15 Annoying Website Designs You Must Avoid

They capture your attention immediately, but not in the way they should; instead of impressing you, they tend to annoy.

Bad web designs are not just irritants to your aesthetic sense, they also spell the death knell of the websites they characterize – with the sheer numbers of competitors out there and the rat race to see who can make it to the top ranks of the search engines, if you have a site that annoys, you can bet it’s going down the drain in terms of popularity and usefulness. So if you’re looking for a checklist of annoying website designs to avoid, ensure that the below 15 don’t ever make it to your site:


No one likes these intrusive pages that seem to be preventing you from getting to the content you really want. It may be a marketing technique, but believe me, most people hardly ever read what’s in the pop-up – they’re just in a hurry to get rid of it.


This is another way of forcing visitors to read something; however, it’s best to let them get to this information when they’re ready for it instead of shoving it down their throats.

Background music

Most people are baffled by the sounds that emerge from their speakers when they open a website, especially if there is no useful need for the music. It may be music to your ears, but to the majority that matters, it’s just noise.

Large files and videos

Many websites use Flash just to make their sites flashier, not knowing that this does not optimize the site for search engines. Also, large photos and videos that take forever to load are annoyances that send visitors off to competing sites.

Surveys and questions

You may be interested in getting to know your visitors, but ask them one too many questions (even one is too many), and they’re off in a flash.

Horizontal scrolling

If you don’t know how to position the text in one page and end up having to include a horizontal scrollbar, you don’t know the first thing about web design. Horizontal scrolling is ok for sites that feature photos or blocks of information and use the scrollbar to move from one to the other, but for stretches of text and in combination with the vertical scrollbar, they’re just a nuisance.

Fonts and colors that don’t make for easy reading and which hurt the eye

Forget the fancy fonts, leave behind the large ones and say Sayonara to the small, and use fonts that are easy to read. Don’t capitalize all your text or write completely in small letters; follow grammatical conventions and check for spelling errors. Use background colors and themes that are not jarring to the eye and which make for a pleasant browsing experience.


That hula dancer gif file may tickle your funny bone, but it sure annoys your visitors no end. Animations that serve no purpose are out of place in any website.

Flashing text

Come on people, anyone should know that blinking text is just plain annoying, in any context.

Long stretches of text

Use white space judiciously and at the right places to make your text easier to read, else your site becomes hard to stay on.

Entry pages

Your link should take visitors straight to your content, not to a front page that has some fancy text and images and a link that says “Click here to Enter” or something similar.

Bad navigation

Visitors don’t want to get lost inside your site, so include clear directions, provide accurate links, and make sure everything works as it should to prevent annoyances.

Pages that expire when you click the Back button

Ever filled in forms and lost your connection only to find that the Back button has terminated your session? It’s best to provide Back-button friendly websites, especially if security is not a key concern (when clicking back can lead to the capture of sensitive information).

Keyword stuffing

Black hat and even gray hat SEO techniques are not appreciated by those who’re looking for genuine content and instead find keywords stuffed randomly into the text just so the site gets pushed up to the top of the search engine results. Use white hat SEO techniques to achieve your objectives, because only they last in the long run.

Links that open into new pages

In this day and age of tabbed browsing, if you’re still opening links in new pages (or even new tabs), you certainly need to go back and relearn your design principles.
So there you have it – 15 designs that are sure to annoy; I’m sure there are many more, and if you come across any, just add it to this list and remember never to include it in your designs.