Snap Previews: Yay or Nay

By | January 29, 2007

Snap Previews

A while back I started using Snap Previews. They’re those little popup boxes that appear whenever you roll-over a link that leads to an external site. They give you a little preview of where you’ll be going.

Personally, I like the preview, but today I read a post over at Binary Bonsai about disabling snap previews. It looks like Michael, the author, isn’t as much of a fan as I am, and he’s not alone.

So, what do you think? Do you find them useful, or just annoying? Should I remove them completely, or should people who don’t like them just disable the preview themselves?

tip: to disable the previews, click the “options” link in the upper right corner of the preview window. You’ll be able to disable the previews for this site, or for all sites.

UPDATE (1.31.07): I’m still debating on if I’ll be keeping the previews or not, but I’ve noticed 2 things that I find quite interesting…

  1. In the comments here, and on Binary Bonsai, people have equated Snap Previews to pop-up ads. Why is that? I mean, they’re not really pop-up ads, they’re previews. Is it because they have the Snap logo on them?
  2. I’m a very visual person. I like the previews because they give me the opportunity to see where I’m going. For me, seeing a destination may be the deciding factor in my decision to go there. If you follow this story back from here, to Binary Bonsai, to Kottke, the Daring Fireball… you’ll notice that the other three sites use little to no images in any of their posts, and they all hate the previews. I use an image in almost every post, and I like the previews. Is there some connection between people who hate the previews, and people who don’t use images in their blogs?

Keep the comments coming. This is very interesting to me.


17 Comments

Richard on January 29, 2007 at 3:55 pm.

I’m not a particularly big fan, they change the standard user experience on some sites, but not others. It would be about a million times better if Snap focused their attention on integrating the technology with the browser, as Firefox or Safari plugins or what not.

Although that said, I certainly do not hate them, and have once or twice found them useful here on your blog. It’s just annoying when you then expect that behavior on other sites and don’t get it.

Something this made me think about – how good would it be if Google had screenshots of websites next to their title and description in the search results? I’d enjoy that much more.

All the best,
Richard

JOhn on January 29, 2007 at 4:35 pm.

Personally, I dig it. Just a quick peak into the possible future. I might even save some time if the link goes somewhere I have already been. That’s my 2 cents.

Kelly on January 29, 2007 at 4:37 pm.

I find them annoying, but wouldn’t resort to not reading a site over them. I’m so used to forcing links into new tabs for quick views that this is not something I find useful. Also, it’s a bit disconcerting when you are not expecting it.

liz on January 29, 2007 at 5:59 pm.

I’m not really a fan of them either, but I can see how they can be appealing to others.

John Arnor G. Lom on January 29, 2007 at 8:24 pm.

I’m a nay-sayer on them, really… I too can see the appeal, but to me, they are simply annoying…

Ross Graham on January 30, 2007 at 2:46 pm.

They’re certainly not as annoying as popup advertising. I didn’t know about the method to disable them for all sites, and just took care of that. Thanks for the tip.

I probably won’t mind visiting sites with them at all anymore. :)

Yong Hwee on January 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm.

A little annoying but I’m using it on my blog.. =)

nic sizzle on January 30, 2007 at 9:18 pm.

nay say i.

Josh on January 30, 2007 at 11:45 pm.

I’m not a fan. It’s about as bad as those stupid ad banners that feel like expanding over the content you’re actually trying to get at.

Jim on January 31, 2007 at 6:23 am.

Second only to the “link advertising” (where you don’t know if you’re clicking a relevant link, or an ad) in the annoyance factor. I’ve turned them off on all sites.

Maximillian on January 31, 2007 at 10:17 am.

Big nay.

woneffe on January 31, 2007 at 4:51 pm.

Is there some connection between people who hate the previews, and people who don’t use images in their blogs?

I say no. I’m very visual too, and I like blogs that try to have an image in every post, and I’m someone who tries for the same. But I can’t stand these pop ups. They are pretty much as annoying as pop up ads. I don’t like that when I move my cursor across the screen I have these things popping up. It’s an action that I didn’t choose and didn’t want.

As for them being a way of knowing if you want to go to a site or not… The person linking you to the site should be the one letting you know the sites worth. If a site isn’t worth visiting, the author maybe shouldn’t link to it. I know ahead of time from the blog I’m reading and my history with the author if they usually send me to good links or not.

woneffe on January 31, 2007 at 4:53 pm.

It doesn’t even show an accurate view of the linked site. The link to my site above is showing a capture of it from almost two months ago. I’ve tweaked the look a bit since then.

Jon on January 31, 2007 at 7:51 pm.

It doesn’t give enough info to make a decision (beyond “the jump site doesn’t look bad). So there isn’t much real enhancement to the user experience. And therefore becomes more of an irritation.
Also, I trust this site…trust that the info will be pretty relevant to me and that any jump will also be, that’s why I’m here in the first place. So I don’t feel any need to “double check” where I might jump with a snap preview.
I think it would be more relevant and worthwhile on Google (like Richard said in the first comment) somewhere I don’t trust too much but still end up all the time.
There was or maybe still is a Firefox add-on that created Google previews next to each search result and it was fantastic, but became buggy and I had to disable it. There is also an add-on called Coolaris (Sp?) Previews it actually was a full size “snap preview” of sorts that you could actually use (scroll, click links, etc.) it was pretty sweet too, however the constant “popping up” everywhere was giving me a headache.

davidholbrook on January 31, 2007 at 10:34 pm.

I don’t know why but some how they ethire remind me of (as said above) the annoying green “pop-up” ads or the old pop-up window that they use to have (and may still have) in anglefire for free accounts. Also it seems that the snap previews can be easily confuse with pop-up advertising because most modern browsers block popup windows, so now insead marketers are trying to go after AJAX type pop-up “fill your screen” advertising that goes over everything (including content). I think that if snap previews where smaller and somehow more out of the way (like somehow on the sidebar) I could get along with them better but for right now it just seems to much of a advertiser scheme.

wheat on February 1, 2007 at 12:56 pm.

At first I really hated them, but I didn’t realize then that end users can disable them globally or on a site-by-site basis. So there’s no need to have a Firefox plugin (like flashblock) for them as any user can disable them. I think pop-up ads have made users very sensitive to unsolicited windows appearing. So what once would have been considered a nice new feature will have to fight an uphill battle. Kudos to Snap for giving users the ability to block them. I’ve already blocked them for this site.

Personally, I hover links and read the status bar before jumping to a site. That generally gives me all the info I need. I increasingly read sites via RSS, so things like this aren’t much of a distraction.

typo180 on February 13, 2007 at 11:30 am.

It’s late in the game, but I don’t like Snap previews at all. The concept is good, but the high potential for accidental mouse-overs kills it. I don’t like little boxes popping up all over while I’m reading and especially when I’m skimming through a page.

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