Web Bloopers by Jeff Johnson
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Web Bloopers Checklist

(PDF version of this document)

Print out to use to evaluate websites and web applications.

Every blooper in the book is listed here and described briefly. Each blooper has a place to indicate whether your website has that blooper, and if so, where.

Suggestions on how this checklist can be made more useful are welcomed in the Discussion Forum.

 

Project:_________________________ Version:___________ Review Date:__________

Chapter 1 – Content Bloopers

  1. Home page identity crisis. Home page doesn’t clearly identify organization or its purpose.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Confusing classifications. Content categories seem arbitrary or nonsensical.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Unhelpful descriptions. Content descriptions do not support choosing among items.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Conflicting content. Information in different parts of site disagrees.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Outdated content. Content on site is out-of-date, but not clearly marked as archival.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Missing or useless content. Information users need to accomplish goals is missing.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Unfinished content. Blatantly incomplete areas of site.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 2 – Task-Support Bloopers

  1. Redundant requests. Asking users for the same data repeatedly.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Requiring unneeded data. Making users provide non-essential information.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Pointless choice. Offering or requiring meaningless choices.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Omitting important options. Choice excludes options some users need.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Clueless back-end. Back-end lacks "common sense" data needed to support user tasks.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Dead-end path: Now you tell me! Allowing users to go down a path towards a goal before telling them it is unavailable.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Agonizing task-flow. Accomplishing tasks requires many unnecessary, distracting steps.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 3 – Navigation Bloopers

  1. Site reflects organization chart. Site structure reflects organization’s structure or history.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Numerous navigation schemes. Many ways to navigate, but no clear guidance.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Deceptive duplicate links. Making users think: "Do those go to the same place?".
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Not linking directly. Specific-looking links that go to generic pages or home pages.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Lost in space: Current page not indicated. Page doesn’t clearly show where user is.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. The circle game: Active link to here. Page has active link to itself.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Missing links: It’s BACK or nothing. Page provides no navigation links.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 4 – Form Bloopers

  1. Making people type. Using a text field for a choice setting.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Intolerant data fields. Text field is too picky about how data must be typed.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. No defaults. Controls and form fields with no default value.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Faulty defaults. Controls and form fields with the wrong default value.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Compulsory clicking: No default text input focus. Users can’t just start typing.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Lame label placement. Labels mis-aligned with, or too far from, data fields.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Checkboxes or radiobuttons? Checkboxes misused as radiobuttons, or vice-versa.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  15. Looks editable but isn’t. Using standard data-input controls for display-only data.
  16. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  17. Mysterious controls. Operation of controls is unclear due to poor labeling, poor layout, or uniqueness of controls.
  18. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 5 – Search Bloopers

  1. Baffling search controls. Search options require knowledge of computer or industry-insider concepts.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Dueling search controls. Competing search boxes on page, with no guidance.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Hits look alike. List of found items cannot be easily distinguished by scanning.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Duplicate hits. List of found items contains duplicates.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Search myopia: Missing relevant items. Items that should be found are not.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Needle in a haystack: Piles of irrelevant hits. Many items don’t match search criteria.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Hits sorted uselessly. Sort-order of found items doesn’t support user tasks.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  15. Crazy search behavior. Modifying search criteria yields unexpected results.
  16. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  17. Search-terms not shown. Not showing what search terms produced these results.
  18. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  19. Number of hits not revealed. Not showing how many items were found.
  20. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 6 – Text & Writing Bloopers

  1. Too much text. Overly-verbose instructions, messages, or link-labels.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Speaking Geek. Computer jargon in error messages, commands, or instructions.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Calling site visitors "user" . Using the computer jargon term "user" on a website.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Insider jargon. Using the vocabulary of industry experts, rather than that of users.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Variable vocabulary: Different words for the same thing. Inconsistent terms.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Inconsistent style. Text on site does not follow consistent style rules.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Typos and grammos: Sloppy writing. Failing to check and fix text before going live.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 7 – Link Appearance Bloopers

  1. Links don’t look like links. Links not marked well enough, so users miss them.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Non-links look like links. Non-link text is underlined; or non-link graphics look clickable.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Bizarre buttons: Click target smaller than it seems. Entire boxed area surrounding link label looks like part of button, but only label accepts clicks.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Wrapped links: How many? Multi-line text links.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. "Click here": Burying links in text. Important navigation links embedded in prose.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Been there, done that? Can’t tell. Traversed links not clearly marked.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

Chapter 8 – Graphic Design & Layout Bloopers

  1. Tiny text. Text typeface too small for many users to read.
  2. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  3. Camouflaged text. Text contrasts poorly with background.
  4. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  5. Centering everything. Centering prose text, bullet items, controls, or data fields.
  6. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  7. Unobtrusive error messages. Error messages easy to miss due to poor placement.
  8. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  9. Shades of beige: color differences too subtle. Relying on small color differences to convey important meaning.
  10. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  11. Dead or Alive? Active buttons look inactive. Buttons appear "grayed out" but aren’t.
  12. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

  13. Terrible tabs. Navigation tabs don’t look and act enough like real tabs.
  14. Occurs:____________________________________________________________

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