Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's Viral

An experiment (don't you love experiments?)

I'm trying out some new software for this blog called Snap Preview which opens a window when you hover your mouse pointer over hyperlinks.

My curiosity is twofold.

1. Does this make my blog more fun/easier to navigate/cooler/better? Or does it add to the page loading times, become quickly annoying, and not work on all browsers?

2. If you think it is cool, are you going to put it on your site? Especially since it's free and super easy to install?

How quickly do good ideas spread? Do you adopt them once you're aware of them? Or are you more cautious? What makes something a good idea?

Let me know what you think of Snap Preview, and why you installed it or why you didn't.

I wonder if, within a few weeks, the blogs I visit will have Snap ability, or if it won't spread virally and die a quiet death. And by "viral" I mean viral ideas that spread through word of mouth, not trojan worms that eat your hard drive.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe,

I didn't notice any loading delays, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Is it useful? I think it would be better if you could chose the links you want to pop-up. A balloon appearing when your mouse hits ANY link may rapidly become old.

Personally, I use the Mozilla Firefox browser with a 'tab' function (the new MSIE7 also uses tabs) so when I view a page and see llinks I think I might want to look at, I pop them open in a new tab and look at them there. To me, that's more convenient.

BTW, I'm nearly finished reading Rusty Nail; great book.

Anonymous said...

I find the windows irritating. And the type is much too small to read, so I don't gain any additional information.

Dawn Rotarangi said...

I'm on dial up, running at around 34Kbps. It took almost two minutes to fully load and I wouldn't bother with it again. I love your blog just how it is. You don't need to give it bells and whistles. You have great content and that is what most of us are here for.

But having said that, Joe, good on you for trying something different. Most people have a faster operating system than mine. They'll probably love it. I didn't.

Dorothy said...

A little slower than normal (I'm on dial-up, too) but kinda neat. Not sure if I like it or not, but I'd sure like to try it out on one of my websites...for fun if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

I run Noscript to prevent this sort of thing, so no difference at this end.

Anonymous said...

I'm not enthused, but Wordpress.com has added it to all blogs without a way to turn it off, so I can live with it.

Dawn: You could try reading the RSS feed in an aggregator, or even in your browser, for faster loading since it's just text.

Anonymous said...

I have this.

Some people appear to think that it's cool. Mostly it annoys me.

Anonymous said...

I find it annoying. If I already want to visit a link, what would be the purpose of having a preview? It just seems like one of those things someone came up with because they had nothing better to do. It just doesn't add much of anything other than being another gimmick for people to go "Wow! Cool!"

Alison Kent said...

Dozens of romance author and reader blogs I check out have had it installed for awhile. I never pay attention to it. If I want to click a link, I click it. The snap preview doesn't give me what I'm going to be looking for at the link.

Karen said...

I haven't seen any problems from using in on any sites, or on any sites I visit. I like geting a peek at sites, and have it on one of my two sites.

Bernita said...

Annoying. Very.

Anonymous said...

I notice the window popping up in some odd places - if the pointer is in the white space between posts, the Snap window opens, showing the ebooks page on jakonrath.com. I'm not sure if this is a glitch with Snap's code, a layout problem, or perhaps just a rendering glitch on my machine.

I think the thumbnail previews are handy, especially for blogrolls and for links that say here or this idiot instead of descriptive text.

The Options button in the top right of the Snap window allows users to disable the popups, for this site or all sites, as well as extend the delay, which should solve the issues other commenters have mentioned.

Anonymous said...

I've seen a few other websites that offer this function, and I can't say I enjoy it. Having the mini-windows pop up like this is distracting.

Can't wait for Dirty Martini to come out.

--KG

Jim Winter said...

Hey, Joe. It loads pretty good, but my question is what does this do for people like me who read off of feeds?

Anonymous said...

Lots of Thursday 13'ers use this and I hate it. I keep my hand on my mouse as I read and often find that a window pops up, blocking everything.

ec said...

I don't think it adds. Few sites are designed to look good in thumb-nail version, and unless your eyes are a lot better than mine, the text is too small to read.

