idea, Internet, UX, web

Ad vs. Content :: Profitability vs. Readability

P.S. I am basically a software engineer, while i am writing this up as just as an UX enthusiast’s fan out of frustrations. So, never mind if you are an expert on this subject matter.

For quite a while, i am totally unhappy with overall readability of most of the web sites, especially the heavy traffic sites. Why they make their pages filled with crapland-ish ads? To add a little salt on the burn, they kept doing pagination. As a preventive measure, I kept using browser-extensions like readability, minimalistic, hacker vision etc.
Is that so tough to create well-designed site with keeping up site’s profitability? In their long run, does their insane amount of ad-pushing don’t hurt or not?

A question on UX.StackExchange just fueled my frustrations. [Is there a point to paginating articles online?]

IMAO, Most of the high-traffic sites still miss some very important points from user perspective.

  • Over the time, since the online era, our subconscious as well as conscious mind are well-trained to ignore ads altogether and focus on the content, mostly on relevant picture. e.g. when i entered a NYTimes for news on Iraq, the new shiny Ford(ad) is totally irrelevant (hence, irritating). In return, my subconscious mind take a silent note on this irritation (entirely due to the ad).
  • As a try to address the fact, ad engines (syndicates) tried to deliver contextual ads and collect and relate search data.
  • What is the result?  once i just needed to know(so, searched) a fact about Nikon D800. Now, everywhere i just see ads of DSLRs. As i already have one, i am not even remotely interested to buy another one. Now, what? My irritation just got a polynomial factor.
  •  Our monitors, even on laptops, are mostly now widescreen(16:9) rather than archaic 4:3. But, the sites mostly are failing to adopt the new display real-estate. Instead the ad’s column (on the right) just multiplied.
  • Yet still, Pagination is the worst factor to “dishonor” the visitor’s “mission statement”. Dividing a single writeup into 4 pages for the sake of showing ads, is just like “holy” water from a fountain of hell. Pagination has being tagged along from the dawn of Internet to break the “payload” into smaller pieces due to slow bandwidth. But now, used as wonderful way to push ads.  Wherever i see  Page |  1 | 2 | 3 | 4|”, my subconscious tells me that as “the content is not for reading, just a packet for ads.” or “why bother to read that all? Let’s click some ads”
  • Every time, i want to see the text bigger, i got to do CTRL+Scroll on mouse.
  • I don’t remember the last time i clicked an ad. When were your last time?  Seems like “ads, ads everywhere. nor any drop to click”.

In my Utopian world of Internet,  i would design reading-friendly and readable (yet, revenue generating) site like this.

What do you think ?

btw, i am keeping this design work licensed under a Creative Commons by-sa 4.0 license.

idea, UX, web

[UX] Should my blank query (on a site) return any result ? [yet to complete]

While i was going through some site, i was looking for something. Okay, i admit it was a job site.I wanted to begin from ALL results then filter it down. So, I just hit “Search” without giving any query.

Should it return me with all or nothing?

I raised a question in UX forum of StackExchange (u know StackOverflow, right ?!) about that. What should be the smart approach to the classic UX problem? What is the current trend? What it should be ?

My Question was:

Almost all site include a “Search” facility. It can be a job site, blog, photography-sale, or forum.

usual format is like:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

The Question is:

If user keep the input box empty, and hit ENTER (or click “Search” button), what should (s)he get ?

What would be the smartest UX approach ?

  1. return ALL e.g. Google jobs site
  2. return NOTHING, and notify user to enter search term
  3. bring up the dedicated search page e.g. this site
  4. return the HOT items right now on the site
  5. return the MOST_SEARCHED items, or
  6. return some RANDOM items
  7. does NOTHING

Is there any standardde facto, or research findings on this concern?

It started a lot of views (400 hits on first day) as well as answers, comments opinion. I got the point that it rang some bell.

I believe now that it’s an classic question.

i also did some fact-finding along the way. What is the approach of the leading web sites around the globe ?

Google / Bing: “Google and Bing handle this and their flow is to just ignore the search request if there is no search value entered and keep the user in the same page.” (Thanks, @Mervin on StackExchange)

Amazon: return back to homepage with an extra “/ref=nb_sb_noss_null” in the link

Google Jobs: returns ALL, sorted by “logging-location” and reverse-chrono. Page navigation says “Page 1 of many”

Chrome Web Store: just does nothing on pressing ENTER

Gmail: It is quite interesting. While in inbox, pressing “search” does nothing. But when user gives blankin advanced search, it (IMO, rightfully returns ALL Mails) with a notif. as “Invalid search query – returning all mail.”

gmail blank query message

idea, personal

Types of people (when they don’t have something):

“Let’s think about it” … we call them cool-head … some call them looser

“Just Go, get it (not hurting others, rather bypassing)” … we call them smart  … some call them shameless

“Okay, let it come on my way”  …  we call them luck-hunter … some call them damned lazy

“Hunt down the owner, and GET it now”  … we call them greedy  …  some call them great

“I don’t need it, but btw, kill the owner” … we call them cruel … some call them perfect for this world

“I don’t need it” … we call them ascetic … but some call them asshole

what category i am in ?