Hear No Evil

Web pages should have good manners. They should not distract me with too much movement. They should work well in standards compliant browsers. They should be accessible. And pleeeeeeeeease, never surprise me with sounds!

I detest pages that automatically play audio or video clips. Recent examples that get under my skin:

UCLA’s home page (at least on 5/2/2005)
Sundance Online Film Festival

So, am I too old fashioned? Should web pages have the freedom to be as loud as they want to be?


  1. For now, I’m with you. But this will be an increasingly interesting discussion as television and the web grow closer together, seemingly by the day.

  2. I agree, especially when the sound really adds no value. As in “Welcome to NASA dot gov”. (My favorite is the Scott Bacula one– really relevant.)

    I read somewhere that saying “Welcome to my web page” makes about as much sense as saying “Welcome to my press release” or “Welcome to my informational brochure”, which about sums up my feelings on that.

    Sound may make sense in some instances, like a band’s site, a symphony’s site, etc, but for me it must be relevant and add to the experience for me to tolerate it.

  3. I am fine with it as long as the sound is low and relatively quiet and the sound controls are easy to find.

  4. I’ve always wondered if I could just use accessibility as my reason for not including sound on pages. When you come to a noisy page and you are using a screenreader, it is very frustrating to try and hear JAWS over the noise.

    Rob, you’ve got a point about the convergence of tv & web. I guess I’d be okay with auto playing sounds and video if I knew I was going to a “broadcast” page. But I’m still rooting for well mannered web pages that don’t speak unless spoken to!

  5. Darnit Glenda! I was just about to make a site which automatically made monkey burping noises as the pages load, now I’ll just have to re-think the whole concept of monkeyburping.com

  6. Oi! You two! This is NOT fair. THAT is NOT me in that picture!
    And why you’re at it, why is Alex’s Flickr set getting more traffic than mine? ;)

  7. Because he has the embarrassing pictures, of course.

    I think half of the traffic is from me. For some reason, that photo really makes me giggle… I thiink I’ll go look at it again right now!

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