Friday, August 18th, 2006>p> With search engines pushing more and more to find that next great feature, you never know what they’ll come up with. When Ask.com decided to shake things up and rework their site, they included “handy binocular functionality” to show a preview of the site. Unfortunately, as is talked about in this new article on SpectorBrain.com, this might not be exactly what web developers had in mind.
One such feature, named â€œBinocularsâ€œ, allows the user to see a site preview by rolling over a, you guessed it, binocular icon. With the help of AJAX technology, this thumbnail image appears without refreshing the page. While itâ€™s obviously a cool feature thatâ€™s intended set Ask.com apart from the competition, there are some usability and design issues that should be addressed.
Iâ€™m sorry to have to break it to all of my fellow web designers out there, but this pixilated 246Ã—260 screenshot is now part of the userâ€™s decision-making process. This also means that it should be part of our design process.
He continues on in the article talking about a few ways to help work with this feature and make a site all that it can be (or at least look that way). The four suggestions are:
- Visual Emphasis of Site
- Inaccurate Previews
- Product Treatment
- Behavioral Interruption
Since it’s not pulled in real-time from the page itself, there’s a little less a developer can do to control the thumbnail that’s posted, but by having a well-designed site some of those concerns can be alleviated.
But what I really want to know is how are they taking the screen shots of the sites? Can anyone tell what browser/rendering engine it might be using? Does it show Ajax content in the shot or does it just leave that section blank?