Earlier, Hannes Coudenys, as the driving force behind Ugly Belgian Houses, already put the ugliest architecture in our country in the spotlight. He is now part of the five-member jury that will award the ugliest website out of all the entries with a complete makeover. He discusses some notable nominated sites below.
“Still, I don’t want to make it a mission to go after everything ugly,” Coudenys says. “It’s all very subjective too. I even fell in love with those ugly houses by talking to the residents, they turned out to be very nice people.”
It is these discussions, both with the other jury members and with the owners of those websites, that Coudenys is curious about. Because what factors make a website ugly? “For me that is when there are a lot of sponsors on it. I am also very sensitive to fonts. Comic Sans is such a well-known example, but there are much uglier typefaces out there, and they mainly hinder readability.”
For example, infinitely moving GIF files are no problem for Coudenys, which nevertheless causes annoyance to many people. “The way in which that is used is especially important, also for your image. If that makes a website ugly, you will simply quit faster. And the owner has nothing to do with that.”
In addition to the image, he also looks at the practical side. Many of the submitted websites will be very difficult to read on a smartphone. “These are websites that are stuck in time, you don’t see any evolution in them. A lot of money was once invested in such a website, it is complicated to continue to maintain it. You notice that a small self-employed person or a hobby club has once done so, but then no longer invests in it.”
In addition to the many websites of small independents and hobby clubs, there are also striking websites among the entries, which we would assume will be handled more professionally. Just think of the website of the municipality of Watou, the Walloon government and even the Belgian Official Gazette.
“I personally find the website of the Staatsblad very ambitious”, Coudenys responds. “It is also absolutely not user-friendly. But that’s a good example of that subjectivity. For example, some 16-year-olds like that marble-colored background again.”
The counter is already above four hundred entries, Coudenys hopes to have more than a thousand by the end bad practices to collect. In the end, the ‘winner’ of the competition will be given a complete makeover by IT company Combell. For the other nominated websites, it might be a wake-up call.
“Everyone is of course free to do what he or she wants, but I would still be a bit disappointed if people don’t make any changes to their website afterwards,” says Coudenys. “Because nowadays you also depend on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, an attractive website for people with a shop still has an essential value.”
You can nominate an ugly website until 9 October via www.uglybelgianwebsites.be.