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Auto-play videos are (still) ruining websites

August 13, 2017

punch

Photo: C.J. Sorg (CC)

You know how many gas pumps have auto-play video screens because you’re trapped filling up?

That’s how I feel about auto-play videos on your site.

The user experience is terrible, as though the user never enters the equation. What gets the brand clicks and views outweighs how the user interacts with the site.

I’m slightly more forgiving of sites that auto-play videos muted, including Facebook and Twitter. It’s almost an art form creating compelling videos that work well with the sound off and the captions on. But it still causes data usage problems for users. Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg.

Consider how you set up your site for users — desktop and mobile — and whether it’s meant to attract or repulse them. Are you making decisions to help the user or the brand?

I feel trapped when I need to read an article, and one (or more!) auto-play videos attack, whether at the top of the page, somewhere in the sidebar or even in an embedded ad. I can either click away or try to shut down those infernal nuisances.

What video in the universe is so damn important that it must be playing the moment the page hits your screen?

None.

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