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Quartz Has Developed the World’s Worst Website Design

There seems to be an unspoken competition among certain website designers to see who can make the least usable, most bloated, and slowest to load web page.

That competition was in part what inspired Google to launch AMP and for Apple to integrate ad-blocking into iOS (both are intended to improve the mobile browsing experience, just in different ways).

You would think the publicity surrounding bad browsing experiences would have killed that competition, but Quartz did not get the message.

They have just launched a new section of their site that combines the worst of all possible web designs.

The main Quartz website is just a WordPress site with a nice clean design that behaves exactly the way you would expect , but the new one features a bizarre new design running on top of WordPress.

Not only are each of the web pages on the new site massive, they also contain multiple auto-play videos and are connected via a bizarrely confusing user interface.

It’s like Quartz tried to see if they could mimic the worst aspects of an Adobe app experience while adding random behaviors (like disabling the arrow and page up/down keys) just for the fun of it.

The new pages crossed my desk today when someone shared an article about – whoops, give me a second …

Sorry, I was on the page and it decided that since I was at the top of the page and using the scroll wheel to scroll up, obviously I must want to go five stories away from the page I was currently reading. (I don’t get it either.)

Whoops,  I just got dumped on a different article without touching the mouse at all – just a second …

As I was saying,  I was reading an article on a new cybernetic artificial limb.

The article was 375 words long and sitting on a web page measuring 7.5MB (according to GTmetrix). That is a lot of bloat for an article lacking usable photos (I’m not counting the fuzzy images in the background).

There were six (silenced) auto-play videos wasting bandwidth, however, and there was also a really annoying and pointless parallax effect where the text and background shifted as the cursor moved around the screen.

This did not make it easy to share a snippet on Twitter, let me tell you.

Furthermore, whenever I succeeded in highlighting a snippet, the article would jump to the next section in a way that gave me the impression that the developer was telling social sharers to f*** off.

All in all, the frustrating experience got in the way of the article. And I’m not the only one to feel that way.

Better luck next time, Quartz.

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Name (Required) July 12, 2017 um 2:18 am

Come on Nate, you must be exaggerating. It can’t possibly be the worst site ever.
[goes to check the site]
Nope, you were right 😉

Michelle Louring July 12, 2017 um 3:08 am

Trying to use that site made me feel slightly ill.
Also, it pains me to know how much coding talent is being displayed there, mixed up with a complete and utter lack of understanding for usability and optimization. It’s definitely not easy to code that…
…but that doesn’t mean it’s not an abomination.

MKS July 12, 2017 um 6:15 am

My Kindle Fire couldn’t handle it at all, the lag was brutal.

Allen F July 12, 2017 um 2:21 pm

Remembering an old quote that went something like: 'If only we could make doing stupid things painful …'

Added to my list of sites not worth bothering with.

Stephen Cole July 13, 2017 um 2:53 am

I love your writing, Nate. It brightens my day.

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