Not Evangelism

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Websites that disable right-click: BT Digital Vault

Not so long ago, I wrote about the website design anti-pattern of disabling the user's right mouse button.

This odious and unnecessary practice is largely ineffective in preventing users from "stealing" copyrighted content (once the main reason trumpeted). It kills user experience, neatly breaking any trust with users (if the website is prepared to prevent me doing this, what else are they up to?), and also gives the impression of an amateurish, unprofessional company.

So imagine my delight this week when, researching online storage, I came across this wonderful example of what not to do on the BT Digital Vault website.

The message itself is completely useless; it doesn't give any feedback about why the "function" is "disabled", nor what the user can do about it;  it's a door slammed in the user's face without rhyme or reason. In this particular case, it's also inexplicable. The picture above shows the entirety of the page; there's no obvious copyrighted content.  The one positive note is that it doesn't imply that the function has been disabled as the result of a user action.

But I think my (least) favourite thing about the message displayed in the alert box is the exclamation mark. To my ears, the website is shrilly shrieking at me. The silly thing.

For the record, I closed the browser window without registering.

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