I just had a good experience on a mobile, reading an article with adverts in it…no really, I did…

…and it was such a breath of fresh air, I felt the need to write it down.

How did this even happen?

I’d been spending a few minutes on Facebook, catching up with friends and one friend had shared a link to an article on the telegraph website about the habit of some cyclists to think that red traffic lights are not for them and the new bicycle highways in London.

Cyclists jumping red lights is one of my real bugbears (and I'm a cyclist too) so I just had to read it. And read it I did. I read it all. Without interruption.

I only really use Facebook on my mobile as I find I get too distracted if I check it out at work so have built myself the good habit and no longer look at it on my desktop during work hours except under certain circumstances. Therefore, every article I read from there, is also read, nearly exclusively, on mobile.

Did I even see an advert?

When I’d finished reading something struck me. I’d seen an advert in the article for Diesel. I’d remembered it was for Diesel. I scrolled back up to find it because I was sure it hadn't been intrusive and my UX Designer senses kicked in, if you’ll pardon the cheesy expression.

I found it again and knew almost instantly why it hadn't bothered me.

It was presented as a gap in the article and, in that gap, was a background which behaved as it if were the fixed background of the page. This was the advert so the article glided seamlessly over the top. The advert appeared to have been taken out of the flow of the article itself so didn't appear to get in the way even though, technically, it was a full screen advert. It even had a small “ADVERTISEMENT” in the article at the point above the ‘gap’.

The brand name, “DIESEL”, although within this ‘gap’ in the article, flowed with the article itself so was prominent over the advert. Look at the way it sticks just above the quoted text in the next section of the article after the advert in the animation below (the first frame shows the address bar and partial URL).

[click here to view the animation of the advert]

I also didn't notice, until I went back and created the above animation for this post, that there was a cross in the top right hand corner of the advert to dismiss it. There was also some animated text over the top but I didn't manage to capture that with the screenshots.

Somewhat contradictorily, and this is the bit that really surprised me, this lack of intrusion seems to be the reason I remembered it and the reason I hadn't even thought about dismissing it.

Now, I may be alone here, which is why I thought I’d write this up so could garner opinion and feedback but, if all advertising were like this, it wouldn't bother me. I noticed, after following a couple of links, that the same advert followed me around.

Comparative experiences

This experience is far from that which I usually have when following a link to an article with adverts in it. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re loading an article and then finding adverts being loaded in the middle of it or at the top of it, moving it around whilst you’re trying to read it as the page stretches to accommodate them, juddering as you scroll as it struggles under the weight of the JavaScript and slow rendering that loads those adverts.

Even worse are those ads that pop-up, full screen over the article after you've read the first three lines. These are horrendous and I just close them and get rid. Most of the time, to be honest, it’s enough to put me off reading the article and I just close it. I have to be really, really interested in the article to close the pop-up and keep reading.

No wonder ad-blocking is such a big thing at the moment.

Now, I understand there’s more time and money gone in to the Telegraph website but I am now more likely to follow a link if I see it’s to the Telegraph, versus a similar link to another website, as I will assume I'm going to have a similar, and in this case better, experience.

The advertising also worked. It raised my awareness of Diesel as a brand.

I’d love to see the data and results of the user testing the Telegraph did before implementing this. I heard Malcolm Coles, director of digital media at the Telegraph, speak a couple of weeks ago about their digital strategy and it was really interesting. They are working hard to be (and have been for a while now) a digital first organisation.

They have probably had this kind of advertising in place for ages, I just haven’t seen it. I don’t read the Telegraph as a matter of course. The desktop experience of the same article, of course, it vastly different. Still, it actually made me smile.

Have you seen it? Did you find it intrusive? Did you not? Did you not even notice it was there?

Link to original article: Cyclists are stupid and thoughtless. And I'm a cyclist…