1) Pages that don’t zoom. I want the text a bit bigger so I can read it. You want to show me ads. You disable zoom for your page. I’m frustrated by being unable to read the page. I don’t stay to see the ads. I close the page and move on. If it turns out to be something I want to read, I’ll save it to Pocket. You lose.
2) Popups. Popups that cover the article and fill the screen. Popups that delay the loading, stalling everything just to load on top of the article. Popups that load after the article has displayed. Popups with tiny hard to hit close boxes. Popups with tiny hard to hit close boxes above and beside link text to another article.
3) Auto play video. It’s jarring and noisy. It wakes up my sleeping spouse. And it’s usually a commercial. Window gets closed. You might get a page count hit, but I don’t see anything. Four finger pinch to close and it yields a skepticism about viewing the site ever again. Bye.
4) Video commercial precedes content. The page loads, and you haven’t transcribed the interview content. I have to tap the video to hear some talking heads, but first some loud noises and bombastic music are about to announce some product I can’t live without. Swipe close. Goodbye. No commercial gets heard. No content gets delivered.
YouTube will preface video with a five second commercial you can escape from after a bit, before the commercial content is delivered. I don’t even know what I’m refusing to see, because you can skip the message. Advertisers will learn, I expect, to put it all up front in the first second. That’s the only way it will be seen.
5) Inline objects. Anything that loads inline inset in the body copy text like video and ads. Now the page is jumping all over the screen. The line lengths change. Text is jumping all over the place. Can’t read what won’t stay still.
6) Inconsistent controls. Maybe I want to share this article. Let’s see, where is that share button? Top? Bottom? Left? Right? Is it a word or an icon? Is it in the same place as in another App? Or somewhere else? And uncertain image handling controls. Does it zoom? Does it go away if I accidentally touch outside of it? Or do I need to find the tiny x to tap and close it? Does it swipe to go away?
7) Lousy typographic design decisions. Body copy set in small x-heights with thick and thin strokes intended for newsprint paper pages viewed in flat, non-contrasty lighting conditions. Screen brightness blows this old fashioned elegant text into blurry curvilinear patterns. But most egregiously, skinny grey type on bright white screens. People will look back on this design affectation with the same curious fascination and disdain we have for Art Deco aerodynamic toasters: “What were they thinking?”
Bonus: 8) click bait headlines, point form listicles, short paragraphs, cat pictures, curmudgeonly complaints, extensive text post. All good for SEO. Cynical. I hope you don’t feel abused or manipulated just for the sake of page hits. This has been a rare drop into grouchy curmudgeon status. The year will get better :-)