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Snap Preview – Tell me What You Think

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of December 2006 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

There are a number of tools that I’ve been meaning to test on my blogs over the past few months and so this weekend I’ve decided to get a few of them up and running.

The first one that you’ll notice I’m testing at ProBlogger is Snap. I’ve added it to my blogging tools page.

Put your cursor over any external links on any of my pages (except AdSense ads as far as I can see) and Snap will give you a preview of what you’ll see on that site before you actually go there (see below for an example).

Picture 1

I’m in two minds about this – while I can see some readers as enjoying it I suspect it’ll annoy others. So consider this a test and your opportunity to tell me how you find the user experience of the tool.

PS: Snap comes with a ‘search’ tool which you can switch on or off. I’ve left it switched off at this point as I already have a search tool on my blog using Google’s AdSense tool.

The search uses Snap’s search engine tool which I suspect what they’ve developed this tool to promote.

Update: I think it’s fairly safe to assume that I’ll be removing these in the coming day or so. I won’t do it immediately to give other readers a chance to see them in action – but the overwhelming feedback to this point is that they are not working for a majority of readers (although as expected the reaction is divided).

I would consider leaving them active in the comments section though as I do like the idea of one of our comments below that they can be useful there (having said that I probably won’t). Feel free to keep having your say though!

Update 2: I’ve disabled this. Thanks all for the feedback.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I think this is one of those things that sounds cool on paper and upon first experience, but soon becomes a usability annoyance.

    I’ve started seeing this everywhere all of a sudden. It’s actually a bit jarring when one pops up just by accidently scrolling over link text.

    This just doesn’t seem to be something that is in the reader’s best interest, imo.

  2. I do like it in the comments though. Is it possible to use it only there?

  3. I’ve never been a big fan of Snap Preview. To me it’s just distracting, and annoying when it pops up every time I accidentally roll over a link. If I really want to see a site that is being linked to, I’ll just click the link and find out for myself.

  4. Dario says: 12/18/2006 at 6:20 am

    Useful I will try it with http://www.businesshackers.com as I have many links to different economic websites…

  5. Darren, Snap just emailed me with details on modifying the preview so you can decide which links use the pop-up. Here’s the link to the FAQ that explains how.


  6. I stared at this for a few seconds. I was putting my cursor over links and thing was happening. Then I read your updates. I guess I wont be trying it.

  7. I have also tried similar plugins like Cool Iris in the past — what I found is that they are more annoying than convenient. I have several extensions currently installed in Firefox — over the last year I have only consistently used a hand full of them.

    Top favorites for the year: BackPack Extension, CSSViewer, Colorzilla, Firebug, & Showcase.

    That said, I would be interested in being able to modify which links an extension like Cool Iris or Snap can preview. That may make it a more practical addition to my extension arsenal.

  8. Oddly enough, it works for some sites for me but not when I hover over links (in comments) to my own site.

  9. […] Snap Preview – Tell me What You Think […]

  10. […] Added snap to my blog today. So, that means you can have a preview of how the external links that I am referring to you looks like.I first saw this on Techcrunch and I like the way they show the site being referred to anywhere in the blog post.After all, it’s free anyway, so why not?And to implement it into my blog, I only need to add a few javascript into the head section of my blog. Very simple, isn’t it?Or you can just install a wordpress plugin. Find out more about Snap, and try it on your blog, you will like it :p […]

  11. Im glad you’ve removed them. I found them intrusive and they “slow down” the user experience because some thumbnails take forever to load…

    Anyway, great experience I must say, I enjoyed reading all the feedback and knowing how intruse or usable they are and what people think about these type of pop-ups!

  12. I had them on my Blog for about 3 weeks now, and I’ve gotten the same feedback. It seems that the novelty wore of pretty quickly, and most people found them almost as annoying as contextual inline ads.

    Bye bye, Snap.

  13. Right,

    It is almost as annoying as pop-ups for blogs (imho).

    However there are places which makes sense using SPA.

    I use it currently in our beta ( http://tinyurl.com/y9wcbn ) web2.0 app. And people are pretty happy about it.

    Some comments (translated from Turkish)

    “Thanks for the extension, it’s a great ease to see what a site looks like before I actually visit it.”

    “… by the way I really liked the site tooltip thing…”

    “… now the site is more dynamic than ever.”

    I don’t know, it’s may be because we attach SPA script dynamically **after** all content loads. Hence it does not have a negative impact on user wait time
    there’s more info for ajax geeks on how to do it here:

    So, I guess, it depends on the context of your site / web application.

    Cheers and happy new year.

  14. Hi Darren:

    Actually, I was evaluating to include the Snap Preview feature in my blog, but I was not sure about that.

    It is easy to include the feature, but the traffic overload and the annoying windows troubled me.

    Your post and the valuable comments of your users convinced me. Simple is best. The readers of my blog are looking for good content, not fancy forms or bells and whistles.

    Happy new year and thank you very much for your advices.

    Best regards …


  15. […] The main page for S.P.A. is covered with lots of praise from bloggers who love the service, but let’s face it: bloggers are not users. It’s one thing to assume that your users will like S.P.A., but it’s another to actually ask users what they think. If any gimmick web service advertises approval from people like Mike Arrington, Scott Beale, and Ryan Carson, let’s face it… that says nothing to me. I care what my readers say, and I can get that right here in the comments. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger took the time to do as such, and the majority of users agreed that S.P.A. was a bad addition. I think if more bloggers did the same, they would find that S.P.A. is a bad idea. After all, users know best! […]

  16. […] Snap Preview Anywhere was released last week on WordPress.com blogs, a feature unappreciated and frustrating for serious bloggers and Internet users, but an appreciated gimmick for the easily amused and impressed. ;-) Still, it’s amazing how vocal the public opinion has been against Snap Preview and other link popups. Some of the top bloggers have given this a try and passed on it. […]

  17. […] However, you can really only see the basic page layout, you can’t possibly make out the text and it can be annoying if you’re scrolling through a page and you get what is essentially a pop-up. There have been negative comments on it as well, you’ll see a good summary of the bad points in these posts. […]

  18. […] Darren Rowse at ProBlogger disabled it and he’s certainly a good lead to follow. Darren Barefoot’s Not Feeling It. The Montoya Herald says, It’s a bad idea, dumb bloggers love it (though I can’t support the name calling). Lorelle has even gone so far as to publicly apologize to her readers for having used it. Others who began are disabling it as well. […]

  19. […] This tool is a little like Snap (which I tried for less than 24 hours here on ProBlogger – but took down after many complaints) but instead of showing you a tiny screen capture of where a link on a website leads – iReader lets you preview it’s content in text and as a little list (and don’t we love a good list). […]

  20. […] Anywhere widget it was disabled by most major blogs after just a short trial because users hate it (problogger, johnchow, lorelle, digital inspiration, a VC, instigator, ). NOTE: Readers can disable Snap […]

  21. It’s a fad, which makes me hate it from the start.

    “…and since the preview is too small to see anything but a thumbnail of the layout, I don’t see what benefit it provides the reader here. (On sites of questionable integrity, it would be a great way to avoid spam-filled links, though.)”

    I would use it for those purposes, too. To *attempt* to avoid a bad site, but that will not always work. Also, I’m glad that the preview is not big enough for the reader to see the entire site. That’s something that worried me. I initially thought that Snap would drive away would-be visitors. Since they already saw a preview, what’s the point of actually clicking the link? I actually still think that it does. The visitor could decide that he just doesn’t like the way your site looks and decide not to visit; I do that sometimes.

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