By: Kalvin Kingsley
Much like fashion, a lot of web fads look bad in hindsight. Some look lemon-juice-in-a-papercut painfully bad.
Here’s a list of items that I’m grateful we’ve grown (or are growing) out of. May they die in a fire like the unholy flames that spawned them.
Joke of the Day
You’re going to see a recurring theme here. A lot of these fads are fine things to have on a website – just not on the website for your business. Nobody came to Bob’s Toast Emporium’s website to read a joke. They came to buy toast.
Flash Intros Just Because
Guilty. Back in ye old olden days, our own agency’s site had a big ol’ Flash intro. With music. That played automatically. And the Flash didn’t actually have any purpose beyond showing that we could do Flash. Oh sure, it said stuff about how edgy and non-yes-man we were/are, but that content could have just as easily been spelled out on a regular homepage.
But they were different times back then, and that’s what agencies (mostly) did. Flash intros are going away for several reasons – Flash being unsupported on a lot of mobile platforms is a biggie, as well as the relative ease and lack of expense of shooting real video. Because lets face it…the main reason we all liked Flash in the late ’90’s and early 2000’s was that they lent motion and eye candy.
Java Applets Just Because
This is really the poster child of the unnecessary, to me. Don’t get me wrong, many Java applets have a great purpose on a website. Very nice financial calculators on a financial institution website, for instance. That’s just one of many examples. But what I’m talking about here is the “mouse trailer” type of thing. Or the rippling water. These are, again, only eye candy. Thankfully there’s much better eye candy to be had now.
The worst offender, in my book. I’ve always despised websites that automatically start some form of audio the moment you go to the site. I’m often outvoted on this topic. Still. But at least most websites now have actual MUSIC music playing. Not music that sounds like the background to Final Fantasy IV on the Super Nintendo.
Weather Tickers / Stock Tickers
These are the toughest to get rid of. Like ticks. Get it? Tickers, ticks, you see they…oh nevermind. These can still have a use, on the right type of website. I’m talking to you, destination websites and publicly traded companies. It makes sense for a place where someone might be traveling to (especially daytrippers) to have a weather ticker. It doesn’t make sense for Bob’s Toast Emporium to show what the weather is like at Bob’s brick-and-mortar location. Similarly, of course as a publicly traded company you would want to show how your stock is doing (unless it is terrible?) but most anyone who is just interested in general stock info is going to go to their own broker’s website. Right?
Oh come on. These were silly so long ago it hurts. For those too young to remember, they looked like this:
And they reported to all the world how much traffic your page got. Just that one page. Oh the pain. Just remembering this is giving me a headache. Please folks, ask us about Google Analytics.
Links Just Because
Anyone else remember business websites that had a links section that just had “interesting links”? These weren’t links that necessarily had anything to do with the business in question. They were links that the business owner liked. Like putting his or her own list of bookmarks out on the web for everyone to see. I remember one in particular (who shall remain anonymous) who actually had AOL.com and Yahoo! in its “Interesting Links” section. Oy.
Guestbooks Just Because
You want interaction with your site visitors and potential client base? You might want to look into this new thing called Social Media. No really – the amount of overhead a guestbook can take is no less than it takes to have a Facebook page and allow people to communicate with you in that fashion.
Games Just Because
Many a business in the late ’90s felt the need to offer up games that had “something” to do with their organization. One memory in particular was of a “Whack a Mole” clone that we had to put on a client website because their leadership (and the AE of the account) insisted that a game was needed to draw traffic to the site. So, instead of whacking moles, you whacked something that was somehow related to the organization. Because nothing sells food and clothing like whacking. Something.
Possibly the most common joke (aside from Make the Logo Bigger) is whether we should make a website pop by adding the blink tag. It’s a tag that used to do exactly what you might think – it made text that it surrounded blink. Why would anyone do this? I don’t know. I blame society. Or bad parenting maybe.
So there you have them. My own personal list of ten things we are (mostly) blissfully without. Disagree? Have others? I’d love to hear about it, let us know what you’ve got.
Kalvin Kingsley is the Operations Director at KK BOLD. His favorite website is still the Hamster Dance.