> I keep wondering: Does anyone actually use these social buttons?
The suppliers of said social buttons do; every time you see one while you're logged into FB / G+ / Twitter, a hit of you visiting that site is registered at said parties, and they can all, thanks to the prevalence of these sharing buttons, track your internet usage.
This should be regulated somehow (yeah, I know, I sound like an 19th century guy). But probably lobbyist won't give up on that easily. I have disabled all that crap in my adblock, but there are millions of people who are not that savvy / aware etc.
My friend from Germany told me that in some (but not all) the pages, there are dummy social buttons loaded by default, you have to "enable" them. Try any article at . It actually displays grayed placeholders only , and things are fetched from G/T/FB only when you click it - you can see in HTTP console.
This is actually being used to comply with data privacy laws here in Germany, in a way. Right now it's not entirely clear whether it's legal to use these social buttons, so to be on the safe side, many sites opted for this "click to enable" system.
I am using Ghostery, which does a pretty good job of intelligently blocking (and also notifying me) of trackers.
However, there are some sites that stupidly execute JS that is vital to the running of the page after attempting to initialize Google Analytics or other services. The end result is that they get a "Cannot call method 'bleh' of undefined" error which prevents the rest of their JS executing, hence broken page. If I'm really interested in actually loading the page, then I have to resort to allowing the trackers to run. sigh.
Unfortunately, I can't see how this could be averted, stopping short of an extension which catches all uncaught exceptions, then tries to forcefully remove all JS which is meant to interact with 3rd parties. It could be done either via pattern matching, because Google Analytics code looks much the same on most peoples sites, or it could be through something more fun, like https://github.com/mattdiamond/fuckitjs (who would of thought there would actually be a proper use case for something like that??)
For some of the bigger ones the extension could try to keep some dummy scripts that match the api properly. e.g. make it look like GA started but not actually send them anything at all. Though that sounds like a cat and mouse game.
As a simple example, the hit gives them your IP address. Often, this is all they need in order to identify you. (My IP address is technically dynamic, but remains fixed for weeks at a time. And... even if I use a different browser to sign into Facebook, they still have that IP address as well as the relevant timeframe for my possession of it.
I could spin up a VM and route the FB or non-FB traffic through a proxy, but I haven't reached that point, yet. (Probably, foolishly and to my detriment...)
P.S. In other words, state is already stored on their servers, not (or rather, in addition to) your browser.
SocialCount looks like it also cares about how many times a link has been shared, and uses a server-side script to figure that out. That seems like a nice approach if you really want that info, because it doesn't let the social service track the end user.
shareNice seems to have a wider range of services that it supports.
I have a big screen and I didn't see any of the social ad's or even the pop up at the bottom. It was only going back and actually opening my eyes that I noticed it.
I think this is why such buttons are so ineffective. They have been used so badly for so long a lot of people just completely ignore them. Its a bit like ad's on the side of pages. A lot of people won't even register they are there.
Whether or not you actually click on them, you are "using" them. Last I checked (admittedly, a couple of years ago), if you've used that browser to log into facebook and haven't cleared your cookies (or configured / installed a privacy add-ons), facebook is able to associate that page view with your account through the like button on that page. They bypass the 3rd party cookie mechanisms that are suppose to be in place to prevent this.
If anybody knows if this is has changed, please chime in. I'd love to know.
Emphatically: yes. Those who collect stats on them find that they contribute a substantial portion of shares. People rant against them often, probably because they wish they weren't effective, and they might not personally click them. But others do.
As a visitor, no I never use them and I seem to think no one will want to use them. However, as a webmaster, I prove myself wrong, a lot of people do use them and they do seriously become part of your site's daily traffic. So in other words, if the snake oil sells, you better carry them in your store!
I use the tweet buttons but often remove extraneous info or put what I would normally write in my tweet but keep the link. If I like an article enough to tweet it, why not add some social proof by boosting their tweet button count one higher? I think that's fair.
I must be completely jaded by this point. I had to go back and look at the site again. My mind had completely blocked out the left sidebar and the footer. This crap is so common that I don't even notice it anymore.
I'm being idealistic when saying this, but I really hope over the next few years that bloggers stop adding social links to sites. I don't doubt major sites like CNN will continue to flood pages with links, but it would be nice for the content generators to stop using them.
