What They Said:
In the beginning of Nov'07, a courageous anonymous individual went through the effort of registering the domain name SnapSucks.org and continued to put up a collection "negative mentions" regarding Snap Shots under the call to action "Haters Of Snap Preview, Join Us".
Despite trying to build a case for the general evilness of Snap Shots based on 9 month old observations of others, as well as grossly violating the 1st rule of technology design — "You Are Not The User" — the text is written with intent, supposedly addressing an audience of publishers that either have Snap Shots on their site or are consider adding them.
Please note: The author refer to Snap Shots by the initial name "Snap Previews".
Snap Previews Sucks (mule testicles) because:
- Everyone the anonymous author knows "hates these things".
- Publishers who share their own user testing on the subject are clearly lying because the anonymous author has "been around the usability block a few too many times to buy this" and "In reality, snap previews are 99% bad".
- The fact that anyone can turn Snap Shots off at any point doesn't count because that's a "fake argument".
- The navigational benefits of Snap Shots are dismissed with razor sharp arguments such as "ever heard of the back button?".
What Really Happened:
We responded to all the issues regurgitated by the courageous anonymous author of SnapSucks.org back in Feb'07 and we have rev’d the product numerous times since, and continue to do so, in response to user feedback.
To summarize why Snap Shots doesn't suck:
- The default configuration for Snap Shots is what you see on this blog — each enabled link signified with a link icon — an enhancement added (in Feb'07) as a direct result of user feedback that the functionality was unexpected.
- To further minimize the number of accidental triggers the publisher has the option to make the Snap Shots fire on mouseover of the icon only (as opposed to link text + icon).
- 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?
- The importance of realizing that You Are Not The User: When an advanced user roll over links — that often are not blue nor underlined, are not particularly well defined within the opening and closing of the anchor tag and do not include the title attribute — he or she has been trained to glance down at the browser status bar, parse the URL visually in a blink of a second, and hedge his or her bets by opening the links in a new tab. This is not the case for most users. For example: the Safari browser ships with the status bar and tabbed browsing disabled by default...
- Snap Shots is in fact a timely attempt to evolve the hyperlink, for everyone. It is only natural that this will rub some people the wrong way in a time when online publishing is no longer an exclusive activity of the technorati elite. There's a decent chance that an individual reacting so strongly to change is still disgruntled by the advent of graphics in HTML... or the Graphic User Interface for that matter. Why, oh why do they keep coming up with these so called innovations?
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 also be more than happy to show anyone all the features and configuration options available and to discuss this 1-on-1 or anywhere/anyhow you like.
UPDATE MONDAY, JANUARY 28, 2008:
After learning about this blog, Peter Van Dijck claimed responsibility for the SnapSucks.org web site. We welcome the increased transparency and encourage Peter to engage in dialogue on how to improve the Snap Shots experience.