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The 22 Worst Websites Designs online in 2023 – learn from their mistakes!

10 May, 2023

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It's 2023, how are these websites still online!!

Easy of use first, aesthetic second. Its the golden rule online – break that at your own peril! A website that is pretty, but also pretty useless might as well not exist for all the good it’s doing for your company.

We’ve stacked up a list of the worst website’s we’ve ever seen to highlight some of the biggest design mistakes you can make in creating your website.

I couldn’t create this list without starting with this one! This website was created just to showcase the worst websites design mistakes you can make that drive your customers/visitors away before your site even finishes loading. Its full of clashing colours, unreadable fonts, missing images, underlined links, poorly embedded content, tiled backgrounds and don’t even get me started on the flashing banners!

The Worst Websites design ever

Despite its worldwide popularity, CraigList is not a website to use as inspiration for your next project. Made entirely of blue links with no images in a design that hasn’t evolved in 20+ years, this websites design is hard on the eyes, not particularly easy to navigate and just U.G.L.Y!

This one is another site that ranks well on Google, but will leave you scratching your head wondering what the designers were thinking. Ironically, Its full of listings for brilliant website design companies, but its own design is pretty awful. It is aesthetically ugly and could do with some fine tuning on usability too.

#4. Exmouth View Hotel (UK)

A great example of a useless piece of online real estate. No contact information. No other page links. Just a single page with a huge pixellated header image, paragraphs of text and a random ad for car insurance along side. It makes zero sense and is doing more damage than having no website at all.

UK worst website design example

#5. MGDB Parts (UK)

Another UK based business (I promise I’m not just picking on English companies!) but a great example of nearly everything NOT to do from the World’s Worst Website (#1 on this list).

MGDB Parts UK - worst website design example

#6 ASIC

Anyone in business knows that navigating Australian Government Websites is always a time-consuming process, even for a simple business name renewal. I guess that’s why there are scalpers sending you invoices that look official when your business name is close to renewal! If you don’t know what I’m on about, these dodgy brothers charge you a hefty fee to basically navigate the ASIC website on your behalf to arrange renewal of your name. Hint: allow 20 minutes to renew your business name, but always use the ASIC website directly, even if it is painful to do so.

ASIC - worst website designs

#7 Centrelink

I could easily list nearly every Australian government website on this list, but I’ll stop at two. You do need to grant them some grace because these websites are attempting to do a lot of different things, based on excessively complicated rules and processes, for a whole lot of people all at once. I certainly wouldn’t like the job of making these sites intuitive, but just on a surface level a change in header colour, throw in an image or two and increase the body font size would be a good start.

#8 BigPond

I don’t know what they’re doing to this website, but last I saw it, BigPond was a website about home internet connectivity. Now it has so many sections its a bit of a hot mess. It’s trying to be a news outlet, webmail login, media platform, business hub…. if your business grows and you expand into multiple industries, learn from this and split it into distinct sections, or better yet, separate, dedicated websites!

#9 HP

Immediately after loading, you’re hammered with welcome to country, privacy and email list signup pop ups. I don’t know about you, but when I first load a new website, I want to look at the site, not get smashed with pop ups.

Once you close the barrage of messages (ignoring them all of course because you don’t  know if you want to sign up yet!) then you land on an ugly website with mismatched colours that make little sense cut off images and just about the worst eCommerce menu structure I’ve ever come across.

#10 Telstra.com.au

I have been a long term customer with Telstra for many years on my mobile phone. However, that is not because of a great deal (they’re always more expensive) or for stellar customer service (its awful). I cannot even credit an easy online platform. The only reason I continue to suffer through their awful website each month to get my invoices, is because the coverage is *slightly* better in rural areas.

The website itself is OK on a surface level (albeit slow to load for a large company). However, the real issues arise when you login and attempt to manage your account. The website is nearly useless, always directing you to call their actually useless support team. Obtaining my monthly invoices is a 10-click process each month. It should never, ever be that cumbersome to download a simple document.

#11 TransPerth

TransPerth is a great example of how ‘reducing clicks to finding information’ can be overdone. By having nearly everything on the homepage, you’re immediately overwhelmed by stuff in all directions. Another golden rule of website design is to give each page a single purpose/action you wish your visitor to make. On this website I can see no fewer than 7 actions, not including menu items and plain links!