Social links are anti-social. If you really think about it, these are about taking away the interraction between people as people and instead, they funnel the content toward aggregation and mere consumption. That critical link between content creator and visitor is buffered with other rubbish so meaningful feedback is watered down.
Their "join free" footer at the bottom is a really annoying trend IMHO. It takes up valuable content space and gets in the way. The more intrusive and annoying those popups and bars are, the less likely I am to ever actually join. I guess it must work on other people though, unfortunately...
What strikes me most is how websites are visually getting more and more minimalistic and at the same time they're loading and working slower. For example The New York Times  layout is as simple as possible (basically text only with some images), but it loads 20 JS files, 13 CSS files, makes ~200 requests and uses ~14 MB of memory on load.
It's hard to believe that a site with that kind of traffic & resources hasn't even bothered to concatenate and minify its JS & CSS. Most of the JS files still have comments. Bizarre. They should know better.
The New York Times built the current site in 2006. The Times just announced that they have are working on a new site design (and presumably completely new architecture) for the last year and should release it soon.
There is a world of difference between doing a cute vanity project that works for say 99% of the time but doesn't mean that they buckle down and do the hard work involved delivering a major publishers site.
Another example Google has a lot of smart people but they cant parse a robots.txt file with a BOM in it.
The NYT website is not something usual. That's a website made up for a newspaper, a giant newspaper, with dozen of business, info and other resources playing a role of importance in the frontpage. But I'm with you: the web even with HTML5 can be fatty, pretty fat, but I prefer this, than Flash one, forever.
My god. How underpaid were the web devs of this site? They must have gotten to the point where they could proclaim "It works now!", then thats when the funding must have been got cut off. It's that or, they are just bad. Meanwhile, the site looks bad.
It's really, really not hard to use image sprites (not necessary here); merged JS and merged CSS.
What on earth does a 404 page have to do with HTML 5?
Who are these people that want the web to be some sort of sterile, perfectly conformist, UX's wet dream? Flash is still warm in its grave, and people are already blaming it for crimes that HTML5 hasn't even really made yet. Don't get me wrong, when the function of a website is to perform a task or convert users into paying customers then by all means streamline the crap out of it. The sites that do that well will succeed, the ones that create an unusable mess will fail, simples. But don't go around pointing fingers at everyone trying to make something innovate or different. Make no mistake, a lot of the well accepted web2.0/native app tactile/animated interface elements we take for granted now were birthed during the frenzied experimentation of the mid 2000s Flash era. I for one am occasionally delighted to visit a site with an off the wall animated interface, tiny fonts and crazy navigation. It's food for thought, sometimes inspiration. Yeah, maybe they got it horrible wrong, but its creative.
And besides, this guy is really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. 404 a "HTML5" problem? Auto-playing vidoes a "HTML5" problem? Low contrast colour schemes a "HTML5" problem? Has he even got the slightest clue what "HTML5" is as opposed to other HTML versions? All the examples in that article are just shit sites, nothing to do with "HTML5". Gimme a break, this is just link bait, what a joke.
I want the web to provide access to a wide variety of information. I would much prefer the option to consume that as I choose, not to have everything gift-wrapped by force. An awful lot of design is a distraction from the content it is supposed to present.
Look, you wouldn't like it if every different document you opened or site you looked at took it upon itself to restyle your desktop and rearrange all your Photoshop preferences to suit the author, would you? Likewise, you don't think that Wikipedia would be improved by allowing every editor to restyle pages in Myspace or Geocities fashion, do you? Of course not, once you've configured or become familiar with a particular environment, consistency supports productivity.
Some of us want to navigate the web for content, without all the branding and UI inconsistencies. I read a variety of specialist web forums, for example, not unlike HN except that they're mostly running PHPbb or something along those lines. They all look different, with different layouts and so on, many of which are UI catastrophes. I would love to just download the semantic information and have a nice consistent UI of my choice that ran on the client side instead of consuming far more bandwidth than the content I am there to read.
When you hit somebody else's server, use their bandwidth and download their stuff I'd say its only fair that they at least get total control over how it displays and behaves by default in a browser. You're totally free to not hit that server if the presentation of the content offends you, or alternatively use a RSS reader or similar.
