back to article ISP redesign unites the web in nausea

Internet service provider Be There has redesigned its home page in a way guaranteed to get it talked about. The site is absolutely hideous. But worse, several Reg readers were presented with other people's account details when they first logged in. Customers could see other customers' addresses and phone numbers but payment …


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  1. A 28


    Ok I'm going to say it: The new web site is quite nice. A brave choice and not to every bodies taste but I like it.

  2. Steven 23


    It looks like someone let a 5 year old loose with a set square and a bunch of highlighters.

  3. Terry Pears

    Bad attempt at looking retro

    Also, the colour 'scheme' brings back memories of old games using CGA graphics, bluerghhh... that was headache inducing enough (added to the dodgy CRT monitors that had your local opticians rubbing their hands with glee).

    Also a quick search on Brand Republic ( shows that they're after a new design agency to handle their integrated account (which may include the site, I'm not sure) and as quoted "The company has selected three agencies to pitch for the business. The incumbent, My Agency, was not invited to defend the account.". Coincidence, shurely not?

  4. DZ-Jay


    Can anybody provide screen captures? The site is currently down and I would like to experience its mind-melting uglyness first hand.


  5. Bilgepipe

    Sounds Great

    Can't see it, certificate borked.

    Oh, and anyone still using IE6 is a moron.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Epic fail

    Oh deary me! They did find the site I designed some 15 years ago and well... took the worst parts only!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Just took a look at it for the first time; all that's missing are little anumated gifs of workmen digging with the words "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" in large yellow and black striped letters!

  8. Myst
    Thumb Up

    Seen the personalise...

    .. bit on the left hand side?

    I personally like the one with the pink baloons!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cyan, yellow and magenta!

    Be: the ISP for Sinclair Spectrum.

    Nearly forgot: <vomits>

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone in print design...

    ...has done this. Classic CMYK colour 'scheme'.

    Well, when I say 'design', there's certainly no intelligence behind it. Maybe it was done by the people that did the 2012 Olympics logo.

  11. breakfast Silver badge

    90s Retro

    I rather like that look, reminds me a bit of NTK or something.

    Not something that would appeal to everyone I guess, but it doesn't cause me pain. Also, who actually looks at their ISP homepage more than once or twice a year?

  12. Tom 13

    And the Epic Fail continues, although I have apparently been spared my eyes...

    I get: uses an invalid security certificate.

    The certificate is not trusted because the issuer certificate is unknown.

    (Error code: sec_error_unknown_issuer)

    And Firefox does not display the site. Oh well, I would only have been a gawker anyway.

  13. Anonymous Bastard

    MS Paint

    Title says it all.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    I thought I'd lost my mind ...

    I too followed their email link and thought I must have ingested some funny mushrooms in the quiche I'd just eaten.

    Is it a clever joke? I thought. Has it been hacked? But no, this was meant to be genuine. What a genius must have came up with this!

    Anyhow, not only did it look grotesque it didn't even work (you waited 15 minutes when you clicked on a link to be taken there -- if it felt like it).

    You couldn't have made it up. I'm off to see if they have done anything more acceptable and if they haven't I'm canceling my account.

  15. Paul Leighton


    I'm with BE and although the connection is rock solid and fast, highly rate that! I've never been happy with their support.

    I received the email from them last night to look at the 'new site' and promptly replied to ask if its a joke? 'my first website' springs to mind...

  16. Greg J Preece

    My eyes! MY EYES!

    Dear sweet mother of God! MY EEEEYYYEESSS....

    I can't draw a straight line with a diamond-edged ruler and a laser-guided light pen but even I could do better than that monstrosity.

  17. demat
    Thumb Down

    I thought it was a joke...

    ... because phishing sites at least attempt to look like their targets.

    I truly hope Be isn't at the vangard of a new wave of pants websites but the recent Channel4 redesign suggests otherwise...

  18. The Metal Cod


    As a child of the seventies I have seen some truly nausea inducing sights. Even so this redesign has given me a headache and made me feel sick.

    Needs a bucket icon or a person vomiting icon

  19. Anonymous Coward


    Okay, so the old, pink monstrosity was, well, a monstrosity... but this is a leap backwards, not forwards.

    The email they sent me announcing this 'makeover' says:

    "Since then we have seen the dawn of Web 2.0 and Social Media, and to be frank we haven't done much about it. In particular the one area that hasn't changed much has been our website, so we've taken the liberty to make it much better."

