I really love the internet and the technology that is available today. It has been nice to see it evolving from the beginning of PC usage and seeing where we are at today. I am amazed how fast it has become a part of our every day, routine life. I can’t imagine what it will be like 50 years from now, or even 20 years.
As much as I like it, there are a few things that really irritate me, especially about the internet. I, like many people around the world, pay for my internet service. I am not using free access from a public place like at the library. I also pay for a premium service for faster speed. This investment is very similar to the investment I make with cable television. The biggest difference with the internet is I provide the hardware. As a result of this “premium service,” there are expectations of a “premium” experience.
Here are a few things that I think need to be addressed about the internet, and what would make it a better experience. The first group of items relate to advertisements.
- Eliminate pop up adds that block your access to the webpage you requested until you close out of the ad
- Eliminate ads that totally take you away from your intended web page. These are called interstitial ads and are nothing more than ads that are shown in the transition between two pages of a site.
- Eliminate ads that are at the beginning of a video and you have no choice but to wait.
- Eliminate ads that are at the beginning of a video and have a count down to the time when they will play the video
- Eliminate ads that include specific information about yourself that advertisers have scraped off various sites of the internet.
- Eliminate animated banner ads, or even better all banner ads
- Eliminate ads that appear at either top or the bottom of your web page and sometimes reduce the amount of the web page you can see. They also cause the load time of the page to be slow. The technical term for these is stripe ads.
- Eliminates the adds that float or follow you as you go up or down the web page. Typically they obscure your view of the web page and typically do not have a way to get rid of them
- Eliminate content link ads, which they mask the purpose behind hyperlinks. What the user thinks as hyperlinks are no more hyperlinks in this case but a mechanism to pop up ads (or fool the user into clicking something that looks like a hyperlink)
- Eliminate page pop up sign-up forms which ask you to sign up for their latest eBook or offers you tips that make you a “more complete with yourself”
- Eliminate ads with audio backgrounds, which slow down the loading of the page
These ads just take up my valuable time. They wouldn’t be so obnoxious if the product was legitimate, and a user-desired product. Before the moment one of these vermin ads appears, I was obviously navigating to a specific web site. Do you really think I want to stop and read an ad about “how to make money from home” which is attached to a weird pyramid-like scam? They never really tell you how to make the money from home, but have already pocketed your money. Instead you are invited to sell the secret, even though there is no secret. In the earlier days, before the internet, the same scam was “stuffing envelopes from your home” or “assembling products” from home. Scams, scams and scams. Along with these, I also categorise all of the ads on TV that are for only $19.99 and they throw in an extra item for the price of one. Do they think we are that gullible? If it is too good to be true, then it isn’t true.
Sometimes these ads make it difficult for you to get back to the page you originally wanted to go to. Your back navigation on your browser no longer works. It just keeps returning you to the page with the ad on it. Do you think I will even attempt to go to my original page after receiving this ad? Obviously, not. I don’t want to be caught in the redirection scam again. Not only do I not want to buy the product in the ad, but I also don’t want to have anything to do with the original page that I was trying to go to. They obviously approved the existence of this re-direct ad and probably are receiving advertising dollars for it. So now in my book two products have lost me as a customer.
Regarding the ads on videos, my intent when I go to watch a video is I to see the video. That’s why I selected the link leading to the video. I did not select a link to an ad that leads to the video. The decision to watch a video goes with some consequences that I accept. I know that watching a video takes an investment in time. There is time for loading it, and then the time to actually watch the video. Do you really think I want to delay my valuable video time to watch a commercial about something I really don’t care about before I take the time to watch the video I requested to watch?
As you can see by the list above, advertising on the internet is a science. I am not sure how successful it all is. To me it is like junk mail in your mail box (snail mail box). I don’t read it. I just toss it. I find the junk mail less irritating because it doesn’t really interfere with my time and usually it is pretty obvious it is junk mail just by looking at the packaging. The ads on the internet are more like the telephone sales calls. We developed a way to block them via the no call list. Why can’t we do the same for the ads on the internet?
I must say some ads are good. An ad that relates to the specific product of the web page and is offered by the company of the web page is probably okay. For example, Best Buy sales ads on their website don’t bother me at all. They do not interfere with my browsing. I have to choose to look at them if I want more information, and if I have chosen to look at the ad there is obviously a relationship to the ad and to something I want to buy.
The next set of irritations, sorry, scratch that. The next set of enhancements to the internet are related to security, user names and passwords.
Security, User names and passwords
- Eliminate the need for a unique user name and password for every site that you have a relationship with
- If you have requirements for a password, then state them up front. Include the rules for number of characters, usage of numbers and capital letters, and non-numeric or alpha characters.
- Make the security code in the grid box readable to the human eye if you have me to type it.
- Make security options user-friendly.
- Eliminate security options that default to the most intrusive option, rather than the most conservative option. .
This category is plain and simple. There are too many user names and passwords to remember. There has to be a better solution. For how many years have we been using user name and password as a means of security? It is at least more than 25 years. It is time for some innovation.
Security options can be really confusing and it takes a PhD to properly set them. There is a famous social website that is fond of these options. They also enforce a new security rule without notifying the user. I believe they take advantage of the fact their security options are confusing. I have set up security options for banks and they are not as confusing as this website. Once again there is this famous social website that likes to set their default for their security to the most intrusive option. Their defaults always allow the world to have access to any or all of your personal information. I also have a HUGE problem with a website introducing a new security option without informing its users about it. Basically there is no “introduction.” You basically have to hear about it via the grapevine, which is not a good way to communicate changes to a user.
“Junk” Internet Content
The other enhancement I would suggest would be to reduce the “trash” or “noise” on the internet. There is so much unnecessary content, which is like a trash romance novel. I will even admit I get lured into reviewing some of this. A good example are these articles that tote the title “Top 10 ways to. . .” or “Top 10 . . .” or “Top 100 . . . for 2010.” Top ten compared to what and decided by whom? In addition sometimes it is difficult judging if the author is an “expert.” There are websites that pay people for articles on subjects that they may know something about. For example, I got paid to write about the world of taxi cab drivers. The only relationship I have with taxi cab drivers is I have taken them as a means of transportation and many, many years ago my husband drove a taxi cab. Now does that make me an “expert.”
My last suggestion has to do with the wonderful world of Twitter, and I am not being sarcastic here. I love Twitter. I use if for my daily news, from local news to international news. I love using it for world events because many times you can here the story from the people who are actually living it. Two years ago I was totally entrenched with Tweeters from Iran as they were protesting against Ahmadinejad. It was very thrilling, even though I was a bystander. There are people who I follow to this day that live in Iran. There are also people that I followed during the protest that have either disappeared or can not return to their twitter account for fear of being tracked by the Iran government.
But Twitter has a couple of things that are noise, noise, and more noise. I will also admit I have participated with this noise because sometimes I feel obligated to do so. I wish twitter would eliminate #FollowFriday. You can look at who I follow any day of the week. I should have to spam the twitterverse with users that I want to “highlight” on a Friday. At one time I announced I was boycotting the activity and my announcement was met with silence, which I interpreted as not acceptable.
Along with #FollowFriday, I would eliminate thanks you’s, including thank you’s for including me in your #FollowFriday, or a thank you for mentioning me, or a thank you for retweeting one of my tweets. I find all of this really unnecessary. I am sure many tweeters will not agree with me, but I find it a waste of time and as clutter in the twittersphere. The people I follow know how much I appreciate them based on my interaction with them.
I would love to hear from you about these suggested “enhancements” or if you have some more you would like to add to the list.