I'm not arguing against a semantic web, but I will argue in favour of people being able to present and serve their content in any way they see fit. One page JS web app? Fine. 100% Flash microsite? Fine. Crazy Chrome only WebGL/NativeClient art experiment? Fine. Streamlined standards compliant site conveying great semantic value? Also fine. We need all of these. People can vote with their feet and we achieve progress. Like humanity the beauty of the web is the freedom and variety it offers.
The trend that annoys me most right now is that image thumbnails never just point to the large image: instead they pop up some JS-based overlay that obscures the whole page. There are several issues with this:
* Quite often, for whatever reason, the overlay takes seconds to load (much longer than just loading the image)
* If the image takes long time to load, I cannot just put it in a background tab and continue browsing the page with the thumbnail while I wait.
* I cannot open several images simultaneously
* To close the overlay, I have to hunt down an 'x' button (for example pressing Esc usually does not work). The 'x' is likely camouflage dark grey in order to look good against the dark grey background, and placed creatively to make it difficult to find. Sometimes, the 'x' loads two seconds later than the overlay itself, to make sure the browsing experience becomes as frustrating as possible.
* Not uncommonly, the JS is so poorly coded that the overlay half-loads in my browser and cannot be closed at all without reloading the page. With JS disabled, trying to open the image might not work at all.
* If I react instinctively to the overlay by pressing backspace, it doesn't close the overlay; I get sent back to page before the page I was on.
At least the web designers who do this overlay crap are increasingly using JS for it, which is an infinite improvement over Flash.
At a bare minimum, people using lightboxes for images should have the link actually point to the image, and have the click handler both open the lightbox and suppress the default click behavior. That way, opening the image in a new tab (with a middle-click or right-click+context-menu) still works as expected for users that want to do that.
The thumbnail one drives me crazy. All I want to see is the original full size image, yet many sites make this incredibly difficult to do for now reason. Not really an HTML5 problem though, just a general image gallery problem.
1. The article clearly isn't an attack on HTML5 itself, but of designers who happen to be building HTML5 sites with a lack of concern for the user experience. The gap between design and UX has hugely narrowed in the past decade, and I don't want to see it open up again. It is a plea of sorts, and I apologise if I've mislabelled the headline.
2. The article is a response to the many posts I see that hold up these sites as being "inspirational examples of HTML5 design". I'm afraid that I don't think many of these sites are inspiring, given the UX issues. And yes, they could have been built in HTML4, but they're using HTML5 / CSS3. Hence the headline, though no doubt I could have chosen a clearer one.
3. Yes, our site has all manner of issues, though I've yet to see it in a compendium of 'inspirational' sites. The roll-up is there because sometimes business goals sometimes kick UX goals in the face. The roll-up should not appear immediately and should not obscure all of the screen (please suggest a more elegant solution).
Ah, yes, the infamous "trend" list that only shows one example per anti-pattern and it's some random never-before-seen website where clearly they couldn't afford a better designer. Outside of the whole part where HTML5 has nothing to do with any of these, nor are they "comebacks".
Trends I'm waiting to be over: people without a clue about the web writing about the web and people who upvote articles without reading them.
The placeholder attribute in recent versions of Chrome behaves the same way—possibly longer, but I only started noticing it recently—the placeholder remains in the field until you've typed a character.
Was hoping to see my biggest pet peve, altering the browser history. So many big news sites have image slideshows embedded into an article that do this. It's a horrid experience to hit the back button 15 times to go to the previous page.
"A decade ago the rise in popularity of Flash steered many web designers down the wrong path. It wasn’t the fault of the technology, but of the people using the technology. The same thing applies to HTML5: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. I'm all for innovation, but innovation should not be regressive."
Yes. The first job of someone putting up a website new design or redesign is to do usability testing. Can a user who reaches your site by a search engine result or some friendly inbound link accomplish a relevant task upon reaching your site? If not, why not? As Steve Krug says, "this isn't rocket surgery,"
On the other hand, most of this rogues' gallery is digital agencies or sites made by digital agencies. Sadly, those businesses market to unsophisticated customers on the basis of flash and dazzle, and usually any attempt at user advocacy is met with requests for flash and dazzle. The target audience of this kind of site is not the end user who visits the site; it's the manager who signs off on the invoice. Those managers very seldom have long-term engagement growth as an evaluation metric.
