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Stop putting bloody buttons on your websites

This man is right.

In the pre-Twitter/Facebook days, the “share” buttons across the web were simple static links. There were links above and below articles allowing the user to email, bookmark, or share an article across a variety of social networks, but they were static in that they were simple images with no realtime information baked into them.  On the other hand, today’s buttons have constantly-changing data showing, for example, how many times a story has been reTweeted on Twitter or Liked on Facebook.  This realtime information requires a separate call to each respective site to receive the current data.  This process takes time, and when a web publisher or blogger uses three or four buttons beneath multiple stories on a given page, each unique button has to load.

…Button Overload is beginning to take shape across the web. Often, I simply want to read a story that sounds interesting, and I don’t care if it has been liked 75 times on Facebook, reTweeted 45 times on Twitter, shared 5 times on Buzz, and that I can be the first to submit it to Digg.

6 replies on “Stop putting bloody buttons on your websites”

I remember when it was considered insanely stupid to make your front page bigger than 500kB. Then everyone got broadband and stopped caring. But now everyone’s surfing on phones, Web designers could do a lot worse than revisiting that maxim.

I think you’re being generous here – I’m sure the recommended number was less than a tenth of that, at 40K.

Most of my phone browsing is done via RSS or Instapaper’s mobiliser, which strips all the crap and makes sites more accessible. It (and similar tools such as Readability or the reading mode in the latest Safari) remove a lot of the nonsense.

It’s not just loading speeds, though, it’s a desktop, able-bodied mentality. Some sites, such as RBS’s online banking, are a scrolly menace on mobile. YouGov is unusable if you don’t want to go mouse crazy. And so on, and on, and on.

You’re probably just remembering a bit further back than me. I’m sure there was a time when it was 1k.

Maybe I’m just a bit of a design geek, but the way sites look is part of the whole Web experience for me. I totally see the point of RSS, but I’ve tried it and find that once every site looks exactly the same I lose all interest in reading them.

I think we read online in different ways. For me, RSS is a way to scan dozens of very busy websites for things I want to read, and the lack of design is a bonus – my RSS reader uses a thing called Mobilizer, which is a bit like Readability, to strip out page furniture, ads, etc. Skins such as Helvetireader for Google Reader mean I can be sure that my reading won’t be spoiled by bad colours, horrible fonts and other joys.

I don’t mind a couple of buttons at most – usually Facebook and Twitter. But it depends on your audience!

It looks spammy/desperate (and as if you have no idea what your doing) if you’ve got Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Myspace, Blogger, MyFace, FaceBo… etc.

It’s not just spammy. I’m sitting here on a 20 megabit broadband connection, and I’m *still* spending huge amounts of time watching a website’s header image while the rest of the page hasn’t loaded and the status bar tells me it’s waiting for facebook, for Digg, for… you get the idea.

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