13 irritating things on the modern web

5 years ago

Updated 5 years ago.

We generally don't get things right in the first try, and the web is no exception. The modern web technologies provide so much opportunity that almost anything on your desktop can also be done in a browser window.

But these days, website owners sometimes get a false sense of good user experience, or worse, do it intentionally just to earn more money.  Making your users so irritated isn't going to help you in the long run, even if they're attached to your website. 

The modern web should stop doing these, at least some of these, to be a more comfortable place.

1. "Not really GIF" GIFs

If I cannot right click and save a GIF, it doesn't matter it is a "GIF". Please do not fool me with a "GIF" tag when I cannot get any .gif file or when you're looping un-saveable .mp4 file instead. 

E.g. Twitter.

2. Blocking right-click menu

Blocking right clicks on web pages will really stop copyright infringement or it will annoy average user? Please don't punish your every single visitor, just because 1/10000 person would steal something. And you're probably missing some of the users who are going to share content from your site as well.

3. You use an ad blocker, then I can kick you

If I use AdBlock, it doesn't give you any right to command me or talk in a harsh way. I also have a website, and I know that won't do any good. Surely you can block me from visiting your website, but I think better solutions will be found about notifying users for ad blockers.

4. Auto-muted videos

Please do not mute or pause the video in social feeds, when I scroll down or change browser tabs. "Below average user" may find it useful but I don't think average user likes it.

e.g. Twitter, Periscope on desktop.

5. This one is for Google: Please do not assume I'm somebody, or I am at some location. 

Google Search assume I am an inexperienced user, and doesn't give me any visible option to search like I'm completely anonymous (e.g. to see how my website looks for a certain keyword). It looks like it does some customization on IP address and location.

Sure I can use Incognito mode or Guest window in Chrome, but I still get some personalized results depending on my location and some unknown factors.

6. "Full-screen" search boxes

In first thought, clicking the search button on a website and getting a big, full-screen search box perhaps sounds like a good idea. But I think it isn't. It leads a confusion because the textbox is now somewhere else than mouse cursor, and you don't immediately know how to get out of that screen, even if it's very easy.

Full screen or overly growing search boxes are looking nice, but I think it's better to be able to search right away, where the search box is. 

Windows 8 tried a full-screen Start Menu, and it failed. Yes, the Start Menu isn't a search box, but it has a search function (when you type) and I think the failed idea was somewhat similar.

7. Over-dynamic web pages

By over-dynamic web page, I refer loading important page content after page is fully loaded, with additional requests to the server.

I think Facebook does this a lot (I don't use Facebook now). Google does too. There may be good reasons for loading some of the page content dynamically. But please don't make every part of the site dynamic. Mark Zuckerberg is maybe living near to his Facebook servers, but not everybody has good latency with every part of the world. I remember Facebook pages I manage loaded almost in a minute because it's dynamic parts are loading after the page loaded.

I think Google also load some content dynamically, like tooltips in Google Analytics. Is it really necessary to load a few bytes of tooltip dynamically, and show the user a "loading sign" when hovering a tooltip? I'm not sure.

Even if a webpage or web app has good reasons, it doesn't feel good when a page has so much moving parts, that even it's text isn't loaded in the first place. Imagine a full PC or console game that loads its game menu and even characters textures from the web, and you just see its loading like a webpage.

8. Auto-playing videos

This can be only me but I'm clicking "stop" every time and I'm not watching most of them. Maybe you like to show those good video statistics to your boss, but these auto-playing videos caused me to use "reading mode" extensions.

So thanks to your always auto-playing videos, I also don't see your ads, even if I unblocked you in AdBlock Plus. I'm sorry.

I can say I personally find auto-playing (but silent) ads more acceptable than auto-playing, distracting unrelated videos on a website. At least give us a way to disable this.

9. GDPR "nonsense"

Unfortunately, this is not the websites' fault, but these GDPR notifications seem like going out of control every day passes. At the beginning of these EU rules came to our lives, websites were showing some tracking and privacy information in a box, where we would just click OK. While most of them still do this, some of them started to provide additional configuration options on an almost full-screen dialog box. I'm not against fine-tuning but isn't this overwhelming for a one-time visitor on your site?

Auto-playing videos and GDPR boxes remind me pesky sides of early 2000's web when we had to fight with pop-ups, pop-unders.

GDPR rules are fine, but there can be a better way to notify the user. Maybe a browser integrated solution will be better, therefore we could have set options for all websites.

10. AMP pages

Google is serving AMP pages on its own servers. I don't like this. Not only it creates confusion where the real page is, but it also makes some of the web dependent on Google. At least AMP pages don't get Google's favor (but their speed can) on search results. 

There may be some people who will argue about this, but I also find it contradictory to cut off the pages from "heavy" parts. Sure AMP pages load lightning fast, but what is those fancy, modern web technologies are for if we shouldn't use them? And Google itself started to index mobile pages, instead of desktop versions. So Google itself saying "Don't use Bootstrap, jQuery, JS, etc."? Maybe I'm missing a point. I should say I don't hate AMP either, I'm just not sure if it solves something for everybody.

11. Do not assume we are dumb

This can be anything from "custom right-click menus" with share buttons, to over-use of SEO keywords. Designing an easy to use page is fine, but please don't overdo it. We mostly don't want to use a mouse with one button.

12. Do not assume Google is dumb

This is really looking bad, especially in some Turkish websites. Some websites (still) use some search sentences in the article text, exactly how people search it (not how should it be written properly with correct suffixes). Turkish uses suffixes on words a lot, and this looks so bad in articles.

You suppose Google can't understand your local language, but I just think Google is going to punish your website on search results because of your bad grammar.

13. Notification notifications

Web site notifications on the desktop are nice, they allow you to get the latest information from your favorite website. But frequently getting these popups requesting me to allow notifications, is sometimes annoying.

What's worse, some websites use their own popup, to avoid getting their notifications completely blocked by you on the browser level.

Websites want more visitors, and I don't think they're going to give this up easily. But the fact is, this brings another popup to our browsing experience.

And please notice, this is the third "popup" item on this list.


The web definitely has more good sides, and it surely deserves an article opposite to this. But as we use the web, we start to overlook or get used to some of the irritating things. I believe some of these "problems" will be solved in near future. Let's just hope, this will happen without worse ones appearing.

Do you have something to add to this list? And do you disagree with some of the above? Feel free to write in the comments box below!

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