When I visited a social network after a while, I could not believe my eyes … After this teaser I should probably put the “read more” link, because these days you hide your content.

Seriously: why are so many large and successful websites so user-unfriendly? Is it only me, or is it bad UX design? Am I just getting old?

A gallery of websites, an elaboration on what makes them hard to use, and an analysis how we got there.

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Read the German version of this post (UX-Fail: Wo ist der Content geblieben?).

Wasted space, hidden content

Such a lot of space on screen, but so little space for content? Text and words are being cut off and abbreviated with ellipsis. There are scrollbars and links to further documents. While there would have been enough space to show at a glance what is (at least to me) essential page content.

Especially mean: the illusion of completeness. There is more content when you scroll, but due to design decisions, scrollbars are initially hidden.


Is there any good reason for such a design? Or at least cause and explanation?


Is advertising more important as content? Making money would at least be a valid reason to mutilate your website. But still there are more elegant ways to do it. Affiliate links, advertorials, context based ads instead of retargeting products that I already bought.

Jeremy Keith recently wrote that the prevailing third party advertising not only deteriorates loading times and privacy, but it did not even prove succesful!


When we fought for our civil rights, what we actually got were measures with little desired effect, but a lot of inconvenience. I am talking about GDPR and cookie consent dialogs.

Call to action?

What do you want to achieve with your websites? Even online shops, who had one job to make customers buy stuff quickly and easily, are full of distraction. When I found a product in a search engine and click on the link to the shop, I will have a short glimpse of the product, before it gets hidden by a popup to subscribe to their newsletter. And because machines are dumb, this also happens for recurring customers, as they might not be logged into the site on each and every device.

Social networks are even worse. To me they look like “find Waldo” filled with competing invitations, ads, stories, suggested trends and topics, most of which is irrelevant to me at that moment.

Stockholm Syndrome

Anti patterns for better customer retention? The furniture shop IKEA has been praised for clever marketing, as the amount of cooperation required by customers (“take notes!”, “go find the right rack!”) seems to work like a game. Pride and engagement seem to lead to a higher customer satisfaction.

For me, this sound more like Stockholm Syndrome or Sunk Cost Fallacy.


Elegance and minimalism? Negative report!

Deutsch? Read the German version of this post (UX-Fail: Wo ist der Content geblieben?).