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On Wikia-powered sites, when you click on a external link, you're greeted with:

You are leaving ...
Your browser will redirect you to the page you requested in a few seconds. Want to go back?
+----------------------------+
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|       ADVERTISEMENT        |
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+----------------------------+
        Skip this Ad

This seems like bad user experience to me. Every link is hijacked by a full-page advertisement and the user is forced to scroll and click to actually get to their destination.

The only pro I can see for a "navigating away" type of interface like this is on a school, government or advice website. For example, on medical websites, advertisements may blend into the background, where it is not clear whether you are still reading vetted information or something that's promotional. But in the case of wikia, clicking on external links is basically bound to happen.

Are there any pros to this type of practice?

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There are, in fact, 2 parts to your question, one regarding the warning and the other one regarding the advertisements.

The uses of the warning

It is not bad practice, in fact, for a site like a wiki it might be a very good thing to do! Doing so tells the user that they don't guarantee that the linked content is correct, offensive, malicious or anything that doesn't conform to their level of quality and also that any information you find there is in no way directly affiliated with them. I agree that they could've been more clear then just saying 'Leaving page...'.

Whatever the reason may be, as a user, you're snapped out of your normal flow and will probably now reconsider if the next page is "safe to use" (in the broadest meaning of the word). Not every site has something to gain by doing so (or lose by not doing so). You'll see it more often on banking, governement, some news sites, ...

More can be found in this book (link to excerpt):

https://www.safaribooksonline.com/library/view/javascript-cookbook/9781449390211/ch08s05.html

The uses of the advertisement

most sites need some form of income, if it be any place to put it, then IMHO let it be there and not, as you yourself mentioned, right next to the sites own (trustworthy) content; at the very least they tried to lower the discomfort of the ad by automatically redirecting (although for wikia, it takes forever to do so). Nobody really likes advertisements (I think?), but (good) servers ain't free. But than again, the following article challenges even that:

http://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-advertising-doesnt-work-on-the-web/

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    +1, but I think you should drop that last link after checking the year ;-) . I mean, it's true that advertising isn't a pot of gold, but reality is that it turned out to be good enough for a lot of advertisers and a lot of content writers in the last 10 years (I mean, just in the context of this question: it definitely keeps wikia.com up and running). And in general be a bit skeptical of nngroup.com, but that's a different story. – user2908232 Aug 24 '15 at 20:00
  • Yeah, I was really doubting to put the link, but the last update was from 2007, so thought maube that it was relevant enough :p I agree, nng isn't the book of answers, just wanted to be complete. Thanks for your input :-) – Xabre Aug 24 '15 at 20:03

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