Terrible Trends

Web design goes through trends. Web development goes through trends. It happens. We find something that works, or we see something we like, and it gets copied and propragated around the web. I’ve lamented some practices such as scroll-jacking, and commented about how ineffective carousels can be. I’ve never done the former, the latter… way too many times. But there are recent trends centered around trying to get a visitors information, interaction, or increasing ad impressions that have become downright frustrating. I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I’m to the point that if a site employs one of the following “trends”, I will leave immediately and not come back.

Auto-playing ads

We’ve all visited sites and suddenly realized there’s audio blaring from somewhere on the site. Most often this is coming from an ad that is playing. What makes it worse, some sites bury the location of the video near the bottom of the page. There are some that won’t even allow you to mute or pause the video, instead requiring the visitor to mute their system sound.

Door Slams

This technique typically involves an overlay that covers the content I actually want to view. It’s usually a box asking me to “subscribe to our newsletter”, or “connect with us on social media”, or “learn more about this random product” (you will be redirected in 9 seconds).

Rolling Stones Door Slam
You haven't visted our site in years, but sign up for our newsletter anyway!

The real shame is that quite often I’m visiting the site because I’m actually interested in the content they’re preventing me from viewing. Oh well. I guess I’ll find a different source if I can. For further reading on this topic, see Brad Frost, Andy Beaumont, and Tab Closed, Didn’t Read.

Multi-page lists

This may be the most common of the three that I now refuse to play along with. In these cases, a site will take a simple list of often interesting content, and rather than presenting it on a single page that’s easy to scroll through, they’ll split it up onto ten pages forcing the visitor to click through each item.

Previous and Next Arrows
Please give us 15 times the the ad impressions than we deserve!

While this is great for the site (more page views == more ad impressions), it’s a distraction and inconvenience for the visitor. The fact is, scrolling is easier than clicking. So even if it’s a great list, I’m not going to play along.

I’m just a grumpy old man

Are any of these REALLY that much of an inconvenience? Am I perhaps being a bit overdramatic? Sure. What’s the big deal right? Just click the “X”! I’ve just gotten to the point where I won’t give my time, attention, clicks, or pageviews to sites that think hijacking the user experience is ok. An no, I don’t want to hear the argument that without these techniques the sites will go out of business. The internet has survived this long without them, it can do so again.