I recently found an interesting article on website design; it sounded useful, so I decided to download the free PDF.
1) I clicked on “Download the PDF” and got a pop-up box asking for my email address. No problem.
2) I got the email. It had a link in it to “click here to download the PDF”. Well, I’d already told them I wanted to download the PDF, but OK, I clicked the link.
3) I got taken to a page with the name of the article and a “Download” button, which looked promising… but immediately a pop-up box obscured the page, asking me to “create a free DropBox account or sign in”.
4) I have a DropBox account, so I clicked on “Sign In”, and was taken to another pop-up asking for my sign-in info. I sighed and signed in.
5) I finally got returned to the page with the name of the article, and clicked on “Download”. I then had to select “Direct Download” or “Download to your DropBox account”.
6) I picked “Direct Download” and the file downloaded.
7) I then had to sign out of DropBox – and close the original email.
Now, admittedly, this all only took a couple of minutes. However, I had to go through seven separate steps in order to download this PDF file.
I’m sure this was all to the advantage of the company offering the file – for one thing, they got to harvest my email address (although with a “we hate spam and will not abuse your email address” notification). What it was NOT, was quick and easy.
When I offer a free stock image download on my website, there are just two steps:
1) Click on the thumbnail to open the image;
2) Right-click on the image and select “Save image as” (or the equivalent).
You get to see the image before you download it, and you don’t have to jump through any hoops to download it.