6 min read

15 Frightening Red Flags in Web Development

As Halloween approaches, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the things that spook developers in their practice. We’ve put together a list of the thing’s developers consider a frightening red flag in web development:

1. "The product we're building must support Internet Explorer 9"

Have you met a developer that loves Internet Explorer? Unlikely. There's nothing more irritating than having to write extra code to make it look the same as every other browser. 

2. "Don't remove this line, we don't know what it does but the app breaks without it"

This one is self-explanatory!

3. Horizontal scroll

This one isn't even a big deal, it's just one of those small infuriating things that interrupts the flow of your work. Not ideal!

4. A website's favicon is the bog-standard WordPress logo

There's nothing wrong with having a WordPress site, the issue is the poorly coded and maintained plugins that come with it...

5. Buttons that say "Click Here" on them

It's like telling someone to stop and read a stop sign, pointless!

6. Images with constrained proportions

Images that have limited sizes are no best friend to a developer, very often it just makes life a bit difficult. However, sometimes it can pay off!

7. Huge image file sizes on a webpage

It's very frustrating when people upload an image onto a webpage that's full quality, the file size is so large it takes a little longer to load. Please compress your images, for your site's sake!

8. "Your connection is not private"

This one is a classic. Do you think I'm going to check out your site after I see this warning? No chance! It's the 21st century, please sort your SSL out!

9. Websites that are running a painfully old, outdated CMS and insist on not upgrading

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Often, they won't upgrade because they've made changes to the core CMS files, but the numerous security patches they've missed out on over the past 5 years aren't a concern. 

10. Useless error messages

It doesn't matter what technology or language you use, developers always come across generic useless error messages. They're very time consuming when it comes to debugging and often it leaves developers with no starting point. 

11. Names that don't represent what a function, class or variable is for

This can make the code difficult to follow very quickly and can become misleading. 

12. "How long is this going to take?"

Top tip: don't ask a developer this question if they don't have the full details

Pro tip: don't ask a developer this question if they don't have the full details and take their estimate as an accurate time frame

13. A non-technical person saying "it's just a small change"

Developers can find this quite irritating as often it can end up in adding new / changing new tests and half the code. And more often or not, it'll be too complex to even explain why it isn't just a small change. 

14. "It works on my machine"

This is a rite of passage for every developer. What makes this difficult is trying to find out what's wrong if there's even an issue. This often happens when you release local code to a server!

15. Merge conflicts

Those risky merge conflicts can take up a long time and sometimes even break the build. Sadly, every developer will come across these!


To summarise, there are a lot of things that can get under developer’s skin. But every job has good and bad points, often, developers just want to be left alone to code and get on with the job. But most are happy to be in a job that is also very rewarding when complete.