Web Design Stinkyness #1

May 6, 2007

Sometimes I run across things on the web that defy understanding how it ever passed QA, or even if there was QA, or even if humans actually looked at it once. Heres a sampling of stuff that irks me.

Careerbuilder's Recommendations

Here is the table you get when you apply for a job. First, the real table is something like 100+ items long, and there is no ability to sort. Why do people insist on putting dynamically generated tables or lists and provide no means to reorganize them? This one appears to be in database default order.

Another stupidity is the links in the table. Where, you ask, are the links? You can't tell unless you carefully hover over every word. Some are links, some aren't. The cells have spacing, so there are many pixels around each anchor that don't respond with a mouseover, so it's easy to "miss" finding the link. Each colum is a mix of links and not-links.

In this day of CSS it's pathetic to fail to use something to highlight the links. Even the (gasp) default anchor rules would be nice.

TrustFax.com

I use this service to occasionally send a fax. Why, I don't know, it sucks big time, but I paid for a year. Usability is not their strong suit.

First it doesn't work in Safari. Of course they don't tell you that or bother checking, it just doesn't function. So I use Firefox.

Look at the following screenie, note the "checkbox "Cover Sheet:" line. If you click the checkbox you don't get a cover sheet. The actual meaning is the text after the checkbox. How can you not get confused: checking the cover sheet item gets you no cover sheet. You can enter information in the following lines as much as you want, no matter the setting of the checkbox, the presence or absence of information typed in has no bearing on the setting or appearance of the Cover Sheet item. You could argue that it would then require javascript, but the site already requires javascript (but doesn't check for that anywhere).

The worst problem is more subtle, you can upload file types to the service that are compatible with sending emails (why you would want to use a for-pay fax service to send emails is another story) and faxes. What makes this dumb is that if you want to only send a fax, and attach files to be sent that are not faxable (such as PDF, again, stupid) it won't notice this when you upload them or even when you send the fax. You have to return to the site later and check the fax queue to see if the fax was sent. Only at that point does it tell you "sorry we don't support sending pdf files". Talk about idiotic design; an easily detectable error (inappropriate file type attached to fax only request) is only reported long after the user has probably left the site. I found this the hard way.

From time to time I will point out additional stinkyness I run across. Perhaps it will help someone avoid them in the future.

In every web life some stinkyness must fall; just make sure you don't add to the odor!