Cafe Witness

Friday, March 02, 2007

Your WEBSITE Is a Poorly-Designed Website

A few days ago, I mentioned that your car -- actually, everyone's -- is a poorly-designed website.

Just now, I was forced to admit that Sports Illustrated's website is ALSO a poorly-designed website -- literally.

I've been an avid online reader of SI for years, despite their increasingly horrendous design choices. Recently, they decided that a rotating three-story graphic headline was the way to go on their frontpage. Each headline stays onscreen for a few seconds and then the next one is reloaded.

Not only is that feature annoying, and not only does it slow down my browser (and cause me to cycle through headlines for sports I care nothing about), but THE SITE AUTOMATICALLY FORCES YOUR BROWSER TO SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE because they designed their headline animator to not fully fit in most standard resolution browser windows.

Note: this scrolling is not optional. After a few seconds, no matter what else you're doing -- INCLUDING SCROLLING MANUALLY -- the site will take control of your browser and scroll down the page for you.

Name me one site you go to and voluntarily relinquish control of your browser.

I believe the main reason they do this is so they can force a reader to pay attention to the sheer overload of pointless information available on their site. More than half the page is dedicated to "junk sports," including college campus tours, fantasy breakdowns, "truth & rumors" and pointless columns written by humorists who happen to be sports fans.


But this takes the cake: just now, I noticed a headline that caught my eye.

"Lidle estate sued."

Recalling that New York Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle died in a plane crash last year, I wondered what his estate could possibly be sued for now. So I clicked the link.

This is where the link took me.

(No kidding; as of 1:35 AM, this link is still live on the front page of

Ironic? Prophetic?

Thanks, Sports Illustrated. Perhaps you and I need some time apart.

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