Every year seemingly sane people decide that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to cover their houses in a multitude of Christmas lights, animatronic Santa’s and 8ft inflatable snowmen. See: http://www.houseblinger.com

A much more worrying trend is that of “Web site blinging”. This year saw many online retailers record record sales and yet, at a time when retailers should be making it as easy as possible to make a purchase, many make life difficult for consumers by blinging their Web sites.

When I talk about Web site blinging I don’t mean a subtle change of logo as you might see on Google, a Christmas message or even a few Christmas-related images replacing other images on your site. No, I’m principally concerned with the likes of JavaScript snowstorms that cover the homepage of a site or the fantastically annoying rendition of “Jingle Bells” that is looped to play incessantly for the entire time a user is visiting your site.

Many of these seasonal carbuncles lead to serious usability and accessibility problems manifesting themselves on your site. For example, if your site suddenly gains a JavaScript snowstorm that renders falling snowflakes across your content you might appreciate how these constantly moving images would present difficulties to a user with a cognitive disorder. In the case of a blind user, the unnecessary rendition of “Jingle Bells” may make it harder for them to hear the text being read to them.

In addition, what may seem an amusing, festive addition to your site may in fact drive users away from your site (irrespective of any disability). The user will almost certainly know it’s Christmas (they’re probably going to your site to make a present purchase in the first place) so why introduce anything to your site that may reduce their shopping experience? If they’ve reached your site you want them to stay around and buy their presents from you not be turned off by your unnecessary blinging and go elsewhere.

Leave the Christmas blinging to the House Blingers and their massive electricity bills and guilty, environmentally unfriendly, conscience.

Humbug 😉