The legions of Augusta Tek fans already know that I generally dislike video embedded into web pages. First of all, it’s just rude. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to apologize to my spouse, kids and employees for creating an interruption. Surfing the web is a private activity. Sure, you will share pics and clips with your friends, but, most of the time, the Internet is enjoyed in solitude. That is, until an unfortunate click spawns a greatly amplified, embedded video and announces to the whole world that, “Yes, I am an inconsiderate bastard.”
Personally, I think web developers do this on purpose. Most developers work under the cover of anonymity, rarely getting the recognition or respect for the hours spent pixelating the Internet. I can envision them sitting in their dark rooms (true coders never work with the lights on), secretly devising new schemes to torment the average user…
Step 1: Start with a clean and functional page.
Step 2: Create compelling hyperlink to drive traffic.
Step 3: Insert Rickroll.
Step 4: Start maniacal laughter (Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh! Heh!).
Of course, the embedded video is tolerable when the content is actually useful. Unfortunately, useful content is usually the exception. Web sites designed around video streams provide the most enjoyment. Sites like YouTube or Netflix are successful precisely because they give us the kind of Internet content we demand: amateurs making good movies or professionals making bad movies. If we wanted anything of higher quality, it’d be worth buying the DVD.
Many other sites continue to embed video into written or other graphical content. Most of the time, it just doesn’t work. ESPN is probably one of the better sites to mix written and video content, but their success is not universal. Sure, it’s nice to see the highlights of the latest Braves win, but why would I want to watch three to five minutes of the experts talk about how Georgia is well postured to take the SEC East when we all know that their season is going to be bookended by losses to two lowly ACC teams. (Yes, I know. It’s a very unlikely scenario, but not impossible. (Heh! Heh! Heh!)
One trend I observe with increasing annoyance is the inclusion of commercials in front of the video. Putting ads in front of videos is nothing new, but, until recently, designers would only subject you to five seconds or so of pain before allowing you to skip to the destination. Over the last couple of months, I’ve experienced more and more sites that apply the full measure of torture prior to starting the desired video. More often than not, the cost-benefit analysis of suffering through a 30-second car insurance commercial in order to watch a two-minute product review just isn’t adding up. I’ll just read the article.
Opting for the article is especially true given the streaming performance that I’ve experienced lately. My provider has told me on multiple occasions that everything “Looks fine from our end.” Apparently, no rhyme nor reason exists as to why all our streaming services are stuck in play-cache-repeat mode. Here’s the fun part, though. My wife and I decided to change providers because we had finally gotten fed up. When the installer for the new provider came out, he questioned our decision. Basically, this guy thought that our current service was much better than what he was installing.
Obviously, a recommendation like that can’t be ignored. I guess that we’ll have to get used to the spinning circle of death. Oh well, it doesn’t really matter. I never liked videos in my web pages anyway.
Until next time…