|Unless you think it is funny to annoy people, you probably don't want to make your site annoying. Search the web and you will come to one of two conclusions; either web designers want to annoy you or they don't know how to design. Whichever is the case, here are a few pointers you could use to make your site annoying.
RULE #1 - Do Not Provide Useful Content
Content is the King. Very little matters about your site without content. One of the biggest threats to the Internet is the amazing number of people beginning to use it. It is starting to become a large entanglement of meaningless information. Many pages say nothing more than "This is my home page," with a collection of links that connect to the same collections of sites as the last page the web visitor just looked at. Besides the person who created it, who would want to visit such a site. The real key is content.
A web site could restate what other web sites have said, and attempt to create the ultimate navigational tool for web visitors. A page of only links adds to the clutter and chaos of the web. There are plenty of great search engines out there, like Yahoo and Google, that already provide an adequate assortment of links. Why would anyone want to go there when they can go to your page and get your 20 links.
Do you not know what you want to say? Well, then say anything. After all, you have to fill up the page somehow and justify the existance of your site. Many people are excited about the opportunity to make a web page, but they don't know why they want one or what they want to accomplish by doing so. If you are a small business, include hobbies and facts about their employees. Personal information can be interesting, and it makes your site more unprofessional.
RULE #2 - Make The Navigation Un-navigatable
The single most important aspect of any site design is navigation. If the users cannot move through your site with ease, little else will matter because they will leave. Provide a hard-to-understand navigation system. Design your site to make sure it does not have a pattern that leads your visitor through it. Get several people (friends or relatives) to visit your site and watch them as they navigate. Notice the places where they stop (as if they're finished) and also the links that they click on. If they can't figure it out, great job!
Another important navigation concept is to make your user click through many pages to get where they want to be. Doesn't everybody enjoy having to click on a dozen links to actually get information? Besides annoying your user, this leads to increased page count. You can brag about how many pages you had visited last month.
Poor navigation comes in many forms.
1. Do not have a menu system for major parts of the site. There is nothing more frustrating than having to go back two or three pages to get to other areas of a site.
2. Use unintuitive navigations systems. Assume your audience can identify an icon by its appearance alone. With few exceptions (perhaps an envelope signifying "mail" or "contact information", a house signifying "home" and maybe a magnifying glass for "search") there are few icons which are universally understood.
3. Use complex navigation systems. Few things are as frustrating and will turn off an audience faster than a complex navigation system. Too many moving objects (animations, flash, scrolling text, marquees) - all of these will annoy the visitor and cause him to click elsewhere (i.e. NOT IN YOUR SITE)
4. Make sure that your navigation does not work. Broken links and error pages only frustrate the user.
RULE #3 - Bleeding Edge Technology
Abusive use of bleeding edge technology causes too many users to abandon your site rather than seek out the required plug-in to display some useless animation that otherwise serves no purpose. Abuse the new technologies because they do cool things. Who cares if they do not enhance the site?
One of the worst mistakes on a web site has to be too many applets on a page. When the page takes over 5 minutes to load because of the applets that really don't do much, it is a waste of time. Applets do not need an intended purpose. Make liberal use of applets that do wonderful things like such having a snowing picture along with something that follows the cursor.
RULE #4 - Use Sloppy Techniques
Introduction or Title Pages
When users enters a site, they prefer to see the information immediately. Displaying an introduction page that shows your company logo with an "enter here" button is a ridiculous waste of time. Annoy the user by making them load useless information before they get to the good stuff.
When the user finally does get to your "real" main page, innundate them with useless statements like "Welcome to our web site" and "This is our web site...". Statements like these talk down to the user. Furthermore, it shows a touch of unprofessionalism. Have you ever read a brochure or flier that says "Welcome to our brochure"?
Images are the second largest waste of bandwidth, exceeded only by applets. Challenge your user's bandwidth by using large images. You can rest assured that the user will have plenty of time to think about your design incapabilities while they wait to download your images.
There are two other things you can do with images to annoy your users. First, large images downsized (e.g. an 800x800 reduced to 32x32) are nightmares. There is no need to create a 3k preview image when you can use the original 500k image instead. Second, having too many images on a page (particularly large graphics), can cause your site to load entirely too slow. Visitors will get impatient and often times click out of your site -- never to return.
Look and Feel
Poor design was a problem with desktop designer newbies and now it is a problem with web designer newbies. Designers are caught up in all the available fonts, colors, sizes and styles, and they are using them all. Even though text needs to convey information, you can still complicate it. Use dozens of fonts and make sure that they are not consistant throughout the pages of your site. Also, when text is too small or too large, it is difficult to read. Large body copy is distracting and a sure sign of the web designer's insecurity. Use big fontswto distract the user from your lack of conent.
Other common ways to make your design awful:
Centering everything on the page.
TYPING ALL TEXT IN CAPS.
Placing everything on one page.
Creating very long paragraphs.
Along with making text annoying, designers can use non-contrasting colors for the background and the text. If a light text color is used on a light background, it will be hard to read, as dark text on a dark background will be hard to read as well. Poor font color/BG color choices will immediately render a page unusable or at best "not worth the effort." The human eye relies on contrast when reading and fatigues without it.
Many web sites offer libraries of background graphics that designers can use free on their web sites. It is tempting to pick the most beautiful or ornate background styles, be like Adam and give into temptation. A complex background may make a beautiful art piece, but it does a lousy job as a backing for text.
Skip Grammar School
Proofreading is for papers that are graded. Ending up with a site full of 'typos', misspellings and/or incorrect grammar, punctuation or syntax is one of the quickest ways to frustrate your user. If they don't understand what you are saying, you are one step closer to disguising the true lack of message in your site.
Use Excessive Banners
Banners are graphics that can slow loading time and are a turn-off for many users on the internet. For most, "banner" is just another word for "ad" and they avoid clicking on them. Why stop with one banner? Add dozens of them. Banner ads quickly fill up your page and make the page look like you have something to say. Be sure to add banners that have nothing to do with your site.
Popups, Popups and More Popups
There is nothing more exciting on the web than to play "Close the popup window." Users love this game where they have to chase popup windows and try to close them before they open more windows. Entertain your user by allowing them to play this game. Besides providing the user with entertainment, you increase the hit counts for your site.
Finally, the last thing you want is to be innundated with e-mails from people telling you what they think of your site. The best way around this is to omit any contact information. Make your site a one-way street. You know that your site annoys them, so why clutter your e-mail with obvious accolades of your web design abilities?
So, if your intent is to be the Ambassador of Annoying take heed of these simple rules. Floow them and you are guaranteed to have a web site that is useless, meaningless and, to say the least, quite boring.
But then again...