The Pop-Up is Dead. Long Live the Pop-Up.

Many years ago, most web browser makers killed the ability for web pages to spawn annoying pop-up windows. You know, those irritating windows that just appeared out of nowhere without anyone asking you if you wanted to open a new window. Advertisers were the main cause of this obtrusive practice which they employed relentlessly to grab your attention while you were leisurely browsing the web. While this annoyance is largely dead, the 2012 equivalent of it is alive and well. Enter the equally annoying, in your face “read more”. 

The New York Times’ version

 

I’m not sure what to call this technique since different sites call it different (though similar) things, but the general purpose is the same. I’m sure you’ve seen it in action too. If you read wired.com or nytimes.com you’ve inevitably scrolled down the page, reading a story, only to have some stupid little box poke its head in from the side of the page, uninvited, asking you if you want to read more, or see related stories. Scroll back up and its slides away. Back down and it comes back. It’s about as annoying as those ads that come on TV in the middle of a show you’re halfway through. There you are, watching Honey Boo Boo, and all of a sudden some stupid micro commercial for a show you probably don’t give a rat’s ass about pops up. An actor folds his arms, an explosion goes off behind him, the date and time are shown, and then it fades away.

Wired’s version

 

Let’s kill this stupid trend before it goes any further. Keep your “read more” and “related story” links static in a sidebar or footer where they belong, and stop animating them like you’re doing me some kind of favor.

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