Today’s P.I.T.A.: Music and Video That Auto-starts

If you’re sitting there working on this great idea for a web page that you want to build, take my advice and DON’T put video and / or audio embeds on the page that autostart. That’s been one of my biggest Internet Peeves since back in my 300bps dialup days. I mean, I am not a hamster, nor am I sitting here with a new set of Bose headphones anxiously awaiting everybody’s idea of what constitutes “great music” to come rolling into my ears within seconds of loading your page.

Why you ask, do I not want to hear your music autostart? For one reason, it’s very likely that I don’t like whatever it is that you consider music. This is particularly likely if the alleged music in question was composed after 1990. Another reason is that it’s rude and inconsiderate.

You have no idea what kind of connection your visitors are using and there’s still a lot of people out there using dialup connections. Granted, I doubt many are still restricted to 300bps, but the idea remains the same. If a site is slow loading for me on a 3Mbit DSL connection, what do you suppose it’s going to be like for Joe User stuck behind a dialup connection on a 56k modem?

If music is bad, video is a hundred times worse simply because there’s so much more data involved in a video stream. Better by far to offer visitors a choice. Don’t code your embeds to autostart. Instead, let the users click the “Play” button if they want to hear your music or watch your video.

If I came to your house carrying a stereo and turned it on a second after I came in the door blasting out something *I* thought was great without even asking if you want to hear it, you’d kick my sorry arse out so fast heads would spin.

Same thing applies to web pages. If a page Auto-starts music or video and I can’t find a “stop” button within ONE SECOND of it starting, then I’m off that page as soon as I can accomplish what I’m there fore. If there’s no “stop” button at all, I no longer care what you’ve got on it or how bad I want what you’re selling, I’m gone.

In either case any feedback, recommendation or review I give will have a negative aspect to it because the Auto-start thing is right up there with not being able to easily read the page because of bad color combinations, small font sizes and so on.