Dear Websites: Please Stop Using Interstitials, Popups, and Fix Your Bad Code

Dear Websites:

I’ve run across a few websites and blogs recently running interstitials (the modern term for “popup windows that overlay not pop) and a variety of scripts and bad code that cause browser errors.

Please stop this.

The reasons are many, but here are a few.

  1. We hate them.
  2. Interstitials require effort on our part to close which is not a good first impression.
  3. Interstitials work on the clueless not influencers, so check your stats to see if these are really turning into conversions or annoyance.
  4. Browser errors popup warnings in our faces, which is ridiculous in this day and age when it is easy to fix all these and prevent them.
  5. Update your site’s code regularly, for our sake but mostly your own, especially for security reasons. It makes us think bad things when your site is so out of date our browser warns us.
  6. If your site is out of date in look, feel, and functionality, what do you think that says about your content, purpose, and business?

Thank you for updating your sites and fixing all errors today.

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear TED, Don’t Force Yourself Upon Us

Dear Ted:

When it comes to changing the world, few do so more than TED videos. Your tag line, ideas worth spreading, is a humble way of describing the power and influence of your presentations by amazing people.

However, when it comes to presenting your videos, please help improve the world by making your videos not play automatically.

I will often cruise through and open several tabs of TED videos in my browser, then life will charge back in and I’ll have to feed the cats, take a phone call, pay bills, and respond to the mundane life a tech nag leads. If perchance I have to close and restart my browser for a million different reasons, I have to plow through fifty or more tabs to find which ones have the TED videos on to stop them from playing. I’ll suddenly have 3 to 7 voices all talking at me and the video downloads will slow down my computer and browser, not to mention my horrible Internet connection.

While I’m not sure it’s a web standard yet, it is should be. Either way, TED, you exist to change the world. Please set an example for all to follow and give us our control back. Allow us to press PLAY to lose ourselves in the wisdom of others and don’t force yourselves upon us.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear WordPress, Please Fix the Comments Feed Icon

Dear WordPress:

Please fix the comments feed icon.

WordPress feed icons - can you tell which one is posts and which is comments?

Currently, if a WordPress or WordPress.com users chooses to showcase their feed links on their WordPress blog, it shows the same RSS symbol for both feeds: posts and comments. If the user chooses to only show the icon, there is nothing to inform the reader that there is a difference between the two feeds.

While we can choose to use the icon and text, why force us to clutter up simple common icons with both.

Please change the comments feed icon to indicate it’s the feed for comments on the blog.

I’ve included an example to inspire you, but I know Matt Thomas or the WordPress Community can come up with something more stylized.

Suggestion for adding a common icon to the comments feed icon for WordPress

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear Skype, Please Stop Crashing My Browser

Dear Skype:

I’ve put up with a ton of issues from Adobe Flash crashing my browsers. Now Skype is my main crash deviant.

I’ve put up with your terrible new reinstall that spawns web pages and took FOREVER recently.

You think I’m kidding.

I’ve had Skype installed since Skype began. I’m frequently teased as I’m “Lorelle” on Skype, not “Lorelle254” or some other silly name. I’m the first Lorelle that signed up for Skype, probably in your first 500-1000 registered users. I also pay for your service, so I’m qualified to rant and rave about your growing problems and my increasing frustration.

Logging in today, I was greeted by two confusing “Skype” disguised Internet Explorer browser windows. They were filled with ads but also with options and choices I had to make. I was in a hurry for a meeting and didn’t have time to mess around with reading all the stuff. I just needed to find my login.

It appeared that I would have to install Skype, so I did. Twenty minutes later, I’m now 15 minutes late for my online meeting and Skype is still not installed. Things are loading, whirling, clicking, and my state-of-the-art, powerful computer is locking up and dragging as it consumes memory and hard drive activity. Ten minutes later, it installs, but I’m still clicking around trying to just find a login. I finally find the familiar buttons and open it up, only to have those two damn Internet Explorer windows pop up, covering everything, selling me more Skype crap.

I apologize to the client and life goes on, both of us cursing Skype and browsers, and Internet software in general.

When I’m done, I’m so furious, I completely log out and quit Skype. Continue reading

Dear WordPress, Please Fix 2011 Layout to Put Back in the Sidebar

Dear WordPress:

While I love what you are doing with your new annual default WordPress Themes, and love the features of 2011, please don’t mislead us regarding the layout.

