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Well, you do have a “Contact Us” form…

So, sometimes when I’m out and looking at different sites I come across something that I have to comment on.  If it’s something that is political or social then I usually just comment here.  However, if it’s about the site that I was visiting, or the company that runs the site, I look for the Contact Us forms or email addresses.  And usually, I have to type up some sort of description.  If for some chance I’m not at work or rushed, I can get long winded (gee, really?).  Which is odd for me, I’m usually pretty terse.  Well, it happened tonight.  I had a rather negative experience on my phone trying to view a video on a website.  I mean, a really, really negative experience.  So I had to comment.  It’s rather late and I get a bit goofy when it’s late.  This is what I ended up sending via the Contact Us form…

Hey, your mobile experience is horrible. I tried to watch a video embedded in one of your stories and it was just plain painful. Let me describe my pain.

I found an article on Facebook and clicked on it. It was slow loading. Which, sometimes happens since I was on my phone. I touched on the video screenshot. I Touched. Touched. Touched. Touched. Nothing. I knew this was the test of faith my religious leader talks about, so I touched once more and the video started. The audio played, but no video. I let it play for a while but still no video. I thought going to full screen would potentially cause the video to get back into sync. Again, my faith was tried. I touched the video to try and get the little progress bar where I knew the full screen button would be. I touched again, and again. If it responded at all, it just paused and resumed. I didn’t see the bar. I now don’t believe that those bars exist, my faith is broken. I thought that maybe my phone was having memory issues, so I cleared the memory and shut down all applications and started again.

This time, I new the process. Apparently something want’s me to either not see the video or learn patience because not 10 seconds into the video an ad starts to play Not a 10 second ad. Not a 20 second ad, not even a 30 or 45 second ad, a 60 second ad. “Just skip the ad!” you say to yourself. Well, I would have but on the mobile version there is no way to skip the ad like on the web version. It’s not a particularly good ad either. I mean, perhaps I’m spoiled with all of the decent Superbowl ads that have recently come out, but it still wasn’t a good ad. So, I muted the ad and waited (the top buttons showed up in the ad, but not the skip ad button on the bottom, or the other one on the opposite side of the skip ad button). Yes, I actually waited the 60 seconds (which is a very long time doing nothing). After the ad finished the clip started again but without any audio. Again, I touched the video to try to get the little bar up because I know that on that bar there is a volume slider. But wait, I don’t believe that those exist, cause it didn’t come up. So I couldn’t get the sound turned up. This was about 7-10 minutes just trying to get to see that stupid video. I gave up cause I had to go somewhere.

Later I tried again (yes, I apparently am a masochist when it comes to watching stupid videos on my phone). I’m getting the hang of this. I know the process: Launch Facebook, Find the status with the link, touch the status, watch the site sloooowly come up in the browser. Touch the video. Touch the video again. And again. And again. This time, the ad started MUCH faster, as in 3 seconds into the clip. Apparently I touched the ad because Google Play Store came up (it was for some odd Starwatcher app). After returning to the browser I went to the ad and it said 101 seconds. I thought that that couldn’t be right, it had to be in some odd state. I touched the pause button and it continued to count down. I mean seriously, who in the name of Hades produces a 110 second ad? And who hates their viewers enough to queue it on their website? I know you don’t actually have anything to do with picking the ads, but good grief how hard is it to say 30 second ads only? Or even say 30 second ads for Mobile users only? I’ve worked with ad folks and I know it’s possible. Make it so!

As I said before, I must be a masochist, cause YES I WAITED. I was invested. I knew that this little clip had something very important to tell me, I could feel it. Well, this time, I left well enough alone and finally just listened to the clip (yeah, the video was playing but it didn’t matter because I wasn’t going to even touch my phone to make any kind of adjustments.

Now, I’m sure you are saying that I could have just briefly told you what I experienced and that would have been fine. But I wanted to make sure you understood what is going on. There’s several issues here. Your player doesn’t work very well. At least for the video I was playing. Your ads are WAY too long. Yeah, I know you can skip ads, but I suspect that you actually get more money if the ad is played to completion. Well, maybe. Short ads are great (just had one that was like 10 seconds, Wunderbar!). And finally, kill that awful share bar under the title. Or at least don’t make it stick to the top. There’s such small real estate on the mobile screen that when it takes up 20% of the screen and covers the video it renders your site useless. Try viewing your site horizontally.

Sorry this is so long, but at least I didn’t start it with “I visited your site, and what I saw will shock you” or “I clicked a link to your site and you won’t believe what happened next” And if you do start doing that kind of crap, I will never return to your site.

BTW, here’s the specifics that I’m sure you are wanting to know…
Article for which I was so keen to see the associated clip: http://www.ijreview.com/2014/02/113391-actor-joseph-c-phillips-takes-cnn-anchor-school-racist-republicans/
The phone which makes my mobile experience: Samsung Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile FTW!)
The browser of choice on my phone (Dolphin Browser – no add-ons)
Yes I had good coverage, yes I’ve streamed videos from the location I was at.

We’ll see if they send a response, and what kind of response.  If it’s a guy like me, it may get fun.

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