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Need help: On websites that suck and how to make them

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DislikeBeing a reasonable man has always been an integral part of my being. The only people who would disagree are my friends, neighbors, acquaintances and relatives but that is only because they are unreasonable, sapient and obsequious people. Who would think there are twenty-six letters in the English alphabet?! If you too are wondering: the answer “is not twenty six” and if you are still in doubt go to merriam-webster.com.

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So when I woke up this morning and saw a call for help from Sanus in my inbox I decided to publish it here verbatim. So if you find it unreasonable just remember it is his words not mine. Blame him not the messenger. If you find it whimsical then I made the whole thing up and all the glory is mine.

To the educated and erudite Garikai

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I am a vindictive fifty six year old man with little love for my boss. Well no love for him actually, the guy put me on a no bonus list last Christmas and now I am blighted with a vericula that is January disease.( I always wanted to say varicula.) I want to make a website worthy of his leadership.

 I know what you are thinking. “Just get in touch with the guys who made www.herald.co.zw and www.rg.gov.zw.” The truth is I have tried: the emails on the site do not work and the sites took a year to load on a 1.2 Mbps connection. “Try the contact buttons,” you say. Well for the first site the contact button sends you to the email addresses page and the second site requires Internet Explorer and I have this feeling all messages are promptly sent to /dev/null for safe keeping so the web administrator can peruse these at his pleasure.

Frankly I cannot think of a better way to make a website that sucks than hosting one on a VSAT hosted server. Beats the 1 mbps link VPS. Whatever cunning there is to the art the following webmasters deserve awards for being innovative in finding unique ways to make it to the top of the list:

www.herald.co.zw, www.rg.gov.zw ,www.gta.gov.zw, www.justice.gov.zw, www.met.gov.zw, www.miit.gov.zw, www.mines.gov.zw, www.mod.gov.zw, www.moha.gov.zw, www.mohcw.gov.zw, www.rg.gov.zw, www.smesi.gov.zw and www.zim.gov.zw

Yours truly,

Sanus

I already have great ideas in the pipeline but as they say practice is better than theory. So If anyone has ideas on how to implement the following please leave a comment. Please note: Experienced developers only, we will need any address of a lousy site you developed or helped develop as proof.

Dead links.

Excessive use of flash content (something like www.telecel.co.zw )

Needless JavaScript and server side scripts

Crappy and glitzy gif images www.edumail.co.za

Cheezy ads that are obstructive that are always in the way like the ones on www.thestandard.co.zw . Preferably these would include some that will load pop ups with fake video windows which tell the user they require a new plugin and install malware

Design from the eighties. I am thinking something along the lines of www.nust.ac.zw www.zispa.org.zw [this one was designed using vim] and www.sha.co.zw.

No social links or adding social links as an after thought themarketingevangelist.blogspot.com and www.techzim.co.zw

Take years to load (www.herald.co.zw)

Latency measurable in light years. An obscure turtle pace DNS server hosted in Honolulu would do the trick.

Require .ASP, sSilverlightand Internet explorer. The truth is it is your site you can do anything you like with it. Me ne frego! (www.rg.gov.zw)

A CMS that I will not update so hackers can easily crack into the site and steal all the data which would be unsalted for ease of access. I need an early beta version that is susceptible to injection attacks.

Password based ssh authentication like the one they used on linux.com before it was hacked into would be an added bonus.

Obsolete content that I will not update just to piss off visitors. Misleading information will also do. This includes phone numbers that do not work. (www.myzimbabwe.co.zw and www.hmetrozim.com)

A comments section that is filled with spam and no report button.

If you know any websites that Sanus can draw inspiration from just leave a comment with a reason why you think I should copy their design. All suggestions are welcome. There are prizes to be won here folks!


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40 thoughts on “Need help: On websites that suck and how to make them

  1. Who messed up “our” NUST website???? We used to have a very nice deep blue website a few years ago….shame on whoever developed the current website. They should court the guy who developed http://www.ru.ac.za/ and other nice sites out there.

        1. No. The Nyathi guy got a Fulbright scholarship and ship to USA. Marry what!! Have a new term to annoy my “friends” this year!

          1. No to wat? even before he left when I was a student, the website was a laugh. Lectured us too and no one in the class enjoyed his snide remarks and ego. Thank goodness he got that scholarship and saved those who came after. Trust me, with that ego, he would marry himself.. uyaz’fonela umfana lowa

    1. It is more sad than it is laughable. Chances are that they were not created by dedicated seasoned staff but available expertise through students. Not saying that students who are good at it do not exist. Though even emulating a simple website and using simple rules(no flashing images, no flash, no on-the-fly image resizing…etc) isnt so hard to follow. Very sad

      1. For all we know, Sanus could be your alter ego in a Ghollum kinda-creepy-way…(shrug)…just sayin.

        Even if it wasnt, no need to explain or distance yourself. Your article afterall

        1. Sigh! I guess will never know who Sanus is but the intention of the article was supposed to be constructive criticism and the aim was to elicit change by way of shock therapy. Guess I failed in that regard you should know this does not reflect on my opinion of you as a person. I did not even know who hosted most of the sites. I have nothing but the highest regard for your work and knowledge believe me.

  2. Not at all this site is too good. Way too good! Just visit zispa.org.zw and you will get an idea of what we are looking for.

    1. ZISPA site is purely functional. No one cares much about updating it(aesthetically) because its, largely, tech-facing. Its major audience are people who are not bothered much about aesthetics. It is common place with websites of such associations. http://co.za/ is no different. Plain, no lag, sprinkle of images and purely functional in nature. Ofcourse Co.za is wayyy better

      An ISP would be another matter. That has to be pleasing to the eye. Personally, am not bothered by it being like that. Personally, I would like to see true whois search and will be very happy with it.

  3. People are not willing to pay me 4 figures for a decent website, so why bother with social plug-ins,security, non-flash, non-crappy-gif, mordern styled websites? Just Saying. You get what u pay for. But if you get paid properly and still make a 90’sesque website shame on you. I don;t know if the writer did this intentionally or its just coincidence but most of the websites mentioned and brutally assaulted above are from Big Co and Webdev,Jus saying

  4. First time iv heard someone say sha.co.zw is from the 80s, it may not be the best design but it dont look old

    1. Just use SWOT analysis to rank it if you will. Compare it to plus.google.com, FB,Yookos, … and you will understand where we are coming from. The average user does not share the same sentimentality you have. To impress the point try downloading openBSD and compare it with the competition of Win 7 et al. It is a noble idea just like myspace.com and just like myspace.com receiving a face lift sha.co.zw will do well with a face lift. FYI the design is more late 90s than 80s if it makes it better.

      1. im js saying picking sha as an e.g for a dated design was not on point, its your personal opinion not backed by stats (which i have but cant disclose). If you used SWOT analogy you would understand FB, Myspace, SHA, and G+ are similar but not the same. G+ isnt happening because it needs a facelift judging from your response , which is totally wrong.

        1. My point is sha.co.zw would look better with a face lift and I am sure most people would agree.

    1. The site is sparse but decent in terms of content. The choice of colors is unfortunate but it is not that bad at all. The site appears up to date. The OPAC link is either slow or the catalogue server is down. The social links are non-existent even though there are RSS,FB and Twitter buttons on the site. Past exam link paper dead. The search feature is either poorly implemented or not implemented at all. Overall rating 40/100

  5. I nominate techzim.co.zw for in the ‘almost, but not quite responsive’ category. You guys nearly got it right for mobile: the content resizes to fit the width, but the banner-adds stay at desktop size.

    Insert obligatory statement involving stones and glass houses here

    Kudos on the redesign though, your Pagespeed score has gone up remarkably, into the acceptable range, as a matter of fact.

    1. Thanx! As Shakespeare has Brutus say, “the eye sees not itself /But by reflection, by some other things”

  6. People are supposed to send emails to ZISPA to register sub-domains !

    If an ISP told you that to get money, you were cheated! That can easily be done by them using the configuration. Usually located in the /var/www/vhosts/[yourdomain.com]/conf/

    You can google it.

    Sad indeed.

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