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Designing a good website is hard work. For instance, my first blog took far more credit card information and gave far more bestiality information than I intended. Even large corporations staffed with professionals can design terrible sites, but you already know that if you remember Myspace. What you may not know is that the biggest obstacle in designing websites isn't lack of talent, resources, or creative vision. In these five cases, it's having key pieces of your brain eaten by spiders.

5
The Boohbah Zone

Boohbah is a British kids' show from the creator of Teletubbies who decided her previous work was too logical and dry. Boohbah.tv seems less like a website and more like the findings of a scientist adding LSD to baby food.


Creamed peaches and diethylamide.

The front page shows the five anthropomorphic testicles that are the Boohbahs hanging out in a world where every cause of death is "clown." The orbs at the top of the screen produce a variety of sounds when you move your sparkling disco cursor over them. A normal person would have made these fun noises for children to enjoy. The Boohbah site designer instead used the sound of Satan blowing into a recorder made from a howling monkey's chest cavity.

Clicking on an Orb of Madness leads you to an activity. Most of these have no apparent purpose, and none offers any sort of reward. The far left orb, for example, leads you to an activity that, in lieu of any official information, I've dubbed "The Futility of Work."


Boooooohbah.

Clicking on a Boohbah makes it vanish with a noise of a squirrel orgasm. When all the Boohbahs are eliminated you're rewarded with a screen free of Boohbahs and absolutely nothing else. So congratulations, kid! You clicked on stuff until there was nothing left to click on! Something tells me that years from now they'll know it's you when someone across your office shouts, "He's killing everyone!"

Conversely, another orb lets you coat your screen with Boohbahs until your eyes see naught but Boohbahs. Until all you are is Boohbah. Until Boohbahs, Boohbah. Boohbah:


And where Boohbahs end, the seizures begin.

The Boohbah Zone also features what are ostensibly games. You access these by going to the main page and following the spiral road to the Rainbow Portal to Madness. Each game features a pointlessly simple objective, static low-res photos of people, and a brief, looping tune from the classic album 101 Nursery Songs for Parents Who Misused Contraception.


Wee?

Make one lifeless human hop on a trampoline while another watches with dead eyes. Force a dog to jump toward a beach ball for all eternity. Bounce what-were-once-people on chairs until you are bored enough to quit or cruel enough to let them plummet off the screen -- a death so shocking, it's accompanied by the sound of a thousand mice shitting in their pants.


Choose your upholstered lounge chair wisely, for one is certain doom.

It doesn't take much to entertain children, but it doesn't take much to confuse and terrify them, either. You'd think a website associated with a kids' TV program would know how to accomplish something beyond convincing impressionable young minds that the Internet is a dadaist black hole.

4
Another Day, Another Word

On almost every day from October 7, 2007, to December 6, 2010, the creator of Another Day, Another Word uploaded an audio clip of himself speaking a single word. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. In fact, your guess is probably better, because the best I can come up with is that a dictionary gained sentience and wanted us confused before it destroyed us.


Well, those certainly are both days and words.

Let's rule out the obvious explanations first. It's not a vocabulary builder, because it features mostly basic words and provides no definitions. It can't be a language course, because hearing one random word a day is a slower way to learn English than to be born a parrot. And there's no apparent message or theme that connects any of the words. It's like reading what's left of a magazine after someone has cut it up to make a ransom note.


"WE'VE KIDNAPPED YOUR GRANDFATHER'S MOON PHOENIX. END YOUR SEASONAL SUPPORT FOR XENOPHOBIA OR BE ATTACKED BY THE MINTY POWER OF GREEN KARMA."

Exploring the site only raises further questions. The words are recorded in a bored monotone, as if the speaker was only doing this to complete a school assignment or fulfill his wife's oddly specific fetish. Yet care was clearly put into the site -- each month gets its own special font, and even the year numbers are spoken aloud. Most websites that recite arbitrary daily words neglect this important step.


Why, ooh la la, September 2009!

The majority of words are spoken by the same man, but a scattered few are said by other people -- because whose friends wouldn't love to participate in this? Be warned that some of the guest stars may not be human (particularly the voice behind "responsiveness," which is clearly a robot talking with a mouth full of human baby).

Despite setting out to perform what may be the simplest task ever imagined, the site sometimes failed. A handful of days in 2009 are skipped without explanation, and then the word for most of September 2010 is "technical difficulties." After that, the project continued without incident until its abrupt conclusion -- the final word of "maybe." As in, "Maybe there was a point to all of this, but you're never going to find out." I encourage you to explore the site and see if you can discover a hidden meaning or maybe put together some sweet rhymes, but take it slow. If you mouse over too many words at once it sounds like an ESL class reciting the Necronomicon.

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3
Jodi

Jodi is an art collective, which is what you call yourself when you want your mental health support group to sound classy. Jodi's two artists, a term I use even more loosely than Subway, are responsible for numerous websites, each of which looks like a Nintendo game before you've blown in it.


This is what the insides of a Virtual Boy look like after years of drug abuse.

My favorite of the bunch is wwwwwwww.jodi.org, because fuck you, website naming conventions! We're using all the Ws! It's in keeping with the apparent theme of the site, "My cat fell asleep on the keyboard, and I'm going to just go ahead and call that art."


"All I see now is blonde, brunette, redhead."

