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This is The 38th Signal, a weblog about design, coding, design, experience, design, constraints, cookware, and so much more. Established 2007 in Angola.

Been highlighted lately? posted by Brad Sep 11, 2007


My patience is wearing thin on this one. There's this super annoying trend on web pages these days -- especially web pages trying to sell you something. You'll be reading along, trying to figure out if a product or service matches your needs, and then it happens: the text's background turns a mucusy shade of pale yellow. This gleaming stain stares you in the face, mocking you, right in the middle of the copy. That's right -- you got highlighted.

Here's a time-lapse of my experience scrolling down a site that uses this effect:

You know what that looks like? A bad trip, that's what.

There's more than the hallucinations, too. Highlighting distracts you, and worse, it makes you feel dumb, like they think you can't read -- it's like the <blink> tag all over again. Every piece of highlighted text is the same, condescendingly coughed up in the same sickly yellow, sucker-punching your ego, cut off and disconnected from your copy, your site, and your design. Using this technique makes everything look splotchy and erratic.

So next time you're hawking a product, stop insulting me and think twice before you start playing with the highlighter. I'll take notes for myself, thanks very much.

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In loving parody of the 37signals weblog Signal vs Noise.