Web Design in Spain

Here's my rant on web design in Spain. It's HORRIBLE. Awful. Ugly. Amateur. Unusable. Stupid. Hostile. And I'm actually holding back... I wish I could tell you how I really feel.

Everything that they can possibly do wrong on web pages here, they do. Super-small fonts, image-heavy, blinking images, heavy use of Flash, heavy DHTML, heavy Javascript, Internet Explorer-only extensions, non-standard widgets, etc. I've worked with several design firms here and they've all been horrible. Designers running amok without a single thought about the users.

Here's some examples. I'll just pick some of the big Spanish websites:

And some others I've had personal experience with:

These may be the best examples of the country - the rest just get worse. Our bank's UI is horrible and it's basically impossible to get today's television listings from any site online. Want general information about your telephone coverage? Electricity? Forget it. Want to buy a new hard drive for your laptop? Impossible. The state of the internet here is beyond sad, it's insulting. And every project I work on seems to just add more injury. I pray every night before I go to bed that Jeff Bezos decides to open an Amazon.es...

I'm ranting about this for two reasons. We were in the bookstore today and after noticing that Tom Peter's has six books already translated into Spanish (which I was amazed at. They look just like his website too...) I also noticed that there were 3 or 4 new Web Usability books prominently displayed. Including our favorite usability bitch, Jakob Nielson. All I can say is THANK GOD. It's about time. Hopefully the Spanish will get the idea that 8pt type and Javascript does not a cool web design make.

The second reason is that in my current job we just got the new design for our project a week or so ago and it is AMAZINGLY BAD. I mean in every way. It could not possibly be worse. Completely unusable. Not that I'm the world's greatest web designer, but I can sure tell a bad one when I see it. Black screen, green letters, heavy-images everywhere, Javascript scroll-bars, zooming panels, etc. It was sold to the client using Photoshop mock-ups (I was in one meeting and was completely floored). And there's obviously been NO ATTEMPT at any sort of usability testing. This project I'm working on is a new service by a Telecom company here in Spain. Basically, this design MIGHT look good in television commercials, but beyond that, it'll be completely unusable by the public at large. Amazing.

My thoughts are very simple - doesn't this company want to MAKE ANY MONEY? I mean there's been, what, 30 or more programmers and consultants working on this project full time for months and months... Do they have any concept of Return On Investment at this place? Why would you put all this work into this massive infrastructure behind the scenes, and then give the whole thing an interface that looks like shit? I just don't get it... They've got this whole bit where Dad can pay for some stuff for Junior. Cool, except that Dad will NEVER BE ABLE to figure out how to use the freakin' system. I'm serious, it's a joke.

There, I'm done. Let's see how much slack I get from this. (Online, at work, etc...)

Later (Monday)... I just found out that the whole web design is going to be in a pop-up window! With no menu or toolbar buttons! Can they possibly design this thing to be more user-hostile? Incredible...


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