Web 2015 – What Not To Do

Dear Interwebs,

We have a problem. It's not me, it's you. Here is my list:

  • No Flash
  • No Popups (in-page or new window)
  • Cookie and Privacy Policies
  • Mobile Friendly

No Flash

Flash is insecure and slow, and there is no good reason for it, except for very limited cases, and usually then it is more of an excuse than a reason. Just stop.

I've seen a lot of sites who have a majority of visitors (over 50%) who do not support Flash. And you still want to use it? There are multiple Flash exploits used by hackers, and the most recent Flash is vulnerable. And that is just the known exploits. Don't use it.

No Popups

Popups stop people from using the site for four reasons:

  • Popups by definition block the user
  • Popups usually slow the interface (something needs to spawn)
  • In many cases on small screens or because of general designer error, the popup cannot be closed or minimized or otherwise avoided. This results in simply being blocked from the site
  • Who wants to use a site with popups? With continual barrage to buy, subscribe, like, or otherwise do something that is not what the visitor currently wants to do, by definition?

Cookie and Privacy Policies

By all means these kinds of policies are needed and there should be a link to them on every page (preferably a small link at the bottom with the title policies). What we don't need are headline banners talking about changes to privacy policies, or cookies or the fact that people are assumed to have read and understood them and continuing with the site is an implicit agreement. It is not. Adhesion contracts do not work that way, as there is no real agreement. Just stop annoying people. I've been on sites on my mobile device where at cookie policy takes up a third of the site and I have to close it every... single... time... I visit the site. Ridiculous and a waste of time and effort. Have designers become that unthinking, or better, abusive to the visitors? Lawyers have run amok. Maybe some jurisdictions have laws requiring this, but that is madness. There should not be such laws. Pure crap.

Mobile Friendly

It is amazing how many mainstream sites I have go through various contortions in order to read on mobile. I've got a fairly small screen 4" iPhone 5. In order to read many sites, I first have to rotate into landscape. Then I have to pinch and zoom to capture the part of the text I want to read (excluding sidebars, etc.). Then I have to zoom further to get to the next page link or otherwise navigate to another page.

Clues:

  • Make the site conform to the device, not the other way around
  • Put all the info on one page
  • Make it easy to engage with the content in social ways only after I've been able to access the information, that means tweet, facebook, googleplus, and add to mailing list.
  • Don't annoy people with things that don't count

The Internet is getting pretty shitty these days and those who decide to ignore this advice (and increase the shittiness) should be flushed.