Observation Dome

What's Wrong with Robert Llewellyn's Guestbook

Robert's whole site annoys me. Wasn't his old site so much nicer? But the thing that exemplifies how badly the site is designed is his Guestbook. Here's why.

  • You may notice that I didn't link directly to his Guestbook in the previous paragraph. This is because: I CAN'T. You can't specifically link to any part of his site - just the front page. This is bad, for pretty obvious reasons. What if I want to link to somewhere specific? (And please, no whinges against deep-linking - if someone's interested in what they see, they'll investigate the rest of the site.)
  • 10 pages. 10 PAGES. That's all I get to see. If I want to see any posts past that... sorry, I'm out of luck. Why? Just, WHY? What if I want to read earlier posts? Why restrict it?
  • Still, never mind, I'll just sit back and read what's there. Ooops, have to scroll a bit. ...Have to scroll again. Click on next page. Scroll again. AAAAAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHHH. Why is all the writing in one tiny window in the middle of the screen? Why not just have it fill the screen? Less scrolling, more time to actually read the thing.
  • Right, forgetting all that, I'll just go to the next page. Where's the next page link... strange, it's not at the bottom where you'd expect it to be. What? I have to click on the menu and select it from the big list? Erm, why? Wouldn't a link at the bottom of the page which you've just finished reading be loads easier?
  • Ooops, just clicked on the next page, but I just realised I wanted to read something again from the previous one. Never mind, I'll just hit my back button... and land up in the previous website I was on, not the previous page. THANKS THAT WAS REALLY HELPFUL.
  • As for the Flash... you really don't need me to do that rant, do you? Suffice to say that Flash can be quite useful in some circumstances... but displaying reams of text is not one of them. Why make this inaccessible to people who don't have Flash?

Still, never mind all that - at least it fades in and out tastefully when you change pages, and has a nice shaded background, eh?

It's almost worth bothering with in order to read Robert's comments. But I find it so irritating that most of the time I just don't bother. A real shame. And a prime example of a site designer trying to be too clever for their own good. It might look very nice, but accessible, and more to the point, plain user-friendly, it certainly isn't.


I really hate Robert's website. I just can't even bring myself to go to it...and it was even worse when I had dialup and had to wait AGES for even the front page to load.

Do people generally whinge on about the site in his guestbook? I'm just curious if he has any idea he's actually turning people away with the lousy design.

By Phil Reed on 03-08-05 @ 02:06

I can't stand to go there either, which irritates me almost as much as navigating the site. Unfortunately, people who, through no fault of their own, aren't that savvy about good web design, are often impressed by the sort of things you can do with Flash. So, fading in and out when you change pages is preferred over actually being able to read the site easily. I'm guessing Robert is thinking 'Ooh, this is nice!' without realising the downside.

By Tanya Jones on 03-08-05 @ 07:15

Nope, not been there since the first, slow, tedious time I went after he changed it to the current design.

By Mr Flibble on 03-08-05 @ 09:25

Same here - I used to go there regularly when he had his nice HTML design.

By Ian Symes on 03-08-05 @ 11:55

Same here - visited once, never went back.

As for whether people whinge about this on the guestbook, I doubt many people even get that far. I certainly didn't.

By Smeghead2044 on 03-08-05 @ 15:02

So it's decided, then? We don't like Robert's site?

By John Hoare [TypeKey Profile Page] on 03-08-05 @ 23:31

And: new series of QI

From Ganymede and Titan on 01-10-05 @ 03:04
Read more in Llewellyn NEWS »

Some litte snatches of info. SNATCH.

From Ganymede and Titan on 07-10-05 @ 00:20
Read more in John's Roundup - 7/10/05 »

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