Previewing a post, The sidebar was gone! I felt naked and exposed with no where to go from the post I was viewing. I was frightened, worried for my three readers and my mother visiting the site and getting lost without a clear way to navigate around to all the goodness I’m sharing here.

No sidebar on single post pageview in WordPress 2011 Theme

On the Appearance > Theme Options, I can choose the design layout I want. Left sidebar, right sidebar, or no sidebar.

I clicked VERY hard on right and left sidebar options and I still see only the single post with no sidebar on my posts.

WordPress Theme 2011 - options to set the blog design layout

If I choose a layout style, I expect it is the same for every page on my blog, not just the front page. That doesn’t make sense.

Maybe it’s broken in the Theme. I’ll except that excuse. Please fix it.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

PS: I’m starting to have nightmares of the original Default/Kubrick WordPress Theme, so please fix this.

Dear Internet Users: Let’s Honor the Good Stuff In Between

Dear Internet Users:

I just got a good look at this brilliant graph by Brad Colbow illustrating what people pay attention to on the Internet.

Chart showing appreciation level of humans, the best and the worst and not much in between

Seriously?

So we pay attention to the really great stuff and the really bad stuff and tend to ignore the in between stuff.

This explains so much.

As I stand in line at the grocery store checkout, I’m constantly reminded of Joan Rivers’ famous comment about good the National Enquirer is for constipation. It’s horrible.

And television. WTF? Seriously. Good actors are now flooding Broadway and theaters around the globe as “real people” doing stupid human tricks are placing them.

Please, Internet Users and everyone, let’s find some room in our hearts for the in between stuff. Let’s once again celebrate the truly remarkable middle of the road stuff. It’s all remarkable.

Let’s appreciate each other more like Doctor Who, so famous for defending humanity in all its shapes, sizes, and ridiculous characters and their actions.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag

Dear Google Plus, Things I Want From You for Christmas

Dear Google+:

Here is my holiday wish list.

  1. The ability to mark a plus post as read so I don’t see it again unless there is new activity. Mute doesn’t cut it.
  2. Get past the +9 thing. Give us +10.
  3. The ability to add more than one photograph within a post, not just as a gallery.
  4. Give us some HTML characters beyond bold and italic. I want strikeout, HTML Anchor Tags (link dumps are so ugly as are link shortener links), and headings.
  5. The ability to use HTML character entities so I could write URLs as examples and not have them turn into clickable useless links, and other things that character entities are good for.
  6. The ability to write math, scientific, and coding formulas and formats with ease.
  7. A better understanding of what “people in common” means in circle notifications. I still don’t get it.
  8. Stop on auto scrolling. While auto updating and scrolling are nice, I’m constantly fighting to read or watch something in my stream. I have to click through and wait for another page load to just view that post. Give me a pause button, please.
  9. You got the goo.gl shortener so please incorporate it into Google+.
  10. A skin or layout option that would put active conversations I’m involved with on one side of the screen (for larger monitors) and my stream on the other so I don’t have to wait the long load times to view notifications.
  11. If you are serious about penalizing folks not using their “real” names or legal names, then be serious about it. I’m getting tired of finding clearly spammy names in my comments and circle notifications.
  12. Blogspot and Blogger suffered because of Google’s permissive policy on hosting (and profiting) on spam/scam/scraper blogs. We, especially Google, is wiser now. Let not the same thing happen with Google+. I’m seeing the edges fray already.
  13. When I want to share something and write a bit, please don’t make me hunt for the share overlay as it scrolls out from under my fingers as I’m typing. I just spent 30 minutes 50 minutes trying to find the share window when it scrolled away. I don’t want to lose what I’ve written, so damn you, please stop the auto scrolling when I’m sharing something. Update: I lost my post and had to rewrite it. I’m sure it’s not as good the second time around.
  14. Give us a draft option. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes, or I’m distracted with a phone call or something and I want to save what I’m writing on Google+. If I share it with myself in a closed circle, I can’t edit it and add in an image or video as that is locked down, and it looks strange me sharing a post that I wrote when I do share it. Sometimes I hit share and didn’t notice the link wasn’t added or forgot the video, so give us the option for drafts and for adding media after publishing.

I ask these things because I adore Google+ and want to see it grow and thrive.

Thank you,

Lorelle
The Tech Nag
Original post on Google+ used with my permission