Erik from Snap asks: “Why do you think it is so hard to challenge the status quo without rubbing some people the wrong way?”

Erik, you call it “challenging the status quo”. I call it breaking the fundamental usability of the web. It’s like having sites all in frames. It’s like having popups. It’s like Microsoft adding links to your pages. All in the name of “it’s good for the user”, when truly, it’s not. Snap preview doesn’t make the web easier to use. On snapsucks.org, it’s compared with popups somewhere.

So to answer your question: when you break a basic user interaction (hovering over a link) and make it into something it wasn’t (popping up a picture and advertising), you’re bound to piss people off.

You’re challenging one of the few things that really works on the web: the link. And I can’t think of ANY startup (or huge company for that matter) that messes with the link that has prospered (although many have tried, and continue to try).

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2 thoughts on “

  1. Peter,

    Yes — the convention of the hyperlink is one of the older conventions of online interaction, and trying to change it is bound to rub some people the wrong way…

    When you (or I for matter) roll over links — that more often than not aren’t blue or underlined, aren’t particularly well defined within the opening and closing of the anchor tag or are missing the title attribute — you have been trained to glance down at the browser status bar, parse the URL visually in a blink of a second, and hedge your bets by opening the links in a new tab.

    That’s not the case for most users. Why do you think the Safari browser ships with the status bar and tabbed browsing disabled by default?

    Snap Shots address a user need. If it wasn’t, how come some 2M site owners have added Snap Shots to their sites? How come some 2,500 end-users download and install the Snap Shots browser add-on every day, so they can bring the functionality with them to sites like Google, Amazon and YouTube?

    I believe the people who react strongly to Snap Shots represent a small slice of online population that fail to think outside their own frame of reference.

    I believe Snap Shots is a timely attempt to evolve the hyperlink, for everyone, in a time when online publishing is no longer an exclusive activity of the technorati elite.

    That being said, we are committed to making Snap Shots more useful for more people, so if you have suggestions for how to improve the experience, we are all ears. I would be more than happy to show you all the features and configuration options available and to discuss this one on one or anywhere/anyhow you like.

    Like I said in my original response: we have rev’d the product numerous times, and continue to do so, in response to user feedback.

    Cheers.

    Erik Wingren
    Snap UX Research
    erik-at-snap-dot-com

  2. We’ll just have to agree to disagree then.

    I don’t think Snap Shots is a timely attempt to evolve the hyperlink, I think it’s one of many misguided attempts (you’re not the first and you won’t be the last) to commercialize the hyperlink.

    Plus it annoys the hell out of me.

    By the way, I did the mom test yesterday. My mom got WAAAY confused.

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