked with a variety of browsers. It seemed just like the natural procession we see everywhere else in life. Why then do useless blinged up web pages thrive both in personal and professional web pages everywhere?

The Internet — Today

Check out MySpace.com. This site is amazing. PCWorld has consistently rated MySpace in the 25 worst web sites ever and it is currently the grand champion. Most people would be completely embarrassed to have their living room decorated with feather boas, gold chains hanging from the sealing and leopard print furniture. Yet they construct a website with horribly mismatched colors, a random assortment of flashing animations, movies and huge picture files (that take forever to download) and call it a representation of themselves.

I can understand a little that MySpace.com is a just for fun site but why do companies do the same when they are trying to portray a professional image. Check out controlanything.com. This site has a completely pointless flash intro that does nothing but slow down your connection down and make you reach for that “Skip Intro”. Another enigma is the Brown University website. If you can find your way around this web page my hat is off to you. A third and final example is the World Glaucoma Congress.

All of these websites seem to think that eye candy will substitute for content and ease of navigation. I’m sure all of us can come up with a list of bad websites that we have had to slosh through and risk epileptic seizures just to get to some content. I can understand first time web designers (with a dated copy of Frontpage) having fun with all the effects, but why do businesses fall victim to the need for bling at the expense of their professional image and the end user?

Shane writes to us from Alabama where he wrestles with giant animated gifs and fights off gaudy Flash intros.

Writer and software engineer Ronald Huereca has been a developer at notable agencies like iThemes and 10up. His varied background has him working with WordPress since 2006, eventually creating his own plugin which, of course, lead to more. He spends quite a bit of his time volunteering with the WordPress project as a core and polyglot contributor. With all of his passions, writing has been the way Ronald expresses himself best. He has written both technical books as well as fiction. Some of his works include Project Mayhem, Mindefusement, and WordPress and Ajax. “You can only delay the inevitable” is his favorite quote. Ronald enjoys reading Stephen King and John Grisham. When he’s not writing, Ronald dreams of building websites filled with cats yawning, disclaimers his strong opinions, sings karaoke, and advocates for empathy surrounding mental health.

21 thoughts on “A Website is About the Content, Not the Bling”

  1. It's quite hard to teach "taste". Either you have it, or you don't. On the flip side, the more people who don't know what they are doing, the better for the people that do.

  2. My gosh, that London2012 site is as horrendous as their Olympic logo. Whoever designed it was very high on acid, and whoever accepted the design was the supplier.

    The question here is not what's worse – having no taste, or having no taste and thinking that you do and that it's an exceptional one, the question is – why do the rest of us have to suffer?

  3. poignant post. to be frank i am not sure i understood it completely. but, wanted to step upand leave a note anyway. are you a freelance writer by trade?, because your posts are really strong.

  4. Nice material. Recently i ran into the site and have been reading along. I figured I might post a very first comment. I have no idea exactly what to type apart from I’ve enjoyed reading. Fine web site. I’ll continue dropping by your blog very often.

  5. Somehow, between my husband and me, we have managed to accrue over30 thousand in credit card debt. We can’t seem to find a way out. We have tried to budget, we have done research, and we have even cut out alot of fun stuff in our lives. I think it’s time for me to get a full time job. If we can’t pull this off, we may have to declare backruptcy.

  6. I think webmaster put too much emphasis on the looks rather than the information they provide on there site. But, the world we live in is a visual world and people like the bling. Just the other day I was looking for some apartment furniture and for the life of me could not find a site that did not seem over done…I myself still prefer substance over style.

  7. Hello friend, was just browsing through the internet and looking 4 some information and go 2 ya page. I’m impressed by the infos that you have on this website. It shows how ya understand this subject. I have Bookmarked this, and will come back 4 more. You, my friend, Rock this Shit!

  8. well said! a website with no content or bad content will eventually die sooner or later. the content is really important, if you are after fast bling, then with fake or false content, it will not last long….

  9. Appearance and the interface of websites are obviously important to give a certain impression of whatever they represent, today the website is often the first impression a company will give to potential customers and this is important, in equal measure with the information contained within the site. If the ease of use, appearance and content are not well balanced, I personally find it difficult to keep from clicking “exit” and trying somewhere new. As for emoticons, I’d like to package them up, wrap with Sealing Tape send them to whoever created them and never have their yellow grinning faces in mine again.

  10. A perfect example is plentyoffish, one of the largest dating sites in the world. Design-wise it used to be horribly ugly (it’s gone through a face lift now and looks better), yet it has made Markus (the creator) a very rich man.

    Content is without a doubt king.

    Good post, keep it up!

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