December 6th 2011
There are some thing we all know we must never do with a technology. For example, we all know we must not do a welcome page in flash anymore, we also know that little animated gif envelopes are banned from contact forms.
These examples have done nothing more than give us content to mock at these poor technology choices.
There seems to be general consensus about these and quite frankly, they are banned because they either don’t bring anything more to the user or are plain ugly.
Let’s be careful with how we handle all these new APIs that are available to us.
I think they should now enter the hall of fame of bad use of technology. I just came across this FWA website of the month today and god is it bad.
It uses popups to create a game that works pretty much the same way The Incredible Machine worked. The concept is not bad at all, but the execution is where it fails.
The programmers did a very good job, all the cases are well handled and the game seems to work as intended. That’s not where the problem is.
I’ve tried to play with it for a good 15 minutes, I got the hang of it but the technological choice was really in the way, making it hard to enjoy the game itself.
Good technology is not magic dust
We always need to be careful when we make a technological choice, we have all these great tools we can use today but because we can use them does not mean we should.
Technology should enhance user experience, not get in the way. Many times while playing that game I clicked mistakenly on the background causing all the popups to go behind the main screen forcing me to press the “restart” button. That’s a good thing the programmers thought of implementing that functionality.
Also, every time you load a level, you have these popups that loads in the bottom left of the screen and then are repositioned, you get the feeling that so much stuff happen at the same time that you have no clue where you should focus.
In now way did the popups enhance the experience. This type of experience worked well with The Wilderness Downtown and that’s probably because you could enjoy the site passively not having to interact with anything while watching the videoclip.
Where it hurts the most is that this site is seen as a technological demo of what HTML5 can do. What’s the takeaway after playing this game? “HTML5 can move popups and play videos!”. Really I feel we’ll laugh at that 5 years down the road.