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Inexperienced auction sellers, or those lacking in confidence, often want to make their auction listings more dramatic and exciting. They dread the possibility that buyers will be bored by their auction and turn away with indifference.
Therefore, they reason, they will spice up their auctions with some "animations" - graphics that blink, change colors, spin, travel around the web page.
Or the seller may be a tech person who loves toys and is proud of his ability to create unusual effects.
Regardless of their reasons, animated elements on an auction page are almost never a good idea for the following four reasons:
1. Rather than attracting attention to the merchandise in your auction, your potential customer may watch a spinning ball or follow Santa and his reindeer through the sky. We want the customer's total attention on that all-important question: "Do I want to buy this widget or not?" Distractions are not good for your wallet.
2. Animations can make the load time of your auction listing much longer. I have been using DSL four years and have forgotten (happily!) how horrible it is to use dialup. However, for many places on this planet, high-speed connections simply are not available. For these folks, loading your page might take forever, and you can be sure they won't wait. Experts tell us that the average user spends only 7 seconds at a webpage before departing for greener pastures. If your sales page is still loading, no sale for you.
3. It takes time for you to figure out how and whether to use animations. This is time that would be better spent on writing more exciting and dynamic copy - copy that will turn a prospective customer into a real buyer. A smart business person will treat time as her most precious commodity and spend it on what is most likely to bring a sale.
4. Many of these animations are just downright annoying. I personally do not enjoy looking at screens that are twirling, whirling and blinking. Two particularly irritating animations are an inescapable message that follows up and down the left side of the page, regardless of where I'm looking, and "trails" that follow my mouse.
A huge majority of people feel the same, apparently. Sellers need to make it as easy as possible for people to buy, rather than throwing obstacles in the way.
Are there any occasions when animated pictures are of any value in an auction listing? Possibly. For example, if you are selling to graphic designers then animated elements might be appropriate. As always, testing, testing, testing is the only way to truly know.
But for the rest of us folks - forget the glitter and focus on your merchandise. That's what makes us buy.
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