The blogosphere is full of great blog plugins. But great doesn’t necessarily equate to usable. And I find Snap Preview Anywhere to be one of the not so usable.

snap_preview.jpgYeah, like you, I thought it was one of the coolest things I’d seen when I first saw it in action. I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like an attractive, live popup window that gave you a preview of the site page you’re about to click on.

But soon the novelty wore off. Soon I saw Snap as a pain the rear-end. I began to dread mousing over links on blogs for fear that Snap would lurking. It really got in the way of me enjoying my blog reading experience. I found myself not wanting to click links on blogs that I knew used it.

It’s not that Snap Preview Anywhere isn’t a good idea. I may just be that it’s not ready for primetime. Ben Yoskovitz cites in his post Say No To Snap Preview Anywhere:

  • It can be slow to load
  • It sometimes hovers the preview popup image over text I'm reading
  • It's distracting

Nick Wilson goes on with 3 Reason Why Snap Preview is Ruining Your Blog and Hurting Your Readership:

  1. Accidental triggers: …the unintentional triggering of the SPA popup is distracting, at best. It draws the eye away from the task at hand
  2. Click stalling: …when trying to click a link…I have to click several times to get the damn thing to work.
  3. I trust you:…despite…being really busy, im at your blog! …if you’re linking to it, that’s good enough for me.

I’ve had the same experiences and frustrations with this little plugin. Isn’t it about time we all just stop using it?

Darren Rowse at ProBlogger disabled it and he’s certainly a good lead to follow. Darren Barefoot’s Not Feeling It. The Montoya Herald says, It’s a bad idea, dumb bloggers love it (though I can’t support the name calling). Lorelle has even gone so far as to publicly apologize to her readers for having used it. Others who tried it are disabling it as well.

Now to be fair, there are some who love it and I don’t want to make them wrong. Who did you install it for? You or your readers? If the answer is the latter, then you need to poll your readership to see whether they like it. If so, keep it. If not, or if it was just some ‘awesome tool’ you wanted to add to your blog, reconsider. So due what Darren did and ask your readers.

The bottom line, blogging is about your readers. If everything you do with your blog is for them, they will come, read, return and possibly spread the word. If, however, you’re blogging for yourself, then likely you’re going to be the only one regularly reading your blog. It’s all in what you want.

What’s your experience with Snap Preview Anywhere?

(note to Ben, giving proper credit, I borrowed the image off your site. If there’s any problem, let me know. Thanks, in advance.)

Reader Interactions


  1. Brandon Wood says

    Amen brother! From the time I first saw it in action, I’ve thought that Snap Preview is one of the most useless plugins you could possibly put on your blog.

    There are the obvious usability issues that have already been mentioned, but besides that, I just don’t see any usefulness that it offers.

    How much can a tiny popup screenshot possibly tell me about the site you are linking to? Instead, we should be practicing good web design by using relevant anchor text in our links that make our users want to click them. I don’t want to see a screenshot of the site you are linking to, I want you to tell me why I should check that site out by following your link.

    As far as I’m concerned, Snap Preview is just a useless piece of “blog bling” that I would never consider putting on one of my sites.

  2. Ben Yoskovitz says

    No problem borrowing the image…I did read recently that Snap’s added some new features to work with people that have complained about it. It’s on my to-do list to check out!

  3. Dawud Miracle says

    Thank on the image borrowing, Ben.

    I’ll move it to my rather lengthy todo list as well so thanks for the update. Though from a usability standpoint, I still don’t know how I feel about something popping up on the scree without any forewarning. We’ll have to see what I think of the new version.

  4. Doug Karr says

    There really is an opportunity to make it work. I wrote the folks at Snap (and they were pretty nice) and I simply asked them to have an include/exclude array capability within their script.

    This way, I could utilize Snap on my Blogroll where it may be useful, but not in my content or menu where it can be obstructive. The furthest they’ve gone is to add your own ‘class’; however, that’s really not ideal for a dynamic site.

    So… I took it down a couple days after trying it, too.

  5. Brandon Wood says

    I will agree that Doug’s idea of selectively using Snap on his blogroll does hold some promise. That being said, I still feel that Snap doesn’t really offer a lot of value. You really can’t tell much about a site from a tiny screenshot. I would much prefer that the text around the link tell me why I should click the link.

  6. Dawud Miracle says


    Snap Preview is a pretty interesting idea and I don’t want to just throw it out. Yet I can’t really see a solid need for it.

    Doug’s idea of selectively using Snap on parts of his site is an interesting one. I could see it potentially having benefit for something like a blogroll.

    I guess I’m really on the fence on this one. Perhaps the ‘coolness factor’ of Snap has me. It is a pretty cool plugin. But does cool mean needed or usable? I still say not necessarily.

    Function over fashion. Snap seems like fashion to me.

  7. Laura says

    I agree that the snap preview is annoying. It is a pop-up after all and does anyone like pop-ups? 😀
    Thankfully I haven’t come across very many of them. I have seen little text balloons appear over a link that give a bit of information about what it is and I’ve found some of those to be useful.

  8. Mark says

    Again, am just writing to agree. I too saw snap and went ‘cooool’….than I saw it again and again….the ‘cool’ changed to ‘boo’. Practical application of something like that just aint there yet.

    Cheers for the article.

  9. Dawud Miracle says

    Thanks for the response, Laura. I’m not sure I’ve seen the text balloons – maybe I have. Do you have any examples to post so I check them out?


    Thanks Mark. For some reason I’m not willing to throw it completely out. Somewhere it seems like there’s still the possibility of it being useful. But the way it is now, I can’t subject my readers to it. Sounds like you all agree.

  10. Jens says

    Great post.

    I installed Snap a while ago on both my blog and my discussion forums. Not long after I removed it from my blog, because I thought it was a little annoying and distracting. But I am still using it on my forums.

    The reason I am using it on my forums is that almost everybody has a link in their posts and a lot of posts are spam. With Snap it´s easier for visitors to see which sites are interesting to visit and not on my forums and especially it´s easier to find out if the link is going to some viagra site or adult site (but it´s sometimes a little hard to tell because of the Snap window being so little).

    Not sure if I will continue using it on my forums, but at the moment I think it´s working ok.

  11. Jens says

    I am not sure if Snap helps or not, but I will look into it soon (on my todo list as well).

    Guests are not allowed to post and I have a plugin to phpbb called “the humanizer” it helps a little when it comes to spam but I am still getting at least 5-6 spam posts a day.

    I have found another plugin that uses Akismet, but I haven´t found out how to install it yet 🙂

  12. Dawud Miracle says

    Jens – I get it. But does that little image really make it possible for your forum members to see where they’ll be going? Maybe it is, I don’t know.

    It sounds like if you’re getting so much spam in your forum you should either/both – find a spam filter for your forum solution and/or make login required for posting – no guests. This would really cut down on your spam and would probably make for a better experience for your forum users.

  13. Dawud Miracle says

    Good. Sounds like you’re getting somewhere with the spam then. It’s got to me a huge pain to get that much spam.

    For the record, my three weeks of regular blogging has brought me over 250 spam comments caught by Akismet. Thank God for this little plugin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *