fix ugly website

By Noah Britton on 22 September 2020

In a world of 1.8 billion websites, not all of them will be winners. In fact, there are many websites that are notorious for how bad they are.

If you’re not serious about your business or enjoy notoriety, a bad website could be fun for you to maintain. Just take a look at the Space Jam website that’s still active from when the movie was released in 1996. Fans and 90’s fanatics love it for its throw-back aesthetic but it would be a terrible promo for any new movie.

If you want to get business from your website, it needs to be well designed. Let’s take a look at some of the worst of the worst out there and how we would fix them.

Top 10 worst websites on the internet.

And now, in no particular order, we present our choices for the worst websites on the internet.

1. Yale School of Art


The best art school in the country should have a better website to promote the school. This website should be geared towards prospective students and parents while providing information that current students need.

Let’s break down some of the changes we would make.

  • Background. The all-black background needs to change. We’re all for simple but this is a little too simple. A beauty shot of the art school or a showcase of art created by students would be better.
  • Navigation menu. The navigation menu is small and hidden on the left-hand side of the page. There needs to be a more prominent navigation menu that allows users to quickly and easily get to where they need to go.
  • Font. So much of the text is too small and hard to read. If you look at the left-hand side of the page, you run the risk of straining your eyes trying to read what’s there. Everything on your page needs to be easy to read.
  • Layout. This website makes zero use of the right half of the page. Using all of the webpage’s real estate would alleviate many of these issues.


Read more: Why is Web Design Important?

2. MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies Special Collection


Another renowned institute of higher learning that has neglected the basics of good web design. There’s a lot that needs to be changed but let’s take a look at a few of the glaring things that need to be fixed.

  • Navigation menu. Where Yale’s navigation menu is too small to see, the MIT navigation menu is huge. However, it doesn’t look like a navigation menu. The commas, placement, and color don’t say navigation menu to the average user.
  • Actual navigation. We’re fairly sure that there are a lot more than two items that need to be fixed but we got too motion sick scrolling through the page to see what they were. If you want to keep your users engaged, don’t make it impossible for them to read your website.

3. Diller Scofidio + Renfro

When you launch your business website, you want to make sure your visitors know what it is you’re offering them. This website…does not do that.

  • Clear purpose. This website does not have a clear purpose for the VISITOR. The business owners probably know what the purpose of the website is, but it is not clear to the user who navigates there.
  • Clear navigation. The only way we could figure out how to scroll down the page is by using a touchscreen laptop. The homepage is full of beautiful images of what we assume are their projects, but a user on a traditional computer may not be able to see them.
  • Clear text. If you are lucky enough to find the “Index” button and click on it to get to the navigation menu, you will find text that’s formatted the way you expect and, well, backward text. Leaving your users confused is the last thing you want to do.

4. Pacific Northwest X-Ray

You have to really know what you need if you find yourself at Pacific Northwest X-Ray. They are a one-stop-shop for medical providers who need anything for their x-ray machines. But this website is hard to navigate for even the most knowledgeable x-ray tech. So what would we fix first?

  • Color choice. The combination of teal background and neon yellow link text is incredibly hard to read. The first thing we would change that would make a big difference is the color choice. A more traditional dark background and light text would be much more user friendly.
  • Clear call to action. The “how to buy” button is buried in the middle of the bottom navigation menu. Not the most convenient placement for visitors to make a quick purchase.

5. Gates n’ Fences

fixing ugly website

People love to use local businesses for home projects like installing gates and fences. Unfortunately for Gates n’ Fences, residents in their area are likely to look elsewhere if their first exposure to this business is their website. We would recommend the following first steps to convert website visitors into customers.

  • Simplify, simplify, simplify. There is WAY too much text on this page. Consumers looking to install a fence don’t need to become a fencing expert in order to make the right choice. Most of this text can be moved to interior pages or removed entirely to simplify the homepage and entice visitors to read more.
  • Business name prominence. There is a lot more text on this page that is given more visual importance than the actual business name. Your visitors should know the name of your business.

6. Coupons San Diego

At first glance, this site isn’t terrible. Sure it looks like it was thrown up quickly and cheaply but it’s not offensive. And then you start to scroll. That’s where our list of what to fix starts.

