Most Annoying Website Features Revisited

A while back, we highlighted some of the most annoying website features. These included things like pop-up windows, excessive animations, and slow-loading pages.

We thought that our list was pretty complete. But apparently it wasn’t. Lately, several other equally annoyed bloggers have also chimed in with a few things that they’d like to change to help make the web a less irritating place to be. Annoyed


Here are a few more things that are irking web surfers today.

1. The Captcha that Successfully Thwarts ALL Attempts to Comment

On most blogs, user-submitted comments are not immediately visible on the website. Instead, they are held in a queue until they are a approved by a moderator. But as you can imagine, moderating comments can be a lot of work, especially if a blog is popular.

On the other hand, it is not a good idea to allow ALL comments to be approved without moderation, because the blog may be exploited by spambots (programs that automate the submission of spam content via web forms). So some blog administrators have decided to add captchas to their comment forms. (A captcha is a ‘special test’ that is used to prevent automatic submission of forms by spam programs.)

Unfortunately, some captchas not only stop spambots, but they also stop humans. And therein lies the rub.

Gerald Weber, over at SEM Group, wrote about this topic in a great article entitled "Is Your CAPTCHA Killing Your Business?". In his article, he compiled some advice and opinions from a variety of website owners on the subject, some of which use captchas themselves

You should also check out a rather impassioned article by Dennis of Direct Sales Web Marketing entitled "Why You WILL Lose My Comment – Possibly My Subscription".

2. Unnecessary Clutter with Social Bookmarking Icons

Another annoying feature is the overuse of social bookmarking icons. And we’ll hang our heads in shame on this one, because not so many months ago, we were running a nice little button circus over here, with every imaginable social bookmarking icon prominently displayed beneath each post.

Lorelle VanFossen, popular blogger and author, recently published a post at The Blog Herald, entitled "WTF: Blog Clutter: Bookmarking and Site Submission Icons".

We all want our websites to be popular and by making it easier for visitors to bookmark our articles, there is a higher chance that they will be shared. However, instead of displaying every button, why not look at your stats to determine which social bookmarking websites are sending you the most traffic. After all, unnecessary buttons may lead to confusion and clutter.

3. Pop-ups revisited

We spoke about JavaScript pop-ups in our past article, but since then, we’ve noticed the move to a new kind of pop-up. These are the lightbox-style pop-ups that often "gray out" a page, or prevent you from using a page, until you make some kind of response to the offer.

And while there are a countless number of bloggers up in arms about these pop-ups, we’ve decided to highlight Adam Singer over at The Future Buzz. In his article, "No-Permission Pop-Up Subscriptions Are A Bad Idea", he lists some key reasons why pop-ups might be bad for your website. He even cites a poll by Daily Blog Tips which concludes that 36% of visitors may stop visiting a website with pop-ups.

Unfortunately, pop-up ads have been proven effective in building mailing lists and subscribers, as well as increasing conversions. So while we hope that you decide not to use pop-ups, we won’t fault you if you do.

4. A Holiday or Seasonal Hodgepodge: Animations, Music, etc…

This last item is brought to you by Thord Daniel Hedengren. Over at Devlounge, he wrote a great article entitled, "The Fun Is Over: Remove Those Falling Snowflakes Now". His article is basically a plea to all webmasters, asking them to reconsider their choices when it comes to seasonal enhancements. It is great to dress up a website, but make sure that your holiday flair doesn’t detract from the site and hurt the user experience.


Alright, we’re done. What other annoying items would you like to eliminate from the web?

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17 Responses to “Most Annoying Website Features Revisited”

  • Jen Patton January 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I think this is pretty complete- I have a really hard time with the animation that looks like falling snow or sparkles. I find the site very hard to read with that on there.

    I am torn on the pop ups- if they are tasteful they are ok with me but the obnoxious ones have to go.

    • Velvet Blues January 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm

      Yes, animations that cross the text are quite distracting. Snow isn’t too bad. Matt of WordPress does it on his site:

      But I have seen some people do the same with autumn leaves, and that actually caused me to leave the website.

      As for the pop-ups I agree. They aren’t too bad if tastefully done. But I have had some websites which present me with a light-box style popup on every visit and after every 10 or so pageloads. That gets annoying very quickly. :-)

  • Brian D. Hawkins January 3, 2009 at 9:09 am

    The lightbox, fly-in or other unblockable popups doesn’t bother me if it’s setup to display once a day or less. I hate the popups that bring up another browser.

    Automatic music and silly animation graphics might seem cute on a fourteen year old’s MySpace page but I loose respect for a blog or site that’s there for business.

