Forget, for a moment, that the design of the above-the-fold portion of this website is ugly as sin, crowded with ads and “junk” (hat tip, Edward Tufte). Look at the ad, sitting front and center!
It’s blocking the copy — the only reason we’ve come to this page. Yes, I know that lots of publishers are doing this these days. That doesn’t make it right — it makes it intrusive, in the same manner as television ads. And people like these just as little as they like TV ads (in general, Super Bowl excepted!).
Look closely (click to view the larger image) and you’ll also see that there is no close option on the ad. Yipes! How are we supposed to dismiss the ad to read the content?
Unlike many of these floating ads, this one did not time out. It was still present hours after I first looked at the page. It did, however, disappear with a page refresh.
Pfizer: fire your online ad team. In addition to being annoying, it looks like a Liberty Mutual ad.
Publishers: just say no. There has to be a better business model than this.
For additional commentary on user experience and design, check out the <TFM> archives.