Intentionally Useless Websites

November 9th, 2020

I like things that are weird, offbeat, and a little eccentric. Lately, I've been watching a lot of At Home with Amy Sedaris and getting back into bizarro fiction (currently reading Carlton Mellick's Stacking Doll).

Because I'm going through a weird phase right now and I'm also feeling very productive (headed toward a crash any day now...), I came up with an idea:

I want to make some toy websites using whatever language/framework strikes my fancy, and I want them to be weird. Specifically:

  • I don't care if they look good. I might make an intentionally garbage-looking site for fun.
  • I want to make sites that are user hostile. Absolute gibberish. They work, but make no sense.
  • If the site isn't ugly or hostile, it should be as useless as possible.

However, these useless, nonsense websites have to be well-made. They might have no styling, or too much styling, or spit out gibberish, but the code has to be solid. They should also be consistent.

Basically, I want to work on the skills behind the sites without worrying if anybody is going to like them, because they shouldn't. But I will like making them, and that's the entire point.

I've already finished one useless website last weekend. Jvxvcrqvn grabs a random Wikipedia entry and enciphers it in ROT13. The entire site is in ROT13, so it's hostile from the get-go. You can either take the time to decode everything, or just start clicking buttons. I created it in Rust, which I'm currently learning for no real reason, and I decided to go full hard mode on it by server-side rendering everything. I plan to do a full write-up of that project soon.

Update: I've written about creating Jvxvcrqvn here.

I have ideas for some other useless sites, like:

  • A page full of random buttons that takes you down all sorts of weird rabbit holes.
  • A timer that randomly goes forwards and backwards in time.
  • FCKedEditor - A text editor that starts replacing text with random Unicode characters the more you type. I'm very excited for this one.

Some nonsense websites that inspire me:

  • lingscars.com, one of the best eye-melting, brain-assaulting sites.
  • jodi.org, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I don't even know if it's safe.
  • User Inyerface, created to be as frustrating as possible, using every anti-pattern.

If you liked this post, why not follow me on Twitter for more of my nonsense? Or follow my projects on Github.