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'Snap Preview Anywhere' Review

I am seeing a lot of sites using the Snap Preview Anywhere. I just cannot understand why people are using it - it adds almost no value to the page.

Only the title is readable

If you can read the text in the linked page, there will be some advantage - but the only thing that can be read using the Snap tool is the heading of the page. Yes, knowing the title is useful - but you don't need a screenshot for that. The '<A>' tag has a 'title' attribute that does the job ver well.

The rest of the text is unreadable because the screenshot is small. No - the solution is not creating a bigger preview - the solution is using title attribute.

Obscures text

If you hover over a hyperlink, a small window appears that will show the preview - and hide a lot of text. This will break the flow while reading. I constantly find myself maneuvering the mouse to avoid stepping on these 'virtual land-mines'.

Not Marked

Some sites use this only for external links - and some for internal links as well. But all the links are marked in the same way - making it harder for me(and others) to navigate through this 'mine field'.

Added 20K Download

The Javascript file behind this is 20.8 KB - not adding the images that will be downloaded later. Are you sure that the advantage of this script justifies this extra load?

Privacy Issue

You are calling a script from a third party site. Basically you are handing over your useage stats to this site. Snap has a Privacy Policy statement. I recommend you go through it before using the script on your site. I am not sure wether this privacy policy is for their site or their script. If you know, please let me know.

Users hate it

Maybe hate is a strong word - but when Darren Rowse at Problogger asked the visitors about their opinion about Snap, the majority said "No, thanks". This caused Darren to remove the script from his site.

The Code

I took a look under the hood - I downloaded the JS file and took a look at the code. It was compressed so I had to use a code beautifier. Snap uses Object Literals - so it will not wreak havoc with your javascript code. However I saw some for-in loops - I don't know how they will hold up if your site uses Prototype.

Disable Snap Globally

Despite all these negative things, I liked this thing about Snap. There is an option to deactivate the script globally. Just follow the 'Disable Snap Link' and snap will be disabled for all sites. More details about the Disable feature.

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Jay said...

100% agree with you on this one. Snap preview is the most useless thing you can enable on a blog. It is pretty irritating when you want to hover over a link and see the URL only. So i think providing a preview option separate from the link is ok.

Ajay said...

I agree with some of the points you raised.

Regarding using the title attribute. Not may users are aware about the same. In Firefox, alt doesn't work for images and you have to use the title.
An remember there are many blogging / running sites without knowing the nity-gritties.

I agree about the suddon popups. Incidently since a class is used, these can be styled seperately in a stylesheet... you have given me an idea :)

From what I have seen online, there is a mixed response to SPA. Some hate it and others love it. The downloads on my site and the statistics of Snap show that.

And like you said it can be disabled. I'm still figuring out if I can implement a feature in my plugin that will let visitors disable it on my site.

Binny V A said...

Hey Ajay! Nice to see you here.

> I'm still figuring out if I can implement a feature in my plugin that will let visitors disable it on my site.
This feature already exists in the snap code. Just click the 'Options' link in the popup - you can disable the popups for the current site - or globally.

fruityoaty said...

My personal blog made that SPA Top 100 list... and I'm quite surprised and honoured. Although some people have commented that they don't like it, just as many people have also said they love the SPA feature.

For now, I'm going to stick with it. I really love the visual preview aspect before going a site.