    Aside from the fact I can change my own background (whoop!) I really don't see '2.0' in this... in fact, it's barely 1.0 and reminds me of something that might have squeezed down through my 14.4 modem in days gone by.

    Perhaps the new member centre will be where the goodies are hiding... but who knows, it's still down whilst they figure out what they did to the security.

    Oh, and if you think this new design is 'quite nice' perhaps you should try setting the background to the 'jirobevis' option. Sweet cheeses!!!!!!

  20. Dale 3

    Not so bad

    Doesn't seem too bad to me. Maybe they fixed it already?

  21. Jerome 0

    Not so bad

    The design isn't what I'd choose, but it's not so bad really. I can see the effect they're aiming for, and it pretty much works. I can understand why some people would dislike it, but the universal hatred seems odd.

    The SSL certs, account mix-ups and failure to validate are unforgivable of course, and should be fixed ASAP. But as for not rendering in IE6 - good on you! Point me to the dev who made that decision and I'll buy him/her a pint.

  22. Nic Brough 1

    oooh yuk

    Does anyone know who designed it? I need to update my blacklists...

  23. Ian Davies

    "Doesn't work on IE6"

    so... not all bad then?

  24. Tom 32

    Firefox says no.

    "This Connection is Untrusted."

    Awww :(

  25. Anonymous Coward


    I sent this in earlier but I'm not sure if El Reg will post it. So for anyone who hasn't see it.

    enjoy ;)

    (PS I didn't create the 'boarder', it was another Be* user)

  26. Martin 47

    no worse

    than the reg redesign

    actually it is, a lot worse!!

  27. David Harper 1


    Who knew that HTML had a <puke> tag?

  28. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Down

    Off with their heads !

    That is just nasty, aliased text, bad layout and the large FF warning saying the site cannot be trusted.

    It's not a bold design choice it's a lack of design choice, yikes they need to join us all in the 21st century not go back to the mid nineties.

    They just put me off leaving Virgin and joining BE Well done guys.

    Who commisioned this ? Off with their heads !

  29. Colin 21

    Untrusted Connection

    Anyone with Firefox will have to get past the Untrusted Connection screen first - looks like someone at Be made a mess of the SSL cert.

  30. TimothyB

    SSL certificate?

    Quite aside from the "interesting" design, I had to add an SSL exception in FF to access the site. Not really terribly professional looking when your users get a nasty warning when they try to access your site.

  31. James


    Perhaps the singular most visually offensive example of web-design work I've ever seen, unless you count the stuff I did when I was 10. Actually, nope, wait, that was better.

  32. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!

    the glasses!

    they do nothing!

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Get the burning torches and the pitchforks!

    It was Dave ( what done it. One of their employees turned up on the Be* forums and promptly got the flaming of his life.

    I have never seen anything quite like it; the posts on the Be* forums are 100% negative; it is open revolt down there.

  34. Aaron Em


    Sure wish I could hit the sauce like that while I'm working.

    Also, screencap: -- that's with stock Firefox 3.5, no special whatsits or widgets, no Flashblock or Adblock or NoScript or what-have-you. Ugly as sin, ain't it?

  35. jubtastic1


    That's pretty funny, a shining example of what happens when the client overrules the designer.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Goes back to the start of the interwebs

    I think I remember seeing this back in 1993 or so. I suppose it does prove that MS Word can be used to design web pages. Sorta.

    Paris, 'cause she looks hot in any year.

  37. Sir Sham Cad

    I can sort of see the idea

    An attempt to invoke the fuzzy feeling of the "good old days" when all this was still wild and novel. When UK WiReD mag was not quite as shit as it seems now. To tap into that nostalgic goodwill.

    The actual effect, however, is "Ow! Holy fuck, my eyes! I'm blind!"

    #00FFFF, especially that much of it, should be against the Geneva Convention.

  38. jameswe333

    Be site not My Agency work


    I work for My Agency and just wanted to clarify that the new Be site is nothing to do with us. We are continuing to work with O2 on but not Be Broadband. We wish them well with future endeavours.

    James Easterbrook

    Client Services Director

    My Agency

  39. Andy ORourke

    Why so slow?

    I know I am disadvantaged, sat behind a corporate firewall using IE6 (FFS) but given the "minimal" design on the home page it took a loooooooong time to open the link!

  40. Joe Harrison

    I quite like it

    Why all the hating? It's a bit bright but hardly tripod / geocities

  41. Mr Fury

    Ze goggles! Zey do nozzing!

