We ventured on to a local restaurant website recently, only to hear what had to be a MIDI file -- yes, the synthy, cheeseball music from the Internet of 1998 -- loudly playing in the background. Then we tried to click over the menu -- but first we had to download a PDF. Then the menu didn't include prices. Then we said "Screw it" and pointed our cursor to a different restaurant website.
When diners are hungry to find information on where to eat, the last thing they want to do is peruse your nephew's abortion of a web design project -- or, worse, something you actually paid someone real money to design. So with apologies to the Oatmeal, who apparently covered this gripe in hilarious, graphic detail, here is our hit list for restaurants with bad websites:
Please, stop doing these things.
15. Posting two-inch-long menus that need a scroll bar. Stupid.
14. Posting a separate PDF for every single effing menu. Ironic that you've now littered our desktops with your menus full of organic food.
13. Requiring us to use OpenTable.com to make a reservation and posting "No Phone Calls, Please." Isn't this the hospitality business?
12. Keeping a "blog" but not updating the thing, ever. People do look at that. Update it or delete it.
11. Slide shows. Just give us all the food porn on a single page. It's not like you're counting on page views.
10. Or worse, not posting pictures of your food. At all. This town is full of photographers. Pay someone to do it; customers lap up food porn.
9. Inserting garish social media buttons on every page of your site, above, you know, the actual information about the website.
8. Using Adobe Flash to post your address and contact information so we can't copy and paste that address into Google maps. 7. Using Adobe Flash at all. Have you tried viewing it on an iPhone?
6. Posting outdated menus.
5. Making us guess which plate, chef toque or baguette to click on to find the menu. Just make a text link that says "Menu." We don't need to navigate a cartoonish version of your dining room. Mystery websites are so early 2000s.
4. Automatically playing music. Usually it's of the pan flute of smooth jazz variety. No one likes that kind of music; it was only created by corporate shmoes based on focus-group research of half-dead transients who preferred it to the sound of screeching trains.
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3. Forgetting to post directions. Most of us use Google Maps, but anyone who's been led on a seemingly figure-8 shaped trip -- especially a city's new denizens, of which Denver has many -- can appreciate a "If you're coming from the west" pointer. Also helpful: which light-rail train stops closest to your restaurant.
2. Conveniently leaving the price off standard menu items. Dear restaurants: We are all on a budget. (Those who aren't on a budget: Good for you.)
1. Burying the most important information -- address, phone, hours, directions and parking -- on some obscure page, like the one that gives props to your dolt of a website designer. That info should be front and center on the home page.