A little Web rant

A little Web rant

I just need to vent a little bit about new trends in Web site design. What’s with those Snap Preview links? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, thank your lucky stars. They’re a new useless Web technology that throws up a tiny thumbnail preview of whatever web page a particular hyperlink would take you to. I don’t know what the point of them is since the previews are too small to read any of the text and they just get in the way of reading the web page you’re on.

Same with those silly inline advertisement links. Those are the double-underlined hyperlinks in some pages on random words. If your mouse passes over them (not clicking), up pops a usually irrelevant advertisement based on that word.

Another annoyance are self-playing videos, like the one the NASCAR site used to have but apparently got rid of in the re-design or, worse, web-page banner ads that start audio-video playback when your mouse happens to hover over them. Yes, I know that advertisers want us to see and click on their ads, but don’t act like a street urchin in a Third-World country assaulting tourists in the local marketplace: “Hey, Mister, you want nice shiny Rolex watch? Only 10 dollars!” Getting in my face and obstructing my view of what I came to the web page is not going to endear me to whatever you’re hawking. The new UPS “whiteboard” ads are especially annoying since they will load even in the background so you have to find which of 10 open web pages are making all the noise.

The danger here is that the utility of the web will be lost in a mind-numbing barrage of flashing virtual-neon, like trying to read a bulletin board in the midst of Times Square.

Okay, enough ranting on that. Whew!

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  • If it’s what I think it is, you should be able to turn it off in a preferences menu. Maybe not. I’ll ask and post something on it myself.

    I’m afraid it’s worse if you have to learn to code this stuff. In the two years I’ve been studying multimedia and web design, the state of the art in code has gone from HTML 4.01 to XHTML, which means there are now separate files for style sheets (CSS), and NO TABLES! I’m probably going to have to take the 100 level intro class again on audit before I graduate in two years. Oy vey…

  • Not a preference. According to Snap Preview, you have to set your cookies or something. Why should I have to pre-emptively set a cookie—that expires, by the way, and has to be reset every so often—in order to keep out a feature I don’t want. I’d rather web site owners not put the stuff on their pages.

  • This is probably a stupid question, but have you turned your browser’s pop up blocking on and cookies off? Also, if you’re using Internet Explorer, can you use a different browser such as Opera, Flock, or Firefox, which do not respond to ActiveX? That should help clean up a lot of that mind-numbing barrage of flashing virtual-neon.

    I enjoy reading your site too much… I don’t want you upset ^_^.

  • I use Firefox 2.0 on a Mac so ActiveX is not an issue. The Snap Preview is Javascript I believe. And yes, I have the pop-up blocker enabled and don’t get me started on pop-ups that ignore the pop-up blocker. Grr.

  • Weird. Using FF2 on a Mac, you should be immune! I’m using Kubuntu Linux on a PC, and Flock. I went to the UPS world home site, and got no pop ups or strange pages at all, just their basic home page. Was that the right site?

    Only other thing I can think of is <a >Privoxy</a>, which is available for Mac. It is a proxy client which blocks ads pretty well. It’s easy to install.

  • No, Dave, you misunderstand me. It’s not pop-ups that appear on the UPS site. It’s UPS banner ads on other sites that play videos and make noise when your mouse rolls over them.

    And I don’t want to block all ads. I have no problem with web site owners making money through advertising. It’s better than having to pay a subscription and sometimes the ads do show something useful.

    It’s obnoxious ads I don’t like.

  • OK, what I’m saying is that I went to the UPS site and got no banner ads or intrusive videos/noisemakers. I just got a plain, pleasant, page. I’m using Flock (Opera or Firefox work just as well) and Privoxy, and I’ve disabled cookies. The browser will allow cookies from selected sites if you want them, and Privoxy also can be configured to permit ads on selected sites.

  • Dave: You’re not paying to attention to what I’m writing. This has nothing to do with the UPS site. When I go there, I get no banner ads or intrusive videos.

    My problem is with the UPS ads that show up on other sites. Other sites, like Businessweek and MSNBC and Fox News. Other sites.

    Do you get what I’m trying to say here?

  • I’m really not trying to tick you off; just to say I don’t think you have to put up with some of the things you’re complaining about.

    For example, I went to the MSNBC, Fox News, and Businessweek sites: they were pretty quiet for me, no UPS or any other banners, no wave-overs, no nothing. Each, though, had things which had been blocked by Privoxy; I don’t know what they were, but they didn’t bother me any. I visit the Yahoo News site regularly, which is very heavy with objectionable ads, but I have no trouble there except that a lot of their content has been blocked by Privoxy. In all my surfing, I have yet to encounter any banners with automatic videos which begin when the mouse passes over them; actually, I very seldom encounter any banner ads at all. Neither have I experienced any whiteboard ads. Why you and not me?

    As to separating out the obnoxious ads from the acceptable ads… I don’t know any way you can do that reliably. Privoxy (and other ad blockers, I suppose) does allow whitelists, and selecting which cookies you will allow helps, but not very much. Otherwise, it’s either peace and quiet or a “mind-numbing barrage of flashing virtual-neon”.

    I hope this time I addressed what you were talking about.

  • Dave: I didn’t say the self-playing video ads were common, just that they were annoying when encountered.

    I’m still not sure you understood what I was talking about but let’s just leave it.