If a site has a striking graphic design that looks good in miniature-- such as Jackie Kessler's--a pop-up window like this might entice me to click where I otherwise might not. For most sites, not so much.

Tasha Alexander said...

Annoying. I'm a tab girl--see a link I like, open it in a new tab. I don't like the little balloon things in my way.

Rob said...

I'll have to agree that it's more annoying than helpful. When I read about it, I thought it was a cool idea, but the pictures are so small, you can't really tell anything from them. And then you start seeing these things pop up whenever you move your mouse and it becomes more bothersome.

Anonymous said...

It works fine for me on Safari, which is usually the browser that fails at things.

I think it's kind of cool, but it gets tiresome to be scrolling down a page and dodging words to prevent windows from popping up.

Devon Ellington said...

Since I moved "Ink in My Coffee" to Word Press, that feature is automatic.

I find it annoying because I can't choose which links to pop up. I'm trying to find out a way to turn the auto-function off on my blog.

There are certain blogs I don't need to preview -- I just want to GET there. Also, sometimes all you get is the preview and you have to reposition the cursor and re-click to get on the blog.

I find it a pain in the neck, fingers, and lower down!

Devon
Ink in My Coffee
http://devonellington.wordpress.com

Stacey Cochran said...

It looks neat. I'm not sure how you can use it as an effective marketing tool, though. There is a degree of annoyance, when your cursor moves over something, and a pop-up window appears.

With internet marketing like this, I think I like to see something that I chose to click on, and then have it function. The snap-up is a surprise, and as such, is somewhat irritating.

On a different note, I had my first packed house this weekend. I arranged and organized a bookstore panel of authors in Pittsboro, North Carolina. It was so packed there was actually no standing room available, and people were standing on a stairwell outside the room just to listen.

Watch the Video of my First Packed-House Bookstore Event, titled "How to Get Published"

Kameron said...

I've found it annoying on the sites that use it. No value added.

JA Konrath said...

And the overwhelming majority seem to feel it is annoying.

I'll kill it after a few days.

Devon Ellington said...

PS -- There IS a way to turn off the SNAP in WordPress -- they just talked me through.

Go into "Presentation" and "Extras" and turn if off there.

Anonymous said...

I'm an early adopter of a lot of different technologies (my primary occupation is software engineering) and while I found the pop-up's kind of cool, I don't know if they really provide anything useful. So I can a small thunbnail of the linked page... I can't read it, and seeing a pic of the page isn't going to be a deciding factor in whether or not I click on it.

Just my 2 cents.

Kelly Parra said...

I think it's cool. I'm into saving time and seeing a website before actually clicking a link appeals to me rather than waiting for it to load and discover I didn't really want to see the site. Even if you have a fast cable connection, sometimes site servers do not load properly. I've heard that certain search engines use this and it would be really helpful when doing a web search. I guess it's not appealing to everyone. :)

Maria said...

Insect:

I have a wordpress blog (www.BearMountainBull.com) and don't have them (and don't like them in general.) We're updated to the latest software and so far as I know, we don't have to use them.

They do cause delays--and unless I were searching through articles and wanted to get a glimpse of the first paragraph (such as occurs on yahoo news) I would find them annoying.

Like any other tool, there's a time and a place.

Good of you to try it Joe--now I will know what it is (and the delay) when I see it. You're very cutting edge. :>)

I can't wait for blogger to add all those smiley icons and see what you do with those...!

Maria said...

Oh I see, Insect--you mean the service for wordpress--we use wordpress, but don't use wordpress.com. Maybe there's a way to turn it off...

spyscribbler said...

It's a fun toy, and it's been making its rounds, but ...

I guess the best judge is if you have a fancy sitemeter. Do they cause customers to click on your links more?

If not, it'll probably fall by the wayside like all those blinking graphics websites once had.

Anonymous said...

Kill it before it breeds.

Tattieheid said...

Very annoying and not very useful function.

A number of popular UK blogs tried it for a couple of days but almost all of them got rid of it as it became a major irritation for visitors.

Nice try.

Bill Peschel said...

I see you've decided to kill it. Good choice. Very annoying.

