Web usability--walking the talk

Infoworld has a nice quick article called "What users hate most about Web sites."

Of course to read the article, you have to get past the animated banner ad at the top, animated inset ad on the article, and pop-up it will attempt to open—items number 1 and 4 on the most hated list. As irritating as these regular ads are, I've accepted them as a fact of life on browsing free sites, though I greatly prefer Google's context-sensitive ad words as they've actually been known to be things I'm interested in.

At least none of them were Flash ads, which bring invasiveness to a new level by:

  • Playing sounds
  • Straining the processor (on my old laptop I'd so love to hear the fan kick in to handle an ad)
  • Coming up as an overlay on the article, either with a hidden Close [x] or none at all

For me one of the more interesting points was the closing comment about "right-column blindness." I had in fact completely ignored their right hand column, and when I went back to examine it I realized why. While there are some good related resources there, they're interwoven with sponsored links that are deliberately camouflaged to blend in. Is there any wonder we've learned to disregard this content? There's a limit to how much time I want to spend picking apart the column to make sure I'm clicking through to an article and not an ad.

If you're interested in eye tracking, you can learn more at UXMatters, Eyetrack and from a video in Seth Godin's blog. Steven Krug's excellent Web usability book "Don't Make me Think" also goes into which areas of the screen are warmer and colder.

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