Ugly Flash: auto-play audio with no stop button

Today I was transcribing parts of an interview when the phone rang. It was a call about Dreamforce Europe, the Salesforce.com conference in early May. I navigated to the event site to check out the agenda. Suddenly there was a cacophony of noise. At first I thought my interview, which I’d paused in order to take the call, had somehow restarted; but then I realised it wasn’t that, it was a Flash video (with sound) on the Dreamforce site. I can see no pause or stop button; and the right-click menu doesn’t have one either. The problem was made worse by a bandwidth issue; the audio was breaking up, making it unintelligible.

A horrible user experience and poor web design. Audio is even more intrusive than video. Personally I dislike any audio that auto-starts when you visit a page; if there is no obvious way to stop it, other than by leaving, it is inexpressibly ugly.

Update

I received an email from Salesforce.com PR, saying that there is now both a pause and a mute button on the Flash movie. It’s true: bottom right of the panel. Well done Salesforce.com for fixing this.

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