    Wow. Just needs some animated GIFs of something in 3D, a frameset and 120k picture of some middle-aged couple on a beach and we're right back to the days of IE4. They might as well have hosted it on one of those crappy old free hosting sites you used to get, just to really get in the vogue of the time.

    Plus I had to temporarily add an exception for their SSL cert - now that's just added class!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, Be!

    The 90s called. They want their website back.

    Seriously though, it looks hideous. I've heard Be are a good ISP but I wouldn't touch them with a fifty foot bargepole with that website. Could you honestly recommend a friend to join them when you know they're going to be confronted by that monstrosity?

  43. frymaster

    I quite like the design...

    "Ok I'm going to say it: The new web site is quite nice. A brave choice and not to every bodies taste but I like it"

    I think it looks quite nice, however:

    1. It displayed other people's details

    2. It's a NEW site, they specifically say they DON'T support ie6... and it's not valid html. No excuse

    btw for me the certificate worked when I checked...

    (if you _really_ want to see it looking hideous, change backgrounds from the drop-down box...)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    all it needs

    All it needs is the "ants" effect and some blinking text and it would be bang on there. I was only talking about frontpage the other day, we thought nobody would be using it lololololololol.

  45. EvilGav 1

    Not sure . . .

    . . . the site requires the ire it's receiving.

    Yes, the colours could be toned down, but the actual site layout is reasonably clean and tidy and everything is readable.

    In comparison to many of the abortions that are around (so many trying desperately to look like StalkerBook it's getting silly), it's not that bad.

  46. Mage Silver badge

    Protect the plants

    I'm using printouts around the garden to kill slugs.

    Was it designed with a Corona Typewriter, sticky notes, glue and a colour photocopier?

  47. Rob 101

    I could not even log in. And...... Eeeeeew.

    I tried the once and Firefox (3.5.12) critted out with an unexplained failure.

    My colleague had tried to log in and was presented by nothing but back end errors.

    When I first saw it I thought the look was just because they had got the content working first and would dress it up later but given that it blatently doesn't work either...

    If anyone out there is a software tester who needs work due to the recession thingy BE is a company badly in need of some.

  48. Dale Richards
    Dead Vulture

    Yep, it's nasty...

    The site looks terrible, but Be's still a great ISP, so I'll forgive them!

    I still haven't forgiven El Reg for the fixed width atrocity that passes for their new design though. Fuck you!

  49. Rob Beard

    I know what it's missing...

    ...a few sparkly LOL animated gifs and maybe a rotating e-mail/@ image in garish colours, oh and a dancing baby too, every page like this needs a dancing baby.

    Absolutely god awful site, can't think what was wrong with their old one and why they needed to change to this one...


  50. The Indomitable Gall


    That looks like a BBC.. BE!

    Now all it needs is classic space trading sim Elite and they've got a new customer!

  51. max allan

    Looks OK to me.

    The front page has all the information I want to see from an ISP, basically the price per month. A few useful links for potential and current customers.

    I logged in to the members area and got my own details back. The forums and member areas have always been shocking pink.

    Who ever goes to their ISP's "home" page anyway? I go on the net to find other stuff.

    Compare it with Tiscali for example, there are no animated news feeds, no links for fashion advice or holidays, no high bandwidth images of words... I don't want any of that and I REALLY hate jpgs with text in. Totally unneccessary.

    In short, I like it.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Count yourselves lucky..

    They could have employed this guy to design the web site:

    If you're lost for words, the phrase you're looking for is either "AIEEEE!" or "my eyes!".

    Also, did you see the old website? I think I prefer this to all the shiny gradient pink, lack of validation, borked certs and data leaks aside..

  53. the spectacularly refined chap

    I thought design by five year olds...

    ... was the done thing nowadays. How else do you explain the Windows XP interface?

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yes, and you probably consider yourselves to be "Well Mexico". Oh and don't get me started on the all caps thing. Bloody idiots.

  55. Richard IV
    Big Brother

    Wot, no comic sans or background midi tune?

    I don't think I've seen so much magenta since porn sites abandoned it in the late 90s.

    The site mightn't support IE 6 but I suspect it works with Netscape 2.

    Looks like the SSL thing is a haven't put the certificates on all the cluster issue. Professional, I didn't know you could cluster C64s!

  56. Matt.Smart

    Dear God!

    I think I've just been a little bit sick.

  57. Serum

    Not impressed!

