Thursday, January 19, 2006

Talking Strangers

The one thing I really hate the most out of all the horrible things out there on the web is audible talking. So many people out there are into having every little "nifty" widget imaginable on their website, and it just gets to be insanity. I'd bet that every time one of those talking avatars infested a new website, there was some executive of sorts telling all his underlings how amazing this new toy of his was and how he could get it to talk to people when they visited their website.

Welcome Stranger:

Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I've certainly heard from dozens of people on how annoying it is to run across a talking website. It's like having some stranger coming up to you and saying, "Hi, tell me what to say and I'll say it," or in their generic I-want-to-sell-you-something tone, "Welcome to Luther Corp dot com where we take care of you better." I certainly could think of a few choice words to throw at those little avatars to make them more of an amusement than just some dumb annoyance.

I don't know how many times I've found myself searching the web, listening to my tunes, then I hit some website and find my listening experience ruined by those stupid avatars, but those avatars aren't the least of the problem. I'm sure you've all run across those website that present some bit of information in one of those flash presentations that talks to you. I truly loathe those things. I don't need some person talking to me regurgitating the same information to me that I could read in a quarter of the time it takes the presentation to even download. Sure, I could see talking presentations as being useful as a learning tool for courses on various things, but as far as introductions and advertisements go, it's just impractical.

There are a few good reasons I stopped watching television. It's passive, often pointless and its Hollywood mentality has been growing more and more every day. Sure you can find a lot on the web that you can describe in the same fashion, but I don't want it. I especially don't want it when I'm looking around at new software and other random tidbits on the web. I like the Internet because it offers me something interactive, and you can spend your time on just what you're interested in while avoiding all the other disgusting junk out there. I don't need my Internet talking to me. I'm not impaired in any way that would make talking websites useful.

Yes, talking websites can be useful if you're blind or lazy, but the web has yet to sound a friendly voice to the blind while remaining courteous to folks that don't like talk and would rather be active and read something. I'm sure most people can read. Even computers can read. And I'm pretty sure spelling things out would allow a customer to both understand the product better as well as make a decision sooner; enough of this slow, pointless talk.

Coming to a Theatre Near You:

Don't think I've excluded all those movie advertisers. Those videos that advertise by blaring some guy's deep voice or some clip from the movie into your ear are just as annoying. I thank those companies who were considerate enough to give the end user control over the audio or the whole video in general. That's how sound should be presented. Let the user opt-in to the experience. Don't start talking the second someone arrive at your website. It's just as annoying as those people at Best Buy and Radio Shack who great you the second you walk into the store and ask if you're interested in buying a new plasma TV or cell phone. Instead, learn to make something visually appealing that would make users want to listen to your spiel. Be quiet and I might check things out, but start talking and my mouse is already on the back button.