SOUND AND FURY
Is it just me or are more folks ticked off at web sites that increasingly launch into sound and video presentations the moment you arrive WITHOUT ANY WARNING?
This mini-rant was prompted by clicking on the following Symbian site (WARNING: FULL ON SOUND AND VIDEO UPON LAUNCH) while in a public place with lots of folks around.
Of course the blaring sound evokes an immediate sense of "Where the heck is that coming from?", followed by "How the heck do I turn it off?"
And in most cases, the second question is tough to answer because the site in question may have multiple windows and pop-ups EACH with it's own User Interface (UI) to turn the sound on or off.
If a relative geek like me can get flummoxed by this, I can only imagine what it'd be like for a mainstream person, like say, my mom.
I mean, shouldn't the proper etiquette be to at least ASK ME if I want the audio or video to play? Of course that would utterly defeat the purpose of most advertisers and content publishers to "Shock and Awe" their visitors into submission and consume their wonderful, elaborately produced "shows".
The Symbian Developer's Journal site above is particularly egregious in that it launches into essentially a "newscast" without giving the visitor any opportunity to decide whether they actually want to hear it or not.
And to add insult to injury, they splash a HUGE AD on top of the main page that requires the visitor to click on the tiny "Close this Windows" button to actually see the main site.
I know they've got to make a few bucks, but this is does not build any goodwill with the visitor and gives a whole new meaning to "Sound and Fury".
As more web-sites, and indeed Search engines like Google, Yahoo! et al deploy rich, multi-media content and advertising on their sites, this question of ETIQUETTE is likely going to be increasingly important to answer.
And the problem grows more exponentially as most cell phones and PDAs going forward will increasingly be multi-media enabled with stereo speakers, no less.
Over time, I suppose new "Sound and Video Pop-up Blockers" will be devised and distributed, but that could take a while.
I know, I know, I can always turn off the sound on my PC/cell phone/PDA as a default. But that seems to put the burden of action and additional inconvenience on the MUCH larger number of mainstream users.