Posted by: brian | August 22, 2007

Mystery meat navigation

You might be familiar with the site Web Pages That Suck. It was put together by webguy Vincent Flanders shortly after the web became world-wide, and his goal is to encourage good website design by highlighting bad website design. One pervasive offense in web design is called mystery meat navigation (MMN).

[Sidebar: If the site is run by Vincent Flanders, can’t he just tell us what MMN is? Why the pretense of “Wikipedia says…”? I don’t walk around saying, “According to a predefined subset of the population, I like dogs,” when I can just say, “I like dogs.” It seems like unnecessary horn-tooting. It also seems like the kind of thing one might read about on Language Log….]

Every once in a while, as I blunder around the internet, I stumble across wonderful examples of MMN. This site is the “best” example I’ve seen in a long time. See that 3×6 block of fleurs-de-lis? Those are links. Where do they go? Who knows! They might point to a recipe for brownies, or to a government anti-drug site, or a wikipedia entry for Cody Rhodes. Or, most of them might point to the page itself (Hint: they do).



  1. While I like the shout out, I must ask, what the heck are you doing on that crazy fleur de lis website anyhow?

  2. Ya know, I wondered if anyone would point that out… I don’t remember exactly what path led me there. Oftentimes I think the best way to describe my web browsing is something along the lines of “like a blind man at a Wal-Mart (but a Wal-Mart where everything is in identical packages).” Did I just grab toothpaste or tomato soup? Is that a box of tampons in the cart? Who knows! It might just as easily be chili powder, or a tank top, or a box of nails, or a lawn mower.

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