Common UX Mistakes (and how to fix them) – Part 2: Auto-Play Media

July 31, 2018 2:21 pm

This is the second in my multi-part series on common issues I see that create a poor User Experience (UX) on websites. The series covers some pretty big issues that will cause visitors to leave your website. If someone opens your site then goes back to their Google results page, you’ve just lost a customer.

If you missed the first one you can find it here:
Part 1: Cluttered Design

The Issue: Auto-Play Media

This is a pretty common issue with websites today. High speed browsing and multimedia connected computers and smartphones make music and video an indispensable tool in web marketing. Just remember, no one wants to open a web page and be immediately bombarded with sound.

We’ve all done it, opened a page with sound unexpectedly. Hopefully you can mute your audio quickly, but the reflex action for most people is just to close the page. Once someone does that, they’re very unlikely to ever visit your site again.

The sound itself can be startling in many cases, but lets face it many of us are browsing the web in a quiet coffee shop, cafe or even at work. The noice can draw unwanted attention in all of those situations.

The Fix: Don’t Do It

This is the easiest fix of the series, just don’t do it in the first place.

We get it, you love 80’s music, who doesn’t? Just let your visitors decide when they want to hear it.

Add a play now button to start your nostalgic musical journey instead of blasting everyone from the past with no warning. For videos you can even default to muted when it first begins, add closed captions if necessary. Think no one will want to read it? Think again. As much as 85% of the videos on Facebook are watched with no sound according to a recent post by Digiday. I fully expect that statistic to grow even more as people become accustom to viewing this way.

At the very least, you should have an extremely obvious stop listening button.

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