Search, and you’ll find one ugly website

Search Engine Strategies 07 Toronto front page - 2007-06-07

Next week’s Search Engine Strategies conference in Toronto looks interesting, particularly the keynote by Seth Godin, author of The Dip.

But why is the conference website so utterly awful in its design?

I’m not talking about its SEO performance (which I haven’t checked), but its actual appearance. Some of the worst elements:

  • The floating width front page with its wide centre column makes for very long, hard to read, lines of text.
  • The vertical navigation is blue text on a grey background – but you weren’t interested in reading it, were you?
  • The sponsors’ logos are piled on top of each other with no room to breathe.
  • Even on my spacious 1400 pixel-wide screen I get a horizontal scrollbar.
  • Bizarrely, the bottom 80 per cent of the page is empty. (Maybe that’s where they hide the keywords?) ;-)

I’d recommend the organizers of SES 07 take a look at the site for last week’s Mesh Conference, also in Toronto. It’s a simple site that’s a pleasure to use.

About Neil Sanderson

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, where I manage digital performance for a publishing company. I have also led large content teams at major news organisations. At Toronto-based Eqentia, where I was Chief Curator and Director of Client Services, I used my experience in journalism to help publishers and other businesses to aggregate, organize and republish digital content, using Eqentia’s semantic technology and tools. Before that, I was Assistant Managing Editor at the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper. My responsibilities included editorial strategy and content for,, and – sites that attracted 5.5 million users per month and delivered more than 60 million page views. Before joining the Star, I worked for six years as the founding editor of, the online edition of the New Zealand Herald.
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