But it was also a good choice to try it. Too often, we let ourselves run on autopilot, refusing to explore something new.

But I have hit a wall with technology. I run a web site with pmachine software. I have to do IT on my computer. I have a digital camera too complex for me to use beyond point-and-shoot. I've considered a big screen TV, but apart from the expense, I'm reluctant to take on another monster to care and feed. Having three kids and three cats probably contributes to that feeling.

At some point, I had to stop saying yes to new technologies, else I'll never get any work done.

Aimless Writer said...

Annoying. Too small to read anything on it.
Yahoo does this on their news site. There I can read the preview on the little window so its not so bad. If I want to know what the article is about I can get a preview, but I don't think I'd use it on a blog like this. Here I click the link because I want to see whats there, not just a preview.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. I'm not a Snap fan. Maybe it's because I use a touchpad and not a mouse, but I find it too hard to click on a link -- even a comment link -- without having to try to subvert the stupid Snap balloon.

However, it IS useful on Thursday Thirteens to see if I've already made the rounds to that particular blog or not.

But I'd still rather live without it.

Anonymous said...

As Dawn Rotarangi pointed out, your blog fans and readers come for the content and the interesting ideas, not the graphics. And it seems to me that the pop-up links serve no useful function except to be pretty. They're too small to read, and unless a person is going to judge whether or not to visit a link based on the background color, (which is basically the only thing possible to see when it pops up), I think it's useless!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but the whole preview business annoys me. Why don't you just click on the link and open it in a new window/tab? You can't really "see" that well with the preview stuff so why not just click on the link?

Lisa Gates said...

Joe,
Deborah Ng at Freelance Writing Jobs tried Snap and everyone went crazy so she disabled it. Seems to be a conversation piece, not a time saver or an information getter.

I vote for Joe's words, raw and unfettered.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

"Wordpress.com has added it to all blogs without a way to turn it off"

Firefox + Noscript - they're gone for good.

I just don't understand how people put up with the average website without Noscript.

I have mine set to whitelist mode - the only scripts which run in my browser are the ones I permit.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't bother me. I generally move my mouse away from posts and active links anyway, so it's rare that I'd have a window "pop up in my way."

I use Firefox for my browsing, and I like the tabs function, but I can take a quick look at the preview window and decide whether or not I want to bother loading into a tab. That saves me time in going through tabs.

I've seen a lot of blog critiques point out that they hate hyperlinks because the blogger doesn't always make it clear what the link points to; i.e., some readers fear hitting a porn site, etc. This would at least give a quick look at that.

As for the folks who complain that the type is too small to read, well of course it's too small to read. If it was the optimal size for that, it would have to open a full browser window. But if someone is pointing me to an MSNBC article, or a Drudge Report page, for example, I can at least tell from the screen grab that much and know whether I want to bother reading more. There are certain sites where I don't trust the information, so I wouldn't bother visiting at all.

I've tried it over at my blog just to see what the reaction is.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I have to say snap previews annoy the crap out of me, Joe. Popups in general annoy me, but those snap things really get under my skin. If I want to see what the page looks like, I'll click the link and go to the real page, full size, and look at it. I don't need no stinkin' thumbnail.

And I notice a lot of sites are using Snap these days. Even the Killer Year website is using them -- something I'll have to talk to Bill about.

I've always been a believer that simple is best when it comes to your site. Concentrate on content, not gimmicks.

Marti said...

Dialup here - slowed it down, and I find it annoying. It works on IE and Firefox, i tried both, but I don't care for it - LOL! Don't think it is a good tool.

Anonymous said...

Truly, madly, deeply annoying. It obscures surrounding text which frustrates the reader, and the popup text is too small to read, so it's not valuable as a preview too. Worth trying, but not likely to become standard issue, is my view.

JA Konrath said...

It's gone.

Marti said...

Thank you!

Marti

MontiLee Stormer said...

Snap Preview can be irritating to people with poor eyesight and those of us who like links but a) hate pop-ups, and b)hate being being over the head with links.

But I see you've been told all of this before.

Late to the party as usual and bringing maracroni salad that's been sitting in the sun - that's me.