Sunday, April 1, 2007

I wonder what does this button dooo?

Motto (from Cartoon Network ancient wisdom):

Deedee: I wonder what does this button doooo? Can I push it, Dexter, can I, can I?!?!?!
Dexter: No, Deedee, do NOT push that button!

Remember the pop-up advertisements that we all hated? Thanks God (or the popup blockers), they're history now!
But because creativity is a key component of a web developer, another invention invades our browsers: the javascript popup panels with advertisements. The blockers didn't get them, yet! :)

For those who haven't seen them yet, they are panels that open when you enter the page, covering parts of the page content, that show text and/or sounds to get your attention and make you buy whatever they want you to buy. Besides this classic version, there is a new variety of the ad: there is a regular ad panel but when you hover it, it gets laaaaarger and starts making sounds. Of course, this kind of hover-activated panels are 'strategically' placed in the page: you'd have to take a 700 pixels wide ellipse detour to avoid it. But, hey, that's their purpose, to annoy you until you buy!

There is no really big problem actually: they all have a close button, a mute button (not like the stupid beer that made sure all the office knows you read gsp), or whatever annihilation method.

I mean, that's what I thought until a few days ago, when I entered some online newspaper (I don't remember which one) and it popped:
millisecond 1: 'OK, I'll close it!'
millisecond 2: 'oooh, no close button...'
millisecond 2.5: 'oooh, it hasn't loaded yet (it's just a blank panel covering my web page), that's why...'
seconds 1 to 5: the ad's PROGRESS BAR saying: 'Loading, please wait...'
Whaaaaaat? NO, I will NOT wait for you to load an advertisement I don't want to see!!!!

So what do we do know? Should we stop visiting the annoying websites? Is it fair to avoid bad-designed websites or bad-programmed websites? What makes us come back to a website: the content or the design? (I sound like Carrie Bradshaw again!)
The publisher of the information is, frequently enough, not the one that designes/programmes the website. So, by not visiting it anymore, we actually hurt the publisher when it's the developer we should hit.
Of course, the publisher chooses the programmer so if it's stupid, he/she should pay. Yet again, frequently enough, the publisher has no idea about technical stuff, so he/she cannot evaluate properly the work of a programmer (I could bet that the online newspaper had no idea about the fact that a slow internet connection might cause an advertising to load for a few seconds and annoy me (the user)). Doubtless, the programmer will always blame the content if a website isn't visited enough.

So (to make it an awareness raising post): PUBLISHERS from all around the world, hire someone and pay him/her damn well to TEST your website's functionality in all the imaginable and non-imaginable ways because it's your image and your money we're talking about!

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