Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I’m on the computer and internet all the time. I swear my laptop is attached as a third arm of mine sometimes. I know many of the visitors to Hoopie World run their own firefighting or departmental sites, so I thought I’d start giving some web design tips from time to time.
My first tip, is half tip – half rant. I know many feel very strongly on this topic and it can really harm your site and chances of people sticking around and checking it out if you don’t follow my advice. My advice is to NOT have embedded music on your site. Embedded music is the music that starts playing as soon as the visitor goes to your site. There is nothing more annoying, or more likely to cause visitors to click away from your site than to have music start blaring out you once a visitor lands on your site.
One reason its a bad idea is that if the visitor doesn’t like the particular song, it already puts a bad taste in their mouth, or ears in this case, while thinking and visiting your site. Another reason is that the music player usually slows down the pages loading, which in turn frustrates the visitor. Yes, with broadband connections pretty standard this days, its less of a concern, but it still causes a site to lag a little bit. Lastly, its an old fad that isn’t necessary anymore. It was neat back in the late 90’s to see what you can do with your web sites, but its really not necessary now. People are listening to their own mp3s or Ipods, watching streaming shows and sporting events, and watching tv in the background while surfing (I could name about 12 other things that I’m usually doing while surfing) and they really don’t need to be bothered with music that in all likelihood they aren’t going to like.
Now, if you are running a band site, or have audio that you would like to share with the visitors (like our fire dispatch audio section), link to the files and let the visitors stream them or download them ON THEIR TERMS. None of this force fed automatic stuff. Please do not say, well all they have to do is hit the stop or pause button to stop it. Most visitors are not on the site long enough to find the button if music starts playing.
So please, for a lot of people’s sanity, and to make your site better, remove the automatic music from your web site.