    My first thought was 'this has to be a joke...', closely followed by 'hey, isn't that the site I designed back in primary school all those years ago?' and finally 'oh dear god...I recommended this company to my mother...I hope she doesn't see this monstrosity!'

    It's hideous, childish and honestly...I could have done better for half what they probably paid! But then, so could my five year old niece. Visuals aside though...the fact that there are so many problems with it is inexcusable...incorrect user details displayed? Wrong details for SSL certificate? Not compatible with all browsers? Had my first website had these issues, I'd have received a resounding 'F' for my efforts. That's what the TESTING section of web design is about!

    Get it sorted, Be, otherwise I'm going to start looking into a career in web design.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    @DZ_Jay - Screenshots

    I think I may still have a copy of the home page sitting in a FF tab on the machine at home.

    I'll save a copy of the page for posterity when I get home.

    I have to say, I got the infamous re-relanch email yesterday and swiftly after experienced a full blown W.T.F??? moment when I pulled up site and genuinely thought I'd gone to the wrong site...

    I can't help wondering if they outsourced the site re-design job to the idiots responsible for the London 2012 logo abomination.

  59. SnowCrash

    Review Fail

    Gotta wonder if they even looked at the website really.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Christ on a bike

    Is that font....courier!?

  61. Anonymous Coward

    hmmmm yummy screen......

    if your still using a CGA graphics card and monitor.

  62. Lord Baphomet


    They're my ISP and now I'm ashamed and won't recommend them to anyone lest I be judged by their appearance. I wear Armani and Gucci for Christ's sake -- what are my friends going to think if they see that monstrosity?


    I'd like to know who the consultancy was who designed this: so that I can ensure that I never work with them. I've worked with some shocking web-designers in the past, but none of them were quite this bad (except, maybe, for a bunch of compete tw*ts from Fashion Street, E1, who I won't name).


  63. Someone

    Ryanair web designer gets retinopathy, moves to Be?

    The old website was very swish – money had been spent. Be are now claiming the new one was a very bad design choice, rather than the result of penny pinching. Therefore, I don’t get the use of a ‘cheap’ SSL certificate that requires Firefox users to manually download the CA cert.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fcuk me that's nasty

    Has anyone seen how it actually gets *worse* when you use the [Personalise] drop-down?

  65. JCL
    Thumb Down

    Jet Set Willy

    Deary me, there's going to have to be a whole lot of whalesong on this one.

  66. Anonymous Coward

    It's a great design

    well I think it's a great new design - and no I don't work for the Dave brand agency :p If you want swish and corporate try their stablemate

  67. John Robinson (too)

    Bleeding eyes

    "be - the ISP that makes your eyes bleed". A nice chap on the Be forums has whipped up a new brand logo for Be (and granted permission for it to be linked to more widely), see here:

  68. CapitalW

    A bit of advice to BE:

    Do your own site design; letting your competition do it isn't doing your image much good...

  69. Absent
    Big Brother


    Sorta looks like a CSS version of a BBS. Keeping that in mind, with a bit of tweaking it could look kinda cool in a retro geeky way.

  70. iamzippy
    Thumb Down

    WTF is a 'root' element in XHTML 1.0 Strict?

    This is so bad, you couldn't make it up. Except someone did...

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The O2 stratagem

    Surely the point is to make people not want to touch Be with a barge pole because of leaking customer data, broken SSL and a website that lacks affiliation with the "Arthur Dailey Group of Companies", and have everyone go to O2 instead before eventually getting rid of be all together?

    Why does this company waste money offering the same connection under two brands anyway?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    the idiots are winning

    My god, I really hate

    This presentation on their website really makes me want to break something. Preferably something called Dave.

    sample text:






    Also, the above presentation contains some rather basic spelling and grammar errors, which hardly seem to add to the professional image.

    Maybe these things don't really matter in 2.0 land. Did the idiots win already, perhaps while I was sleeping? they certainly seem to be keeping in work.

  73. Paul RND*1000


    Top marks for at least keeping it readable and uncluttered, I'll admit. I'd rather have ugly and functional versus pretty but unusable. But then I *am* a child of the 8-bit era.

    Still, it doesn't really convey an image that says "we are professional". Looks more like "we're tightwads and so we got the neighbour's teenaged son who knows about computers to do it for a fiver".

    It's not hard to keep a clean layout like this but make it look even just a wee bit better, you know.

  74. Anonymous Coward

    I can't help but think...