  • Shrink the fixed header. Your logo needs to either be responsive and shrink when your users start scrolling or just small to begin with. Coupons San Diego’s logo is so big and static that it means the header takes up a third of the page’s real estate. And that leads to visitors not being able to see the coupons they came for. This website is sacrificing the reason for their existence to show off a bad logo.
  • Fix the navigation menu. You’re probably noticing a theme at this point. Many websites struggle with creating their navigation menus. Like the logo, the navigation text needs to be smaller. The weird wrap text and poor line spacing make it not obvious that the menu is two lines long. Then, when you scroll, the menu suddenly changes! Navigation menus need to be clear and easy for your visitors to use. Period.


Read more: What is the Difference Between Web Design and Web Development?

7. MGBD Parts

This website can be summed up in two words: Too Busy. We get that you provide car parts for Rover P6 cars. There’s a way to convey that without a billion pictures of the car.

  • Font choices. You may have thought the navigation menu was going to be number one here, but you would be wrong. The font and font color choices are what stood out as most glaringly bad. The red color clashes with most of the pictures making it jarring to look at. The font choice and spacing between letters makes the words look blurry and hard to read.
  • Navigation. We don’t want to disappoint you by not complaining about bad navigation. So we’ll complain about the bad navigation. We like the idea of using the Rover P6 as a navigation icon but the way it’s executed leaves a lot to be desired. Navigation should also be easy to access. You shouldn’t have to scroll down the entire page to see all your navigation options.

8. Industrial Painter

We’re just going to jump right into the bad here because it is just appalling.

  • STOP USING FLASH PLAYER. Flash’s end of life is this year. There will be no more support for Flash after this year. Flash has been on the plugin non grata list for ages. Your sales site should NOT RELY ON FLASH. Phew. Glad to get that off our chest.
  • Add a useful call to action button. We looked at this page agape for a few minutes staring at the call to action to click to a Flash site. Once we got over our shock, we were then amazed to find that there wasn’t an obvious call to action to actually purchase their services.

9. 007 Museum

James Bond is cool. He’s debonair. He’s easy on the eyes. The website for his fan museum is none of those things.

  • Add navigation. We’ve covered a host of navigation atrocities in this list but this one is the worst of all. There is no navigation. You scroll and scroll and scroll and hope, at some point in your journey, that you find what you are looking for. Your navigation strategy should not rely on your visitors using “ctrl + F” to find what they need.
  • Add more web pages. The most effective websites break their content into easily digestible chunks organized into categories that their visitors can navigate to in order to find what they need. It’s the most basic principle of web design and this website ignores it to their detriment.

10. is a Norweigen classifieds website. Most people are used to classified websites having at least a semblance of organization, even if the web design isn’t what we would call “attractive.” (See: Craig’s List.) has decided to go another direction.

  • Organization, organization, organization. Imagine, if you will, that you are a Norweigen looking to save some money and buy a needed item from Arngren rather than going to a shop. Would you be able to find what you’re looking for? The odds are not in your favor. They do have a left-hand navigation site but the viewer is too overwhelmed by the barrage of overlapping images to notice it.
  • Discrete text. Speaking of overlapping, the links and prices for the items on the homepage all overlap making it impossible to tell what’s what and how much everything costs. This is a problem for someone who is actively looking to make a purchase.


Read more: Your Website Has 15-30 Seconds to Impress

Final word.

Good web design can make all the difference in the world to your business. You have no more than 30 seconds to impress your website visitors before they leave your site if they don’t like what they see. Design plays a big part in that decision. Let us help you impress your website visitors with the design of your page so they stick around to be impressed by your business.

Thrive Design is a customer-centric web design agency from SeattleContact us today to find out how we can elevate your business online! Find us on Clutch, UpCityLinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

Category: Web design seattle

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Noah Britton

I'm Noah Britton, the founder of Thrive. I've been running a website agency since 2002 and focusing on WordPress since 2015. My job at Thrive is to understand the goals and problems of our clients and propose the appropriate solution and I'm backed by an amazing team. I'm passionate about tools, process, and technology, some of which I recommend on our blog.