Click around and you'll find page after page of complete and utter gibberish. There doesn't even appear to be a misguided attempt at sending a message -- it's just insanity for the sake of the insanity ... the Eraserhead of websites.


Although this part is pretty self-explanatory.

There are a few interactive portions, like the arrows on this screen:

If you click on them, you'll experience the raw thrills of watching them rearrange slightly.


Art!

It's almost a parody of bad Web design, except then you stumble across "The Interactive Cattle Mutilator" or a story about having cybermurdersex with a 13-year-old boy, and you realize these people are simply insane.


Apparently William Gibson contributed some erotica.

Oh, and if you look at the source code of the front page, you get what appears to be an ASCII image of a bomb:


No, wait, I think that's a woman made entirely out of vulva.

So if you're looking to understand Jodi's artistic message, all you have to do is connect the dots between warfare, cybersex, cattle mutilation, completely random keystrokes, bad Web design, and dozens of other unconnected concepts. Unfortunately, the moment you think you understand this website is also the moment you think those handfuls of feces make you invisible.

2
Nobody Here

The first thing you'll read on Nobody Here is "I'd like to apologize for all this." And since that's a phrase usually found at the top of suicide notes, you know right off the bat you're in for a treat. Despite that, the site seems harmless enough. You see a silhouette of a man at a computer with a list of words on his right and a sentence or two to his left. Scrolling through the words changes the sentence, and clicking on a word leads to a new page. That's where the fun begins.


If there was a bottle of bourbon on the floor it would actually look a lot like my home office.

The first word is "pool," and we're told that "pool is home to a band-aid." This is not a lie:


Oh hey, there it is.

Why the pool is home to a Band-Aid or why we should care about its plight isn't covered. But if you drag the Band-Aid around, it produces the message, "I belong among people like a band-aid in a pool." What a disgusting way to tell us you need a hug.

Let's move on to "eyeball," because why would that word ever lead to terror? Indeed, we're treated to a page of bouncing eyeballs staring at us with their unblinking gaze. Watching us. Judging us.


Eyeballs and pools? This is starting to look like a really weird Breaking Bad fan page.

Look, there are only two kinds of people who collect pictures of eyeballs: serial killers and people who are too out of shape to be serial killers. And we're just getting started. Astute readers will note that there's a link on that page. Let's see where it goes ...

OOOOK. That's a bit of a downer. From here we can visit/escape to one of two destinations: one that's simply labeled "tired of complaining" and one where a rat rolls onto its back and performs an autopsy on itself. To the designer's credit, it requires a lot of focus to put together a website like this while the captives in your basement are screaming for help.

Remember, that's all the result of clicking on just one of the dozens of words on the main page. Thankfully, they don't all induce depression and internal debates about whether to call the police. Some, like "supermarket," lead to little stories about buying potatoes. Others, like "gum," lead to the incomprehensible.


Actually, cataloging gum is another sign that the creator may be a serial killer.

Click through as many words as you want, but you'll find little in the way of a coherent theme beyond a vague sense of unease and increasing concern for the creator's mental health. He claims he only wants to "express myself using animation, text, and programming," but then you click on "reality" and find that his version of it is an animation where you help ants dismember a bug.


If you click around long enough, you'll find pictures of your naked corpse filed under "beauty."

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1
Medijate

Larry Carlson really wants you to meditate. Wait, sorry, he wants you to medijate, which is like meditating, except instead of relaxing and finding inner peace, you recoil at strange noises and find your inner seizure sufferer.

At first glance it looks like your typical site made by a hippie who wasn't lucid enough to pay attention during design class. You can make a tree dance-sway while gentle music plays and words like "heal" flash on the screen. It's all Zen and shit.


At least this designer found work after they stopped making Trapper Keepers.

But then, like characters in a horror movie who have been invited into the killer's home, you begin to notice problems. The creepy voice briefly chanting behind the music. The messages spelled out in the flickering words, like "I know it hurts be brave." The eyes at the base of the trees that blink as if trying to kill you with Morse code alone.


The hills have low-res, badly-pasted-in eyes.

Then, against your better judgment, you venture deeper into the site by clicking one of the words at the bottom. Probably "free digital love," because that sounds like something you can masturbate to. It is not.


Icons hidden behind the other circles include a cartoon bomb, the Spider-Man logo, and the bad guy symbol from Star Wars. Just like in a real meditation room!

Each link is a twisted mockery of what it promises. "Good vibes" leaves you feeling unsettled. The friendly greeting of "aloha" introduces you to a chanting, flashing skull monster that will never say goodbye, for it will haunt your nightmares long after the page is closed.


Are you at peace with yourself yet?

The only page that lives up to its name is the Medijate Mind Melter, and that's because it's designed to murder epileptics. I looked at it for about 15 seconds, and the image of strobing snowflakes exploding out of a screen somehow overrode the image of my grandparents having sex that I thought would be forever burned into my retinas.

Most of the pages have more nonsensical words scrolling by than the Fox News ticker. It's like Larry Carlson is trying to send subliminal messages but doesn't know what "subliminal" and "message" mean. Medijate is filled with endless motifs of eyes accompanied by rejected X-Files themes and spoken phrases, like "They blow their spirit onto you." If you fed someone alphabet soup and poison, they would vomit clearer messages than this website. The more time you spend on Medijate, the less it, or life in general, makes sense. But at least Carlson offers us an "about" page to explain his madness:


So, I guess that clears that up.

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