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Web users of the world unite

Web users of the world unite

What do we want? Websites to stop driving us to distraction. When do we want it? Now. An open letter to those in charge of online developments throughout the land.

We, the internet users of the world, are a simple people with simple needs.  We merely ask that when we invest our time on your website you merely give us what we ask for, answer our questions quickly, and don’t waste our time.  Specifically we humbly request the following:

Auto–play.  Please no automatic sound or video when we go to your site.  If we want sound or video we’ll go to Spotify or YouTube.  No moody garage music when we arrive thanks very much, especially if you’re a boutique hotel.  It does not make us want to have a cocktail in your moody lounge.

Dominant ads.  If you need to get your money by replacing the reason we came to your site (your content) with ads then online advertising is broken.  It doesn’t work.  If your advertisers think they are enhancing their brand by stalking us online they need to have a major rethink.

Myriad of advertising sins.  Please don’t push banners over text, don’t make white space a trendy rollover advert, don’t ask us to rollover the rollovers, and don’t give us a pop up surprise when we’re not asking.  See previous points for how this makes us think about brand, we get mad very easily.

Impossible Captchas.  OK so our eyesight isn’t what it was but please don’t make us have to be a Navaho code breaker in order to fill in your enquiry form.

Makey uppey search results.  If we go to your site, and search for “jobs” or “product 123xy” we don’t want 200 results, we want you to recognise that our need is clear and unambiguous and we want you to point us in 1 or 2, or at most 3 potential directions.

Dropdowns menu systems.  Don’t.  Just don’t.  Seriously.

Do you really exist?  Give us the confidence that you are real by giving us a phone number, an address and dare we suggest it, a little Google Maps insert. Go on, live a little!

Good pictures.  We don’t want smiley people in a range of David Brent business poses.  We want to see your business.  We want to see your products.  If you’re selling online, chances are we want to see your product in detail.  In fact the level of detail you give us is a big factor in us deciding whether or not to buy from you.  Help us buy from you, please?

No alternatives to Flash.  If we’re using our mobile phone or iPhone or Blackberry or small device, then we’re part of a growing band of people.  And we don’t expect to see nothing in place of where the PC and Mac community get a big shiny Flash app or widget.

Insistence on Registration.  You honestly don’t need to know who we are or where we’re from to show us your About Us section.  We don’t need to sign your Ts & Cs to allow you to disclaim everything before we decide if we can do business together.  If you ask us to disclaim everything before we decide then we’re afraid our minds are already made up.

Crazy Navigation.  Oh how we marvelled at your cool designers when we wanted to search your site and you’d hidden the search box below the fold on the site.  How trendy your creatives were to put navigation on the right and along the bottom.  We laughed ourselves silly all the way to your competitors site to complete our simple task there.

As we said at the start, we are simple people with simple needs.  But we’re not stupid.  And we do have the luxury of enormous choice.  So if you would like us to be customers please recognise that we are simple, and actually quite easily pleased, but we are not stupid.  In return we will happily do business with you online.

Yours sincerely

Everyone who has ever used the web


By Gareth Dunlop

Gareth formed Fathom in 2011 and has been in the business of design performance for over two decades.

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