Website Pet Peeves (Auto Refresh)

As more and more newspapers move to digital content I’m seeing more and more poor website design. The primary, and most blood curtailing design element seems to be that websites, again primarily websites for newspapers, have their site automatically refresh.

I can hear the meeting now…

Boss: “Our content is so important and updates so often we need to ensure people looking at the site get the latest.:”

Web Guy: “Uhhhh, we could just have the page automatically refresh.”

Boss: “Great, do that every 30 seconds!”

This bothers me because there is very little content that should be refreshed automatically every few minutes and no content should ever refresh the entire page. One case could be a chatting application or a live twitter feed, where you want the content to be as up to date as possible. Stock quotes are another case where you want to get the information refreshed to ensure everything is up to date.

Because the entire page refreshes the ads all over the site also update, then you’re entire viewing experience can go right out the window. I’ve had video ad’s with sound kick on and blast noise through my speakers, then the style of ads that expand like a div take up a huge space of the page where I was reading hide everything below it.

Another issue is when I’m reading a long site or a number of posts and the whole browser refreshes more often then not it keeps me at the top of the page, instead of where I was reading. So now I have to scroll down and find my place and try to get some more reading in before the page refreshes.

I’ve seen a couple sites that have a Twitter feed on part of the site that’s updating live, without refreshing the entire page. This I think is fine and I love pages that have live elements, but not at the cost of a full page post back. People who used to design for non digital medium need to ensure they have design their sites properly or else they will only get 35 paying subscriptions.

About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.

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