Saw Ryan’s two-part anti-IntelliTXT rant, and I have to say I’m in 100% agreement with him. Now I’m going to go one step further. I want a full-on end-user-configurable WidgetBlocker. Widgets are unquestionably slowing down page loading, so if how about putting the control in my hands? Here’s my note to my blogging friends:
I, for one, don’t much care who your recent readers were, or what you are listening to on Last.FM (don’t take it personally – it’s just not why I visit your blog). If I want to see your photos, I’ll go to Flickr. I don’t need to see the latest cartoon from GapingVoid (though they are hilarious – but I’ll go there when I want to see them). I don’t care how many feedburner subscribers you have. I don’t really mind your most recent microblog/tweet entry, but do you need it to be in a 250px tall box?
For those of you who need to make money of your blog, fine, show the ads, I understand. But if you are just doing it to get an extra $50 bucks a month, maybe you should think about decluttering a little. At the very least, how about just cleaning up the layout enough that you don’t show ads that look like regular content?
There is a reason for services like My.Yahoo, PageFlakes and NetVibes. Maybe we can shift the widgetworld into letting people publish to each others’ pages, rather than slow down my ability to read your blog. So, I’ve gone ahead and registered widgetblocker.com. Anyone want to build the plugin with me?
I hear ya JT.
I don’t care what the weather is like in some other State or what their latest vacation photos look like. 🙂
I do use AdBlock Plus with the Element hiding helper for a lot of sites though. It won’t detect a new widget, but you can select the widget you don’t want to see and you will never see it again.
This is really only good for sites you visit often, but better than nothing. 🙂
Hey! Ever heard of RSS?
Your post is another reminder that I need to re-design my blog so it’s cleaner and more user-friendly. 🙂 Any suggestions about a good three-column theme?
I agree with you whole heartedly… but in this day and age, everyone is trying to be a webstar. The blogaratti want everyone to know everything about them. It’s like a virtual reality television show. I do have to say, though, I like Flickr widgets, as I don”t usually go to Flickr w/o clicking through a widget (I’m guilty of featuring that one on my blog). Let me know when you get widgetblocker.com up and running, I’d love to help out with that ;>.
I think you’re onto something here. The load times for external .js files can be debilitating. This includes on-site functionality such as Anarchy player, GeoRSS and other plug-ins that load on every page whether they’re needed or not.
Excellent points. One of the reason that we have resisted the clutter in the first place, and while the draw of making an extra $20 a month in Google Adsense is tempting, not having clutter wound up being more important.
I use AdBlock Plus too, and you get a little block option above most widgets… I love it, I am getting to a point where I hardly see any flashy ads or widgets I don’t want too!
agree this stuff does slow down the load time, but… some of us are blogging for our friends, who live in different states and different countries and who DO want to know what we are reading and listening too (although I don’t have lastFM on my site). I always check out what my favorite bloggers are thinking about via their sidebar. I have gotten some great reading, craft, food, vacation, non-profits to support, ideas from the sidebar widgets and whatnot. AND I have discovered quite a few new blogs that I really like by following the recent readers showing up on the blogs that I already read. LOVE the vacation pictures and, especially if I am reading a blog that is in a state/country I will soon be visiting, want to know the weather. Maybe some of us are just a little more interested in the person behind the blog and can wait for the page to load? : )
I have a widgetblocker already: Platypus for Greasemonkey. Tidies everything up just dandy, giving me precisely the version of a page I want. Combined with Adblock, I see very little I don’t want to see.
Your rant’s a little over the top, imo… If you don’t know a person’s Flickr address, for example, how would you go straight to Flickr to see their photos? I think instead of a widgetblocker, one really needs a widgetrenicer…something to put manners and decorum and taste into widgets that are overblown, set to outlandish sizes, or otherwise exhibit unnecessarily annoying behaviour.
Otherwise, I agree with the basic sentiment of your post, but I don’t know that I’d personally actually go quite as far as you apparently want to and suggest is necessary.
Jennifer – I think you’ve pretty much made my point for me. If you want to view all the little badges and such, you don’t have to use said WidgetBlocker. I, on the other hand, am not interested in these things, and would choose to use it. While I very much think these addons tend to clutter and distract from a blog, its up to the individual to make their choice…
Adam – wouldn’t a link to their Flickr page suffice? And again, you could choose to use WidgetBlocker and allow certain widgets, such as Flickr. Remember, my WidgetBlocker would have killer UI and options for making such selections. 🙂
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