Snap Preview: Good or Bad?

WordPress.com recently started offering Snap Preview for all users and you can see it in action right here. In case you don’t know what Snap Preview is, just hover your mouse over one of the links and you’ll find out. Personally, I really like this and it’s something that I’ve been wanting for quite a while. But it looks like not everyone is happy with this. Fellow WordPress.com blogger Lorelle dislikes Snap Preview saying:

I’ve also stumbled across these link previews and find them not just annoying and distracting but incredibly frustrating. My mouse will drift down as I’m reading and suddenly I can’t read what’s underneath the pop-up window. I move my mouse and it goes away, but why should I waste my wrist action on something I don’t want to see?

In fact, she calls it a blight on the Internet. Now though I don’t quite agree with her exact wording I can understand how this can be irritating. And the points that she makes about load times being increased are certainly valid.

After thinking it over, there are a number of things that come to mind. Firstly it is not an essential feature of a blog or website and it never will be. Is it a useful one? That depends on the user. Personally, I like it. I feel that it gives a slightly more “community” feel. After all, links are the heartblood of the internet and I consider Snap Preview to be a healthy improvement on the existing link system. Another thing that Snap has going for it is it’s customizability. You can turn it off for internal links (links on the same site) and more importantly, you can turn off it’s automatic feature and use it only on links you want to. But you need to have the JavaScript for it handy to do that and unfortunately WordPress.com doesn’t provide that.

If you’re running your own website or blog, you might want to give it a try. Sign up and put the JavaScript in your page headers and keep it there for a week. If you don’t like it or if your visitors complain, you can always remove it. As for this blog, Snap Preview is here for the time being, but I’m open to suggestions. If you have a novel way of using Snap Preview, let me know.

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Published by

Shrutarshi Basu

Programmer, writer and engineer, currently working out of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

2 thoughts on “Snap Preview: Good or Bad?”

  1. “sense of community”? I’m curious as to how you came up with that one? Honestly, does a preview of a web page connect you with a community? It simply shows me a thumbnail of what I may see when I get there. Am I missing something?

    I’ve tried hard to find value in the Snap Preview gimmick, but the only benefit I’ve found is for portfolio, web designs, or photoblog previews, since they give you a “visual preview” of what you will see. As for content preview, not a chance.

    The biggest gripe I now have about this thing is that I have to go to the Snap Preview site to opt-out. I think those who want to use this on their site should add a big button that says “TURN THIS OFF” instead. 😉

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