    There's a link somewhere on there to a page titled "My collection of animated GIFs"... takes me back to my youth.

  75. Bill Murty

    I knew he was up to something.

    David Blunkett hasn't been in the papers lately.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that bad

    At least they aren't using flash for EVERY SINGLE BUTTON like some sites.

  77. Anonymous Coward

    colour blind

    did they get someone colourblind to test it? Pink is a bad colour to use.

    As for the layout - It looks like a sketch on the back of a napkin in whatever restaurant the designers lunched the MD under the table. The colour scheme looks like it too - I'm guessing they used a couple of the free crayons they give you for the kids. But frankly my kids could have made a more professional design on the inside of a burger box using nothing but ketchup and donut cream, so the restaurant should ask for the crayons back.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pictures tell the story

    Found this bunch of pics of Be staff visiting the Dave agency:

    Remember kids - Alcohol and website design do not mix!

  79. Anonymous Coward

    From a Be subscriber ...

    Words fail me as to the holocaust that is the Be homepage.

    I was in the group that was consulted about the change and I, along with a couple of others vehemently opposed those design changes back then and still do today. Yet here we are, despite the misgivings and counter-arguments, we were ignored by all the so-called web designeers and advocates in the group who were basically yes men and women.

    Hang your head in shame Be.

  80. Chris J
    Thumb Up

    Looks good to me

    I actually really like this design. Courier is underrated. Minimalist is underrated.

    All the info is there and it looks different, not JustAnotherWebsite.

  81. Dick Emery

    I came. I saw.


  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, takes me back.....

    Reminds me of the good old days, programming a BBC micro in Mode 2 Graphics, where you had a massive 7 colours, Magenta and Cyan being the two of them that have been most noticeably sprayed over that monstrosity.

    I'm only slightly disappointed they didn't use the Magenta/Cyan flicker/strobe colour that the BBC had. Then they'd have made it truly barf inducing.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Be is a good ISP!

    This is obviously O2 trying to drive Be off a cliff because Be offers the kind of no-nonsense internet connection that predatory UK IT firms are desperately afraid of. Where else do you find an ISP that offers uncapped traffic and no obscene minimum contract period?

  84. Steven Mileham

    Running Liferay

    I love seeing lot's of fairly big sites are being powered by Liferay at the moment (O2 are using it too) It's just a shame that this one is so damn ugly!

  85. Ben Norris


    The funniest thing is that they probably paid shedloads for that to be 'designed'

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...instead of being a terrible site, it's a brilliant marketing idea? How much publicity are BE getting at the minute. I wonder if there's another site been developed too, that will replace this one once they've had enough publicity?

  87. pctechxp

    I wear my sunglasses at night.....

    So I can So I can keep the dayglo webshit from my eyes.

    (apologies to Tiga and Zyntherius, the actual track is very good)

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @AC "it's a brilliant marketing idea"

    Oh yes, they used the old 'expose your confidential customer data to random people and leave them open to fraud or abuse without saying sorry and focusing purely on the aesthetics of it as a damage limitation method' trick to endear themselves to the punters...

    If this story was about Barclay's Bank botching their website so that customers could see each others details when they logged in and were unable to see their own account, no one would be suggesting it was clever mind games from the 'brilliant' marketing people, other than conspiracy theorists and company spin doctors.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... are OK actually- I remember them when they rebranded Energis, where I was working at the time.

    I rather suspect that Be provoked Dave into something a bit too Shoreditch with endless demands to "cool it up".

    (Shit, did I just defend a marketing agency?)

  90. Neil Young


    Isn't a redesign supposed to be better than what went before?

    I'm not a fan of pink (the colour, the singer is a different story altogether) but I did like the old site a lot better then the new one.

    The colours are wrong, Courier New is wrong, the custom backgrounds are crimes against humanity.

    I suppose I'm guessing they had a look at's site with its very own overdose of pink (the colour, you won't find the singer on her Artist Radio, but then when is an artist on their own Artist Radio at and decided to be different.

  91. Anonymous Coward

    The designer...

    is called Felix! However, I think he may work for Be directly.

    I think Felix is cool, he loves to play with highlighters like me! Only, I keep my shitty designs in my notebook.

  92. Anonymous Coward


    Did they intentionally try to make it as ugly as possible?

  93. Witty username
    Thumb Up

    Its channel 4!

    IMHO of course, but its very similar to the Ch4 homepage.

    Also, doesnt work in IE6? good!

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