Enough with the music!

I love all the creativity that can be found on the interwebs. I love that if you want something to be seen be millions of people you can have it created and shown and it can be done relatively quickly. I have a hard time when the site I visit doesn’t respect my browsing habits. A poor web element will invoke the ‘heave and leave’ instinct and cause me to leave the moment I get there.

I’m bringing this up because of a website I’ve been working on. I won’t bother to give a link to it. Just know that they sell candle supplies. When you open the site the design is nice and it’s easy to navigate. The thing that causes me to heave is the music. In my opinion, no music should ever play when the page loads.If you need to have music on your site, do it with a player that the user can control.It’s not that you should never have music on any website, but music or video that starts when the page loads is bad. When I’m on my computer I have my music playing. I really don’t want whatever some random site decides to play to start blasting over Bohemian Rhapsody.

What makes this specific site even worse is there is no mute button. No matter what, when I’m on their site I’m going to get blasted with their music. Video’s are just as bad. Even if the sound comes from the ads on the site, if they start making noise I’m looking for the exit. Don’t ever make me annoyed with your site, no matter how good you think the music is.

Speaking of poor web elements…

Since I’m speaking of heave and leave elements I feel the need to talk about Flash. I really don’t like most uses of Flash. The little bits of magic done with it are typically distracting and they cause the page load time to take longer. Flash, like music has its purpose in a limited setting. Good uses of it include playing movies or music as well as flash games. Too often I run into sites that is completely controlled by Flash. Take Pandora Radio for example, the entire site is made of Flash. It loads slow and runs awkward. It has navigation issues when I try to use my browsers back button and search engines can’t index anything through the Flash. Javascript and regular HTML could have been used for most of the site with just the player using Flash.

3 clicks to anything

Another important element to consider when building a website is the navigation. You want your visitors to get around your site easily. A generally accepted practice for this is to limit navigation to 3 clicks to get anywhere. If you’ve even tried to find a customer service number for Ebay you’ll know how frustrating it is to search forever with no success. If you have a very complex website you’ll want to be sure to include a search option.

The Summary

Basically, design your website with your visitor in mind. All the clever bits that you think need to be put on the site should be reconsidered. Make sure it’s keeping the site simple and easy to use. Get others opinions before taking action and always remember that the goal of your initial build is to fail quickly.