The Most Hated Advertising Techniques

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(Image courtesy of Universal Studios)

In 2004, Jakob Nielsen conducted studies on how people react to online ads.

He identified several design techniques that impact the user experience very negatively, namely:

– Pop-up windows

– Audio that loads automatically.

– Design elements that tries to trick you into clicking on it.

– Design elements that do not have a “Close” button.

– Stuff that covers what you are trying to see.

– Advertising that doesn’t say what it is for.

Here’s an interesting quote about pop-ups from a respondent from Nielsen’s survey, as posted on a major website’s feedback form:

“You people should be ashamed of yourself! I did not ask to have 3 pop ups come across my screen when I visit you. I do not visit singles sites, and I don’t want to add 4 inches to my penis. As a matter of fact, I don’t use any of the services that pop up on my screen. I think it is disgusting that you money hungry bastards have infringed on my computer for your own selfish gain. From this moment on, I am boycotting you, and I am advising EVERYONE I know to do the same thing. Down with you and your pop up ads.”

That quote is THREE YEARS OLD.

Now, it’s almost 2008.

But we still visit websites that load audio without us asking for it. People still resort to pop-ups when they could be using new technology like AJAX to display results or take visitors to another section of a website. People are still trying to bullshit consumers on a daily basis.

In short, we’re making the same mistakes as we did THREE YEARS AGO.

Welcome to the suck.

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Filed under Accessibility, Advertising, Usability

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