Bad Website Design – How NOT To Design a Website

I was recently asked by a good friend to evaluate a website. I will not reveal the identity of that website because I have no desire to embarrass anyone. That means that my 'subjective' observations won't mean much (but they are brief), but my objective observations are very easy to understand, The website turned out not to be merely a poor website, but one of the worst aspects of bad website design I have ever had the misfortune to encounter,

When you read this, bear in mind that someone has paid hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars for a website design doesn't work on any level. 

Evaluation Setup

  • Primary Desktop Browser: Chrome
  • Secondary Desktop Browser: Opera
  • Internet Speed: NBN Broadband 32Mbps Download
  • Mobile: iPhone 6 Safari Browser
  • PC Displays: BenqGL2460 24-inch display (big screen) and HP Laptop 16-inch display

Subjective Viewpoints

This is purely a ‘how it looks to me’ viewpoint.


The site looks old fashioned and amateurish; there is nothing in the layout to suggest professional design skills have been applied. Colors clash and the most valuable real-estate on the landing page, the upper part, is essentially useless and guaranteed to get people to just scroll past it – it says nothing of value.


It seems a bit quicker than desktop to load, but again, the layout is dysfunctional and wastes   space. The text on the slides is unreadable which makes it even worse than the desktop version That’s the subjective viewpoint – let’s move onto objective measurements.

Objective Observations on the Bad Website Design


On the laptop and desktop, first load into the browser took in excess of 20s. That will simply kill visitors’ interest. The page is very bloated indeed, at 15.8Mbyte. Normal professional practice is around 1MB to 2MB (preferably not near the 2MB mark!).

A site can have a measured long load time of even 6s without upsetting visitors as long as it’s mostly populated inside 2s. This site presents two rotating red dots while loading – not good practice.

The server response time is also poor at 3.8 s – almost 20 times slower than recommended. This may be due to the hosting  facility and/or poor site structure. We don’t recommend (Bad Hosting Company) hosting anyway as we have found support to be poor in general.

Bad Website Design - On Site SEO

There is none. This is very, very important as this is required so that search engines can recognize what the site is about. Here are the key deficiencies:

  • There is no meta description on the page, which is a strong sign of bad website design. This is the ‘snippet’ that search engines pickup to describe your page. Without it, Google just picks a bit of text and uses that.  This is very detrimental to ranking.
  • No highest-level heading tag <h1>. Again, this tells search engines what your site is about at the highest level and it’s simply missing.
  • No Open Graph tags. This means that when your page is shown on sites like LinkedIn, images and text are not what you want them to be.
  • Keywords: There is no particular keyword to tell search engines what your site is focused on. Again, not good for ranking.
  • Images: Apart from the incorrect (very large) size of the images, they have no ‘alt text’ which search engines read to determine what they are about. Again, bad for ranking.

At this point we stopped looking for more html issues.

Site Structure and Usability - More Bad Website Design

Site visitors want to identify what they are looking for and get there with one click.  Take a visitor going to who is looking for ‘xxxxxx Refill Services’.

First, he/she sees it on the landing page with an icon, but there is no link except to ‘all our services’.

Further reinforcing the bad website design, under the collection of services icons there is a section of three images with links to other services – this is truly confusing.

Next on the page we see a section with the company’s mission. This is another confusing placement, and an inversion of normal content hierarchy. It sends the visitor scanning the page with uncertainty as to what’s next.

So, let’s assume the somewhat confused visitor is very patient, (which is very unlikely) and now clicks onto the ‘All Our Services’ button – what’s next? – Nothing on the subject matter. Your visitor now definitely leaves.

If the visitor had been looking for ‘xxxxxx Services’, then after clicking the ‘All Our services’ button, he/she does indeed see a description of that service – and another clickable link to another page for the information.

On a score of 1 to 10 on usability we would score this site a 3 at best.

Recommendations to Correct the Bad Website Design

The site needs to be completely redesigned with rationalized and organized content, product/service categorization, proper menus and calls to action, proper keyword selection, and on SEO. Never design a site without on-site SEO - it's just not worth it.

We also suggest changing the host to a more helpful entity which can provide. We have a design process available for the customer to engage with if he/she works with us.

A Bit of Fun - Some REALLY REALLY Bad Website Design

I was looking for a useful external link for this page, and came across a great article with examples of the worst website designs 2020 which you can find here.

From that list here is number one - feel free to laugh at this monstrous example of bad website design at the Yale School of Art. It's beyond bad - would you send your child there to learn anything at all?

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About the author 

Rowley Keith MBA BSc (Hons)

A qualified business manager and design engineer with many years of real-world business experience.

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