Daniel Harrison's Personal Blog

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Thoughts on blocking autoplaying content, firefox4 September 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — danielharrison @ 1:23 am

I recently started using the firefox4 beta. It seems like it’s really coming along and should be a great new version. I have noticed an interesting side effect though. As most of the plugins I use aren’t supported yet I get the default experience; this includes flash content playing by default. I had the flashblock plugin and it really sped up and made my browsing experience  much better.   As an example, one of the current news sites I previously used, smh.com.au autoplayed video broadcasts with no site wide way to turn it off.  Memo to news sites:  I can read faster than you can read it to me, autoplaying just makes me go somewhere else, including not buying the physical copy.  The thing that I find most annoying is disruptive sound via flash.  I’m typically playing music on the computer as I work and surfing to a site that suddenly has spoken or other audible content is quite jarring, particularly when it comes through at the maximum volume.

I was thinking about the implications with html5 video and multimedia.  Flashblock stops any animation and sound coming through as most of this type of content is flash which makes it easy to screen. When html5 video really takes off how would you achieve the same effect?  It’s a core html feature, so unless there’s a mechanism to disable sound in the browser and make video not run by default as browser preferences, this could quickly get annoying.  Maybe a good candidate for a plugin.  I’m guessing someone’s already thought about this, but I couldn’t see options in beta4 at the moment.