Archive for November 2005

The worst pop-up ad in the world (ever)?

Sorry to start with a rant, but sometimes you just can’t help these things. Like virtually all other Internet users, I hate pop-up ads with a passion. Usually, I can mindlessly close them and get them out of the way quickly before getting to the content. However, BusinessWeek has come up with what is possibly the most annoying ad I’ve ever seen.

Horrific businessweek pop-up ad.

The ad is for Singapore airlines and it’s wrong for so many reasons. First, it obscures ALL of the important content on the page, so you don’t even know if it’s the page you want underneath. Maybe the marketeers thought this was a good idea (“ha – the suckers will have to look at the ad if we don’t let ‘em look at anything else!”), but this just adds to the frustration for the 99.99% of people who aren’t interested.

Second, this is the first time I’ve seen an ad with no close button. It just won’t disappear. It turns out that you either have to follow the link or refresh the page (there may be other ways, but I couldn’t work out what they were).

Finally, the only link you can follow is “Book now”. It’s amazing how often you find yourself doing some business research and suddenly realize that you need to book a flight to Singapore, isn’t it? No, thought not. To go straight from a pop-up ad to booking a flight when you’re actually trying to do something else is pretty optimistic, I would say.

In the mindless world of click-throughs, this ad will undoubtedly do well because there’s nothing else to click on. Lots of people will click on it just hoping to get the damn thing out of the way! This will keep the ad-men feeling happy and rather pleased with how clever they are.

While these ads clearly generate important revenue for Business Week, ultimately they can only have a negative impact of their brand in the long-term; after all, if it’s such an effort to reach their content, why bother going back to the site?

Oh, and they also put at least a dozen cookies on my machine. If they’re that worried about what I do, why don’t they make it easy for me to do it?

And relax.

Finally got round to it!

I’ve been meaning to start a blog for ages, but just never quite got round to it. In fact, there have been several false starts already. The release of Half-Life 2 didn’t help at all (curse you, Valve!). Neither did beginning my own business. And movng house wasn’t exactly conducive to casual blogging. But finally (I hope) it’s actually happening.

So why write one, anyway? Well, I have lots of bits of paper and text files all over the place where I’ve taken notes and jotted down ideas. A blog is just a way for me to start organising all those things in one place where I can (hopefully) find them. The sorts of things I’ll cover will be to do with usability, user experience, information architecture, communication & signalling, accessibility, web development, photography, elearning and, well, just about anything else that I decide is worth writing about. I’m hoping to make it an ideas-driven blog rather than just a glorified list of links. But we’ll just have to wait and see what sort of beast it turns into…

Oh, and I hate the word blog.


I'm Stuart Church, a user experience consultant with Pure Usability in Bristol, UK. Sensorydrive is my personal blog and covers user experience design, information architecture, product design, psychology, research methods, perception and pretty much anything else that takes my fancy! You can find out a bit more about me if you want...