"Make no bones about it, HTML5 design is a massive, musty elephant in the room, and it is about to charge. In its path lies a flailing, unarmed Jakob Nielsen, backed up with legions of user experience professionals, who are gently sobbing."
I especially agree with regard to loading screens. For example some blogs have this "gears" animation before they display their text. I'm not sure who ever came up with thinking that might be a good idea... even if the site is slow that it required a few seconds of loading, just showing text and images incrementally means that you can start reading immediately instead of waiting for the "funny" animation.
There's money to be made in an open design platform coupled with low-cost curated data feeds. I like being able to customize and tweak how things look on my machine; I loved running Enlightenment on my Linux desktop 10 years ago. And I love and am prepared to pay for good content because I'm a bit of a news addict. But I can't stand the amount of junk on most news websites. Not just adverts - sidebars, useless statistics about which stories are most popular, social buttons, comment dungeons, pictures of journalists, and about ten other varieties of cruft...to say nothing of the poor quality content that I'd like to filter out. I envision something midway between NNTP (the protocol, not the usenet community) and a Bloomberg terminal, but at reasonable cost and with high standards of currency and curation (which is where Wikinews fails currently).
Users choose (and may pay for) the presentation layers that make most sense to them; one person may choose something redolent of newspaper, another person likes their news with Star trek theme, a third inexplicably likes their news delivered by Clippy, the office assistant. Designers offer a wide variety of different presentation and navigation tools to suit the whims of consumers instead of suffocating in an unwinnable race to discover the one format that rules them all from within the bowels of of a media conglomerate; serious journalists get to concentrate on information-gathering, reportage and quality of references, without having to fill an onerous fluff quota ('It's daylight saving time again, and that means rewriting last year's rewrite on daylight saving time!')
Back when I worked for a digital agency the number of requests I used to field from non-technical clients asking us to 'update' their sites by creating a carbon copy of their flash animations in HTML5 was staggering. That in itself wasn't really the issue, the issue was the misconception amongst non-techies that the role of HTML5 is a universally accepted flash replacement.
While accepting that it is not appropriate for every situation, I believe that the HTML5 canvas/video/audio/svg/dragdrop/storage elements are specifically targeted at replacing flash/silverlight so I can see how non-technical folks might get confused.
His best point is "Don’t use technology for the sake of it." This sentiment is true for design, but its core idea can be applied to pretty much anything. It is important to think about what you're trying to accomplish and use the technology to aid in that, not the other way around.
The complaint about "images for text" is only valid if the developers behind the site didn't actually think about the problem. You can have this cake and eat it too. Provide the same content in text as you do in images, and Google will be happy to show that in search results, even if it's not visible to your average desktop user. If you care about accessibility at all, you've already solved the problem.
One thing that's horribly annoying, though, is searching for text, landing on a site that has the text you searched for in images or otherwise mutilated with CSS, and having no way to highlight it for copy/pasting. For pulling that one, there's a special place in web hell for you, right next to IE 6.
> ...I’ve never used this site before, so immediately asking me to create a free account is absolutely pointless...
Kind of ironic when the very website this article's on has a bright red rising banner asking me to "Join FREE as a Bronze member".
Or using images for text? Many of these have very little to do with HTML5. Unless it's really about people abandoning Flash and bringing bad design habits to HTML. But even that doesn't explain the 404 "trend."
"Images used for text" - Ok, what am I missing here? I see fewer and fewer sites using image text every day. And the linked example (weesociety.com) appears to use images only for photos. SVG logo? Is that a problem? Even SVG for the SM icons.
"...but most people do not use iPads to visit websites"
I agree with a lot of the points, but I'm taking a limited exception to loading screens.
Sure, most of the time in ordinary websites there isn't a point. On the other hand, there is now a class of "website" (such as games, demos, productivity tools etc.) more broadly in the category of "web application" that do need to load a bunch of resources, they can't run before they don't have them, and they will include a loading screen, for good benefit, too.
So the answer to loading screens is really: it depends, and not by default no.