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."
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.
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.
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.
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.