#12 news.com.au

Ewwwwwwwwwww. ’nuff said! This makes the list of Worst Websites Design because more page real estate dedicated to ads than valuable content (being generous calling any of it valuable!). The ads are literally shouting at you, while the page headlines are buried. Four columns across the page packed with content is too much to take in, I would imagine this site has a HUGE bounce rate!

#13 Berkshire Hathaway

For a huge multinational company…. This is a bit awful. No images, text only, times new roman font, tiny text at the bottom, no call to action, nothing useful really at all.

#14 Yale School of Art

Prestigious University should mean a website that has mastered the basics. But this atrocity is what you’ll find when you visit the Yale school of art. Now I know sometimes art requires time to understand and interpret. But my 8 year old daughter can (and has) designed a better, more functional website than this dogs breakfast.

#15 Suzanne Collins

I couldn’t do a list like this without highlighting when things go wrong for an Author. As a best-selling Author of a major series, you’d expect a lot more from Suzanne Collins, however her lackluster website leaves you a bit deflated.

It looks like she’s taken a template designed in the 2000’s and filled in the blanks. This is not the website of an international best seller.

#16 Lings Cars (UK)

This one hits all the worst websites design lists, its almost infamous for its awful design. Notice the text in the top left? I’ll forgive you if you can’t read it – it says ‘We are Lings, you can trust us’. I’m sorry, but this website does not inspire trust! it makes their business look like a scam. A extremely busy background patter, lots of shouting headings all over the place and weird clipart dotted around the place… I am genuinely amazed that this website gets any online business.

#17 Industrial Painter (USA)

#flashback to 2001 or what! This website screams we need to update a couple of decades. This website breaks several good websites design rules; the bulk of the content squished into two sides with a huge void of wasted white space in the middle, random clipart and stock images, random keywords in the menu…. but worst of all, is the use of the font called comic sans. Ewwwwww.

#18 Exelon Corporation (USA)

Its a fortune 200 company with a website that makes you yawn. But more than that, it breaks a few rules, including thin white text over a busy background on the hero (ouch!). One this page alone there are 3 confusing menus, with no obvious meaning to a new visitor.

#19 Pacific Northwest X-ray Inc (USA)

Even to the uninitiated, this is UGLY. Repeated background, dodgy icons with no whitespace between, That gross comic sans font again in the logo no less, made even worse by its colour, shadow and outline, a logo that makes no sense.

I think the biggest failure for this company is they actually note at the bottom that this website is their main catalog and they do not offer any print or pdf version. That means that their poor customers are forced to use this awful website!

#20 Official site of Stephen Fry

This website is proof that fame doesn’t always mean you hire the right people for the job. Another of my pet peeves, the tiled background. You can’t read it, but at the very top above the logo is a heading. This pale orange on a white semi-transparent image is also the colour choice for the website footer.

There is no information about Stephen Fry (who of course may be famous, but not everyone knows his whole story). The graphics are not sized correctly, and the tie images would be OK if they filled the squares they are in, or had some kind of border.

#21 James Bond Museum (Sweden)

With no navigation menus other than some social icons and , and the hero graphic being a screenshot of a tri-fold printed brochure… This site has whitespace in all the wrong places, squashed text and ugly pointless borders.

The designers have decided to throw everything on this one enormous page, including huge photos in a random order with large chunks of paragraphs in times new roman font, underlined links and unclear heading structure. its a big hot mess, totally off-brand for the 007 franchise of clean cut and suave. 

#22 Atari Best Electronics (USA)

Confusing paragraphs, no navigation for users, underlined links, keyword stuffing and a full-width page (so even on a widescreen monitor the text goes edge to edge which is awful for readability). Its not retro, this is just ugly and does nothing for the brand, the products or the website visitors.

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Kirsty

As a mum of twins and a small business owner myself, I understand the struggle of balancing all the competing priorities you have. I am passionate about helping my clients automate processes, reduce admin costs & save time, while also building online revenue streams to reduce the stress of getting consistent work/customers. I hope this post helps you too!
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