13 Pet Peeves That Drive Designers and Developers Crazy

Caitee Smith
6 min readApr 7, 2023

$frustrated = true;
while ($frustrated) {
echo “HELP!”
}

In any profession, you’ll experience minor annoyances regularly. Chefs have to cook for customers who come in at the closing time; photographers have to deal with children who won’t stop crying; secretaries have to work with double bookings; and truck drivers have to put up with bad drivers (well, don’t we all?)

With that being said, we web designers, developers, and programmers have plenty of pet peeves that we have to try not to grit our teeth at daily.

Everything from horribly outdated design trends to coding frustrations to plain old posture issues. Let’s go into more detail.

1. Poorly Indented Code

Nothing drives a coder crazier than poorly formatted code. More specifically: poorly indented code. Everyone has their style of indentation. There’s even an argument about tabs versus spaces (I’m a tabs kind of gal). Some say it’s whatever the IDE (integrated development environment, such as Sublime Text or Dreamweaver) default is. Whatever the case, a lack of proper formatting can make code extremely unorganized and confusing. You don’t know perfection until you see perfectly indented code.

2. Lack of or Bad Comments in Code

“Good code is self-documenting.”

This is a heavily used phrase in the world of development and programming. Using comments in your code ensures organization and clarity. Comments can be used to label a code section or describe how to use a line of code. Comments can also easily be overused. Don’t use a comment when you can use a method or variable. Don’t be redundant with your comments, and only use comments where necessary. Your code should otherwise be all the documentation you need.

3. Crashes and Debugging

Have you ever worked on something for hours, only for it to ultimately not work? When writing code, something as simple as forgetting an end bracket or a semicolon can crash everything you’ve worked on. Trying to find such a minute mistake can take hours of problem-solving.

4. Working With Another Person’s Code

Everyone has their way of doing things. Working with someone else’s process can sometimes be exasperating. Trying to work with code that isn’t yours means getting accustomed to someone else’s code structure and organization. Correcting errors in another person’s code can prove infinitely more difficult than if you were to correct them in your own code.

5. Coding for Multiple and/or Outdated Internet Browsers and OSs

It’s just a part of the game, coding for browsers like an old version of Internet Explorer or keeping up with the new iOS. It’s important to stay up to speed with every browser and OS requirement, whether a brand new or extremely outdated version.

6. Outdated Websites

There’s nothing like landing on a website you’ve never been to before and seeing it’s stuck in 1999. When tables and Flash were the Internet standard, we thought it was cool. But keeping up to date with the ever-evolving web and design standards is crucial. No one likes Flash. Seriously.

7. Aggressive Pop-ups

Ever get to a website that immediately asks you to subscribe to their newsletter? And if your cursor goes anywhere near the close tab button, it asks you AGAIN. This is something that belongs in r/assholedesign. These pop-ups are irritating and can be a huge factor in a visitor never revisiting a website.

8. Autoplay Videos

Anytime I try to read an article on a news website, there is ALWAYS a video that starts to play without me ever permitting it. These kinds of autoplay videos feel both invasive and just plain annoying. Of course, there are appropriate applications for autoplay. Such as a homepage hero video or if you’re watching videos on YouTube.

9. Splash Pages

Splash pages are just another outdated design trend. You click on a link to read an article on Forbes.com, and instead of bringing you to the page, Forbes brings you to a splash page with their “Quote of the Day” and a “continue to site” link. Why? Just why? Content nowadays needs to be easily digestible, not pages of unwanted quotes, before I consume the content I want. For this reason alone, Forbes is a rarely-visited site for me.

10. Poor Font Choices

I’ve made jokes about poor font choices before, such as Papyrus in my blog post “Better Off Dead: 10 Outdated Web Design Trends We’re Happy to Forget.” Font choice says a lot about your design philosophy, whether using something as simple and elegant as Roboto or making a joke of yourself using Comic Sans. Make the right choice.

11. Generic Stock Photography

There are times and places for generic stock photographs, generally only in textbooks. There’s a very good chance you’ve seen some of the same stock photography in various places. It looks cheap, unoriginal, uncreative, and uninspired. With the stock resources we have today, such as on Adobe Stock or Unsplash, there’s no reason to stay inside the realm of generic stock. If you want to take it a step further, check out r/wtfstockphotos.

12. Multiple Revisions

Of course, when coding and/or designing for a client, there will always be one or two revisions. A color tweak here or a rearrangement of content is totally normal. But when you get your 8th email asking for a revision, you must stop your hand from twitching to pull your hair out.

13. Sitting All Day

This applies to any job behind a desk, especially to those who write code. Coders can spend hours writing hundreds of lines of code and not want to get up and distract themselves from their focus. This can lead to back pain and poor posture. Really, all desk-sitters should just hang out on an exercise ball or invest in a standing desk.

At the end of the day, pet peeves are just minor annoyances you forget about the second you get home to your couch. Nevertheless, they’re something everyone has to put up with day in and day out. Hopefully, most of you with these experiences have a good way to mediate them or at least have a good stress ball at your desk.

  • Can you relate to any of these pet peeves, whether or not you’re in design or development?
  • What else would you add to this list of pet peeves?
  • What are your opinions on the conventional office chair versus exercise balls or standing desks?

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Caitee Smith

I write about everything from web development to digital marketing. I'm a creative Front End Developer, Wedding Photographer, CIS Student, and ADK hiker.