Sometimes the best gift isn’t a shiny new gizmo or the latest streaming video service. Getting rid of an annoyance or eliminating a hassle is often more valuable than getting new stuff.
So with that addition-by-subtraction philosophy in mind, here’s a list of top tech annoyances created through a totally unscientific survey of colleagues, family, and friends. If your company is on this list, we have some ideas for you that might make your customers happy. Or at least less bitchy.
1: Stop begging. For our contact lists. Yes LinkedIn (LNKD) we’re looking at you. The career networking service has lost its luster of late, and the primary reason (for me at least) is the incessant nagging for our contacts. All our contacts. All the time.
Trust me, the contacts we want in are already in, and there are good reasons for not adding the rest—like the junior PR associate from three jobs ago. Or the weirdo ex-roommate whose contact info may still be on in Gmail, but who, believe me, no one should hire. And, LinkedIn, you would know this, if you ever read your own user help forum (or here, or here). We really wish you would stop but suspect that your business model depends on this incessant nudging. Which makes us think about opting out altogether.
2: And interrupting. Talk about a genius business model. Facebook (FB) sells the annoying ads that pop up between your Scrabble moves. It also sells ads for the equally annoying “ad removal” programs that allegedly stop said pop-ups. Talk about win-win. Or more accurately, if you’re a player, lose-lose.
3: And being overly helpful. Microsoft’s (MSFT) Office 365’s Clutter feature is just silly. Based on your past behavior, it figures out which messages are must-reads and which are marginal. The latter go to a Clutter file, aka the not-quite-spam filter. Microsoft will undoubtedly say Clutter resulted from customer demand. But just who asked for this? Seems like yet another solution in search of a problem
4: Leave my Wi-Fi alone. When I worked at home, I foolishly thought I was connected through the sanctity of my own Wi-Fi network. So imagine the annoyance when Comcast keeps defaulting my connection to a public Xfinity hotspot. This happens to people who rent a Comcast (CMCSA) cable modem because those zillions of public Xfinity hotspots we keep hearing about piggyback on our home Comcast modems. Comcast says it warned us all about this, but I don’t remember getting the memo. The good news is there is a workaround. (More here on this Comcast practice).
5: Stop the interruptions. Google’s (GOOG) mobile search page barrages us with unsolicited information about Google’s mobile apps every time we venture on. Amazon (AMZN) seems a tad too interested in how we feel about the latest tchotchke we bought online. Apple (AAPL) Safari is too nosy about our location at any given time and Twitter (TWTR)keeps asking how we like it showing us what we missed while we were out. Hey, Google-Amazon-Apple-Twitter here’s the answer: WE DON’T LIKE IT AT ALL!
6: Nuke autoplay. There is a special place in hell for web sites (some near and dear to our hearts) that force users to watch videos—whether advertisements or editorial content—when they just want to read a story. Double damnation points for sites that don’t let you disable autoplay.
7: Fatwa on slide shows. Do media properties (you know who you are) that gin up 50-top-execs or the 100-best-places-to-retire stories expect readers to click through that mess? That’s a lot of page views for very little content, and therefore appealing to the publisher. But not to the reader. Many never make it past slide one.
8: Pipe down the pop-ups. Media people view pop-up ads as a necessary evil—publishers have bills to pay after all. But ads that cover parts of the story we’re trying to see are just rude. And they likely engender not so-very-warm feelings toward the advertiser and gave rise to the ad blocker phenomenon. And how about the pop-up ads that request you not to use a pop-up blocker. Oh the irony of it all.
No, no one really expects pop-up ads or intrusive apps to go the way of the dodo bird, but the whole point of a wish list is to think big..
If you’re more into gadgets for the holidays, check out this Fortune video.
For more from Barb, you can follow her on Twitter @gigabarb; read her Fortune coverage atfortune.com/barb-darrow; or subscribe via her RSS feed.
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