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Yet another user-experience (UX) fail because … advertising!

If you are a regular reader of news.com.au on your phone you may have noticed this annoying behaviour: swiping to scroll/pan a story often triggers an ad to open in a new browser tab/page. This is poor and rude design.

These hair trigger ads will no doubt increase the click rate of their ads. But at what cost to readership numbers?

The ad click implementation on this site appears to use the “mouseDown” (or equivalent) method which activates a link as soon as your finger lands on it, thereby creating the hair-trigger effect. When scrolling/panning, we expect to be able to place a finger on the screen and move it without triggering a link.

The more common link implementation is the “mouseUp” method which only activates a link when you lift your finger above that link. This is the expected behaviour across all touch-enabled devices.

The hair trigger effect is unexpected, unsettling and annoying. It changes what users know, and is different from the behaviour of other non-ad links on the same page.

To exacerbate this, some of the ads on these pages don’t have the hair trigger effect! I wonder if they charge advertisers more for the hair trigger ads?

Ultimately this UX fail damages the experience of the site as a whole. It essentially hijacks the scroll action to trigger ads. Short-term advertising trumps usability and long-term loyalty.

Seriously, if we need to justify the use of an ad blocker I reckon this poor design would be it. I don’t mind some level of advertising. But not when the advertising is rude and gets in my way.

(Oh yes, the site also auto-plays videos on mobile devices. In a country with limited and expensive mobile data plans, it is another design fail.)

Mobile advertising via Shutterstock.