I think that websites should be QUIET unless being told otherwise. No auto-playing music, no auto-playing videos, no blips and blops and irritating sounds when the mouse moves over navigation elements.
It drives me nuts. Today I wanted to read an article on Huffington Post and then something starts playing, somewhere. I couldn’t find what it was and I was already getting angry at the intrusion when I scrolled down and found a video at the bottom of the page. I can only say: congratulations, Huffington Post. You interrupted the flow of reading that I was about to get into, made me mad, and as a result I simply closed the browser tab. I just can’t be bothered to spend time on websites that treat me so poorly, I’m sorry.
YouTube? Don’t get me even started. I often see multiple interesting “related” videos when I watch one video, and I know that these related videos get shuffled for each video. So I open all the interesting ones in a new browser tab – and then have to immediately go to the three or whatever open browser tabs and stop the video, because YouTube insists to auto-play the video. Compare that to the peace, quiet and control on Vimeo, where videos do not automatically play. My terms. I play it when I’m ready. It’s just one mouseclick, dad gummit!*
And then the photographers who think that their images aren’t bandwidth heavy enough already, and have to add a soundtrack to it. (Ideally, without differentiating between mobile and desktop browsers.) The first couple of seconds it’s nice and quiet, and when the buffering is done some mundane elevator muzak starts molesting me.
Most of the time when I’m at the computer, I’m listening to music. My music. Music that I like and that I want to listen to. Dark ambient doesn’t go too well with petty piano I have to say. So please, stop shoving your music down my
throat ears. It doesn’t enhance the experience on your website at all. On the contrary, it drives me away if I can’t find the controls to mute the music within two seconds.
Two seconds. That’s how much time you get before I close the browser tab – and sure as hell won’t return! Think about it before you add something to your website that starts playing without user interaction.
*) somewhat related: Netflix’s own productions and trailers. Shows that were made solely for on-demand streaming. You sit down. You’re ready. You press play. You get a 2 minutes long trailer for House of Cards in every episode. It’s so stupid, it hurts. Why apply a broadcast concept to on-demand streaming?