Saturday, February 6, 2010

The website that took over my computer

Practically every creative director I’ve come across seems to have this fixation on full-screen, Flash-based marketing websites. I don’t disagree with how immersive a full-screen site can be, but there is one rule that I feel needs to be addressed: don’t alienate the user.

I visited a website recently and upon landing on the homepage, the site’s full-screen video immediately initialized, encompassing the entire screen, disorienting me and ensuring that I no longer have control of my own computer. Not only was this upsetting, I immediately had no intention of ever going back to the site again. This is how you alienate your user: take away their control.

Would it be so hard for the homepage to offer a selection? Give me the option to view the site in a window? Perhaps even prepare me for the fact that the website will commandeer my desktop? What purpose does it serve to force a user to see the site in a specific manner? Does it help the client’s brand or does it help the creative team’s vision? Which is more important?

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