Plenty of terrible-looking websites exist. Generally, though, those websites are designed by and for idiots, so most of us will never have to come across them.
Every once in a while, however, a website for a famous, successful actor (or popular film, or service), will show up, and even though the subject is worth lots of money and has a whole team of people to worry about its image, the website is shockingly terrible. Like, '90s terrible.
When that happens, I will always be there.
Bryan Cranston (Walt from Breaking Bad, Hal from Malcolm in the Middle), is probably the greatest actor on television right now (he's certainly my favorite). He won three straight Emmy awards for his work on Breaking Bad, was nominated for three for Malcolm and has over 100 acting credits to his name. He's equally competent in drama and comedy and, if you've ever seen him on Celebrity Poker Showdown you'd have to agree that he just seems like a genuinely fun guy to hang out with.
And of all of the infinite combinations of graphics, text and code available in the world, there is only one that seems to scream (helpfully and politely), "Hello! My name is Bryan and I am an actor on your television; thanks for looking at my website!"
"Feel free to click around and look at things!"
I don't even think this is a terrible website. I first saw it linked on Patrick Cassels' blog, and he described it as "adorably uncool," which is absolutely the best label for this site. It's neatly organized, the fonts are unspectacular and none of these things are bad; they're just silly, and totally endearing. It's like he's channeling his character from Malcolm in the Middle. A well-meaning but slightly behind-the-times working man made this website to say, "Hi and thumbs up!" to all his friends. This is the website that everyone's dad would make.
"Come on in, I was just about to throw on some burgers. Haha, I'm just kidding, I know you can't get burgers from a website. Hi, I'm Bryan!"
It's just all so damn goofy and cute. Almost everything about this site is designed to be helpful and comforting, just so no one gets confused ("You need Quicktime to view this clip. It's free. Click this link to get it!"), and even his bio has a classic Dad-Joke vibe.
"Try to forget, am I right? Ah, I have fun here."
I worry about anyone unfamiliar with Bryan Cranston's work finding this site and thinking. "Gee, what a sweet and wacky guy this fella is! I can't wait to check out this Breaking Bad show for more of his silly antics!"
"Lots of my characters are different. I hope you like movies!"
You're the best actor on television and I really want to meet you someday.
Unlike Walter White's Fantastical Playground of Colors, the official website for the Yale School of Art doesn't get a pass from me, because it has none of the lovable earnestness of Cranston's site.
"To Hell with your eyes, I'm Yale, Goddammit!"
It's bright, cluttered, the colors clash and most of the important information (for example, the address of the school), are almost impossible to read. It looks like a late '90s Angelfire site and one of the Muppet Babies had a child and then let a Highlighter pee on it. It feels like your nephew's first website, except it's an official website for Yale University's art school. Yale University!
What is this doing here?
Maybe I shouldn't include this one, because it's related to art, and having any association with art is unfortunate shorthand for "I can do whatever I want and it doesn't have to make sense." According to the About page, the site is constantly changing because "every graduate student, staff person and faculty member of the School can change this website's content or add to it at any time." It's like an ongoing art project that college kids can screw with, which might explain the distinct "screwed with by college students" vibe of the site. I should have let this site slide because of that simple fact, but for some reason I wasn't thinking clearly when I read the About page.
Oh, right. The background is an image of a TMNT pizza repeated, forever.
Whenever I try to remind myself "It's just artists being artists; let them do their thing," I look up at the address and remember that it contains "yale.edu," and I lose all sympathy. The address to the website I work for contains the word "Crack," but even I wouldn't let that kind of shoddy design work fly, because I don't want to embarrass myself in case my fourth-grade art teacher is reading this.
You're Yale for Christ's sake!
This gif, repeated to infinity, is the background to the "Recent Changes" page:
I know exactly how you feel, Miserable Lady and Disembodied Hand.
This will be a short entry, because even though we're dealing with the website specifically, we're still dancing around the topic of suicide, and there's really nothing funny about that. Suicide is serious, and dangerous, and scary, and if you're even contemplating it, I have two bits of advice: 1) talk to someone who loves you; and 2) visit absolutely any website that isn't suicidehotlines.com, because that CANNOT be the last site you see.
I was shocked by how bad this website was. It's everything. The strange, "black-on-black with a dark blue outer glow" color scheme, the starry background, the fact that, depending on your monitor's resolution, the page might just stop abruptly in the middle of your screen ...
... or the depressing, hand-drawn illustration of a woman crying alone, underscored by a doofy-looking clip art phone ...
... just everything. Everything about this site makes it clear that it was designed in 1994 and then never looked at again by anyone associated with the actual Suicide Hotline. And again, this is a great service, and the Crisis Counselors who work there are kind, supportive, brave heroes. They just can't make a website for shit.
"Hi, Suicide Hotline? No, I'm not depressed; I'm trying to get a hold of your designer. He's the one you should really be worried about."