The internet is permeated with thousands of “to do” lists. In fact, if you are an author or publisher in the electronic realm you can get so caught up in completing your “to do” list that you never actually get to do much writing and publishing.
So, as I have a propensity for
being a jerk reverse engineering, I’ve put together a little “to don’t” list to help nudge us all back on our chosen paths.
1. To-Don’t: Build self opening pop ups into your site.
Pop ups are annoying. Not only are they annoying, they keep me from the reason I came to your site in the first place, to read YOUR content. In addition, they slow down my computer and negatively impact its performance. Consider the bad experiences many of us have had with pop ups (installing files without permission, harvesting personal information….) before choosing to include them.
2. To-Don’t: Build pop unders into your site.
Same reasons as above, plus a few others. Much of the pop under stuff that displays as we leave a site has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the site we are viewing. In addition Netscape can kick you all the way out of your access if it gets too busy blocking pop unders. Then you have to relaunch, and start all over searching for your site.
3. To-Don’t: Use widgets that only work with specific browsers.
I may not be using the same browser as you. On the other hand Netvibes promises their widgets are compatible across platforms. So, if you are interested in that I think it is called the “Universal Widget API.” Still, this is just for Netvibes widgets and its designed for developers not customer ease of use.
4. To-Don’t: Build in a lot of self starting video.
Automatic streaming video is cool, once. But, making it a standard on your site will cause a lot of folks to avoid you. It’s kind of like walking up to a stranger and saying, “I’d like to you feel comfortable and relaxed so I’m going to talk to you about your imortal soul, it’s impending damnation and your only chance for salvation, Jesus Christ.” See what I mean? My ideas of appropriate might not be the same as yours. And (yes, I know it’s bad to start a sentence with and) if I’m checking you out on my lunch millisecond I don’t have time to watch a video.
5. To-Don’t: Build in self starting audio.
For the same reasons as number four plus, I may not want everyone in my office to know whose site I go to for information or my taste in music…”Whatcha gonna do when I benda block, pull up onat ____ with a bran-new drop….Gota get up oooon nat booty….” See what I mean? You may not find that track quite as kickin as I do.
6. To-Don’t: Automatically download a pdf when I access your site.
Let me choose. Feel free to promote the brains out of it but let me make the final choice about the down load. Some firewall configurations shut the browser down when unauthorized launches begin. If I haven’t book marked your site before this happens, I may not be able to find you again.
7. To-Don’t: Bury the lead.
Tell me up front what the article is about.
If I’m using a feed reader I may only get the first couple of sentences of your article. If you haven’t laid your hook by then, I might not read the whole article.
8. To-Don’t: Offer the option to comment if you aren’t going to respond.
This really should be a no brainer. If you offer the option to comment you are encouraging dialog. If you don’t respond to the comments your disallowing that dialog. Plus, it’s just rude.
9. To-Don’t: Make it hard to find your profile.
I like to know about the people I look to for information. Plus, I’m going to google you anyway.
10. To-Don’t: List someone else’s link without telling me what is worthwhile about it.
List as many links as you find of value, but tell me why they are of value. Leave the mass listing of links to Craig. Of course if you are Craig or your trying to become Craig by selling link space on your site, go for it. Otherwise, be a good friend and share your referrals with an accompanying recommendation.
Very well my kind and gentle reader, those of my Top 10 To-Don’t List Items. What are yours?
Reg Adkins writes on behavior and the human experience at Elemental Truths.