You have lost the lead.
kitten   July 4, 2003

As most of you are aware, there is an enormous preponderance of so-called "personal sites" on the web today. Generally run by the 14-25 age group, these people will register a domain name, find a vhost, and put a webpage up for the entire world to see.

If this more or less describes you, listen up, cause I've got something to say:

Your site sucks.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it, or try to be diplomatic about it, or worry about whether or not I'm polite. The world is a cruel and harsh place, and if you can't handle the heat, get away from the oven. I'll be honest and tell you like it is.

You are not a "webmaster" (or "webmistress") because you have a website. Any two-bit punk can do exactly the same thing - inflating yourself with self-granted titles of grandiose stature doesn't change the fact that your site sucks.

Look at this garbage. A horrendous mishmash of impossible-to-read, tiny text. An asstastic graphic at the top. A background that makes reading the text nigh unto impossible. Absolutely appalling.

Here we have the revolting "cursor crosshair" crap which is done for absolutely no reason whatsoever, contributes nothing to the experience of the site, and is irritating. You can't even get your shit to render on a page without having to sidescroll. The text - again - is ridiculously small, especially on any respectable screen resolution. Here's a hint: Not everyone has a tiny-ass monitor set to 800x. Learn some adaptability. And the crappy Photoshopped (sorry, I meant "vectored") images of various people is not only ugly, but overused, and was never something to be admired.

I really appreciate how your site needs endless declarations about what the requirements are. So now I have to resize my desktop and get a different browser just to see the hideous site you puked up, because you're such a piss-poor designer (sorry, "webmaster") that you can't figure out how to make your shit compatible with anything but what you personally happen to have pre-loaded on your Win98 box.

Thanks for making your links ugly as sin, or indistinguishable from the rest of the text, and how your text is virtually the same color as the background. That really helps a lot. While you're at it, why don't you cram all the text into a tiny square off in the corner to make room for your repulsive display of Photoshop incompetence?

Let me explain something. A "layout", in printing parlance, is the overall design of a page, spread, or book, including elements such as page and type size, typeface, and the arrangement of titles. Everything that is visual, in other words. A smeary picture you dessicrated in Photoshop is not a "layout". Nobody wants to see your "tutorials" on HTML when you can't do it properly yourself. Go look up the definition for "content" - it's generally understood to mean "subject matter", not the same five links you've recycled from every other site out there with a pithy block of text about yourself and what you hate and which incarnation of this "layout" we're looking at. Frames went the way of the dodo and the leisure suit, and that includes iframes.

Q: Oh, you think you're hot shit, do you? Those websites have talent.
A: No, I don't think I'm hot shit. I'm less concerned with updating the "layout" every two weeks to showcase some overinflated sense of talent, than I am with getting a messege across. While this weblog is certainly not a fantastic display of linguistic prowess, at least we've got material to speak about that doesn't involve "plugging" the mindless drones that left comments on the previous post or advertising how many cliques and fanlistings we've got.
If "talent" means making ugly sites that can only be viewed in certain resolutions and browsers, which take two minutes to load even on broadband, and has ten thousand scrollbars and dropdown menus all over the place, then color us talentless. Here's me caring.

Q: It's their site, they can do whatever they want with it.
Yes, they can. And this is my site and I can insult and slag them all I want. Especially when my criticism is valid.

Q: This isn't the prettiest site in the world either, you know.
Perhaps not. Like I said, I'm not concerned with flashy graphics and pointless embedded mp3 files and "vectored" graphics of celebrities and other pomp and circumstance. All that stuff is just smoke and mirrors to disguise the fact that your site is utterly devoid of anything interestng. Once someone has seen your fancy images with their three-minute load time, they quickly realize there's no point to coming back.

The walled city is simple and functional. I'm not just saying that to bolster myself, either - I didn't design it. Bryan is not a webdesigner by profession but he's got his shit together, and has a decent sense of user interface. Lo and behold, the text is easy to read on the background! It's a decent size, is fully compatible with any browser (even text-based browsers), renders exactly the same at any resolution and window size, and it's obvious what you're looking at - you don't have to dodge and weave through a slalom course of twenty five menus, banners, link buttons, and other useless crap to get to the important part. The menus on the side are convenient but not in the way. The pages load in the same window without inane popups. The links are readily distinguishable from the text. It is, in short, the mark of someone who understands asthetics and UI and that form follows function, not the other way round.

It is, in short, everything your site is not. Your site sucks.