    Look you did Shirley, you got me started. ;)

    • Velvet Blues January 3, 2009 at 12:46 pm

      Sorry to set you off. :-)

      Yes, I agree lightbox popups are so much better than the ‘new window’ popups… Sometimes I disable JavaScript in my browser. And its such a pleasant experience. Unfortunately, many of the features that I DO like depend on jS. :-(

  • Forsaken@Domain Marvelous | Domain Name Information | January 3, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    The most annoying feature for me on blogs (and other websites) is the mandatory registration required to access basic features. I have seen some blogs requiring registration to comment! It simply drives me crazy and the best I can do is look out for the X button on the tab (For those who did not understand that, I meant close that window :p )

    “In your face” ads also do not hold much favor from me. These ads are usually found in the middle of an article, which breaks the chain of reading and thought.

    Pop up’s as usual, are the most annoying of all. Pop up ads should be renamed to:
    “An invitation to leave my website….for good”

    • Velvet Blues January 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm

      Haha. YES, the mandatory registration should probably be removed from the internet. I can almost understand it on high traffic websites because it dramatically cuts down on spam. But when I see it on websites which get little to no traffic, I am baffled. It’s like they don’t want any user interaction.

      And poor ad placement is bad too. Although, I am so used to excessive ads from reading The New York Times or other online periodicals. So I have been trained to hold onto a thought. :-)

  • Kurt Avish January 8, 2009 at 3:24 am

    For sure two things I really hate when I visit a website or a blog are:

    1. Pop ups that keep appearing before me even when I click the close button.

    2.Annoying music files that instead of playing they start to get download by IDM on my pc and I have to ban the whole url on IDM.

    • Velvet Blues January 8, 2009 at 5:40 am

      Yes those websites that force download of music files (or any files) are just plain scary. Right now, after having recovered from an attach last March which required me to restore my computer to factory default, I am especially wary of those kinds of sites.

      However, in many cases those websites are innocent. They just happen to be using files that may or may not be compatible with a user’s browser/software…

  • TrainWreckIdeas January 8, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    You forgot excessive ad spaces. Those things annoy the hell out of me.

    • Velvet Blues January 8, 2009 at 9:25 pm

      Oh yes! Excessive ad space can be very distracting and is often a big turnoff. It makes me doubt the credibility of the website.

  • Wandergirl January 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    +1 on excessive ad space, but even worse than that for me are ads that blink a bright color. I can’t read the content because I’m so distracted! That’s a sure fire way to drive me away from a site.

  • Ash April 7, 2009 at 1:31 am

    You must have experienced an annoying advertisement on sites like yahoo or msn which expands if you place your mouse anywhere near to that region. You need to specifically click close to get rid of that.

    Thats the most annoying thing to me these days.

  • rich June 15, 2009 at 7:49 am

    What about noise pollution? Some site, once loaded, play a loud announcement or play music, this annoys and irritates the carp of me , imaging you are working at a quiet night or in a working in a public place such as the library.

  • Salman October 14, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Ads INSIDE the content.

    I find inline ads to be the most frustrating item when viewing a long and lengthy article on a website. Flash banners are more frustrating than text or image ads as they use up all of your browser’s resources and more. And you never know when you’ve reached the end of the article.

  • Maciek May 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I would add:

    - Having to select your wolrd region before accessing any data. I just want to download a driver/manual/look up the products! Make a website that doesn’t require me to select a region… Yes it’s possible!

    - Flash intro

    - JavaScript links that doesn’t allow me to open links in tabs by simple middle click.

    - Having to send email request and/or registering to obtain product data. Some companies are so afraid of disclosing specifications of their products that they require to send email requests for them and/or registering on their website. In such case, guess what? Yes, i immediately move to a website of another company, where I can just view/download the specifications immediately, without registration.

  • david s December 20, 2011 at 10:53 am

    3 of my biggest pet peeves (though I have a long list of internet peeves all of which could easily be on the top of the list) are: 1. Being invited to try software on the website and/or post comments and spending a few minutes going step by step only to be told at the end that I “need to sign up or register to continue”. Which is something they didn’t tell us at the very beginning because they figure we’ll sign up after wasting all that time and effort. 2. The GOOGLE homepage going from a simple sophisticated search to a big annoyance. 3. When you are on a very busy looking website and all the drop down boxes are set to “open” if you run your cursor over them. And all the other links open up little boxes when you run your cursor over them as well. You’re trying to move your cursor to a search box or other link and stuff keeps opening up and dropping down as you move your mouse. ARGGGG! In the old days nothing droped down, branched out, or opened up unless you actually CLICKED on it. But now everything is set to open. You need to run your cursor carefully around and through the page like a maze just to get to one side or the other.


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